What Are Some Side Effects of Leptin?


Quick Answer

Scientists have found that there may be a negative association between leptin and certain cancers, such as promoting the growth of melanoma, a type of skin cancer, according to WebMD. It is also believed that leptin has positive side effects, such as greater heart health, bone health and promoting women's fertility, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Leptin is an important factor in keeping the immune system functioning properly in that chronic inflammation occurs when there is inadequate leptin signaling, affecting the heart. The presence of leptin also increases bone mineral density, allowing the bones to accrue more calcium.

Leptin is a protein that is produced in fat cells and then circulates in the bloodstream before reaching the brain. When a person diets, the fat cells lose some fat because they are eating less, which then decreases the amount of leptin produced. The presence of leptin informs the brain that the body is, or is not, being provided with enough energy. When leptin levels drop too low, numerous unhealthy bodily processes begin in order to drive leptin levels back up to where they should be. If the brain does not sense enough leptin, then a women's fertility may decrease, since not enough fat is available to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Leptin supplements may help correct this problem, and the leptin potentially feeds back on the hypothalamus to keep the reproductive hormones working well.

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