This Fat-Burning Hormone Boosts Metabolism

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Weight loss is a challenge for many – and some blame their weight struggles on their metabolism. A sluggish metabolism can make it more challenging to shed excess pounds, but regular high-intensity exercise boosts even the laziest of metabolisms. But even if you hate to exercise, there’s still hope. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine recently discovered that a hormone made by fat cells boosts metabolism in mice.

This fat hormone, called adiponectin, raises metabolism in mice without altering their appetite. The mice still ate the same amount of food, but they burned off more of their calories rather than storing them as fat. The beauty of adiponectin is the weight loss happened in these animals without restricting their calories or suppressing their appetite. Who wouldn’t want that?

The bad news is human studies are still pending, so there’s no guarantee this metabolism-enhancing effect affects humans too although scientists have high hopes. They’re hoping to find a safe way to boost adiponectin levels to encourage this fat-blasting hormone to raise metabolism in people who are obese.

Adiponectin is a protein produced by the body’s fat cells. It helps to control body weight with the help of another hormone called leptin. Leptin is a hormone that signals the brain to stop eating, so it might aptly be called the satiety hormone since it works by decreasing appetite. Adiponectin exerts its powerful effects not on appetite but on metabolism, and it has the added benefit of improving blood sugar control in diabetics and lowering triglyceride levels.

One potential way to boost adiponectin levels is to add more magnesium in your diet. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that people who enjoyed more magnesium-rich foods had higher adiponectin levels. This means eating more seeds and green, leafy vegetables. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium.

The bottom line? The fat hormone adiponectin looks promising as a way to boost metabolism in people who are obese, but researchers still need to study its effects on humans and how to safely increase its levels in the body. Stay tuned for future research on this metabolism-boosting fat hormone.


The Journal of Nutrition. February 2011, 141 (2).


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