The Obesity-Leptin Path to Heart Disease
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
New research shows that obesity causes heart disease1 even if the obese person does not have high cholesterol or diabetes. Using advanced nanosensor technology researchers at Ohio University were able for the first time to pinpoint several mechanisms in humans that link obesity to heart disease. The findings center around the fat-hormone leptin, which I have written extensively about in several books.
When leptin levels elevate in your blood, which happens when you are overweight, then a chain of events are set in motion that directly increase the risk of heart disease. The research showed that high levels of leptin resulted in decreased nitric oxide that is required to relax your arteries and enable good blood flow. At the same time, there was a significant increase in free radical damage due to excess leptin stimulating the production of too much superoxide, in turn reacting with nitric oxide and creating peroxynitrite, a very toxic molecule that disrupts DNA and damages endothelial cells in your circulatory system.
This new study proves conclusively that leptin problems all by themselves, independent of any other cardiovascular health risk issue, have a direct adverse effect on your cardiovascular system that increases the risk for heart disease. This supports and confirms the earlier research on this topic that I fully cover in The Leptin Diet.
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