Add yet another long-term health issue to the list of risks of being overweight. Previous studies have connected middle age obesity to dementia in late adulthood. Now, scientists may have found a link between Alzheimer’s and a hormone that helps control appetite. Leptin tells your body when you are satiated and reduces appetite. It is a hormone that is produced by fat cells. Research conducted during 12 years at the Boston University Medical Center found that those participants with the lowest levels of leptin had a 25% chance of developing Alzheimer’s, while those with the highest levels of leptin had only a 6% chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although more research is needed to further understand the correlation and how it can be applied, scientists are hopeful that leptin can serve as an important risk fact for the development of Alzheimer’s and an option for treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Adding more seafood to your diet has been suggested as a way to balance and/or increase leptin levels (depending on your source). A study conducted in 2002 compared leptin levels in two African tribes, one with a diet rich in fish and the other with a vegetarian diet. They found lower leptin levels in the tribe who ate a diet rich in fish; however, the researchers suggest that this was because less leptin was needed because a diet rich in fish makes your body more sensitive to the signals from leptin.
While scientists continue to research the connection between leptin and Alzheimer’s disorder, it cannot hurt to increase the amount of fish in your diet and it never hurts to make sure you are within a healthy weight class.
January 16th, 2010