Aging & Longevity

Aging, Weight Control Influenced by Leptin levels and Sirt 1

As people age, it is essential that individuals maintain a healthy weight. It is known that additional body weight combined with the physiological changes of aging can cause problems. A person becomes more susceptible to health conditions and it reduces life expectancy. 

Excess weight puts strain on the heart and blood vessels. In 2019, the American Heart Association showed that the incidence of cardiovascular disease was reported to be 77.2% in males and 78.2% in females, from the ages of 60 to 79 years (Benjamin EJ et al, 2019). Research has shown that maintaining a healthy weight helps improve insulin sensitivity. It can be accomplished by following a calorie restricted diet and increasing exercise. 

One 18 month study with 288 overweight and obese older individuals demonstrated that physical activity with weight loss improved leptin and an inflammatory biomarkers (Beavers KM et al, 2013). 

Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells in the small intestines. It helps to control hunger, which helps to reduce fat from being stored. 

SIRT1 in the hypothalamus is thought to play a role in age related weight gain and diet induced obesity. It may do this by regulating leptin and insulin sensitivity in the central nervous system. It has been suggested that the dysfunction with hypothalamic SIRT1 may cause weight gain that is seen during aging and with diet (Sasaki T, 2015). 

Leptin diminishes energy intake and promotes calorie expenditure, although continuous increases in leptin because of obesity leads to leptin resistance (Sasaki T, 2015). It causes elevated leptin levels because of impairment. Plasma leptin levels are associated with obesity and being overweight. This causes problems with leptin entering hypothalamic neurons. It has been stated that leptin resistance along with insulin resistance, weight gain and obesity are linked with aging seen in animals and humans (Sasaki T, 2015). 

SIRT1 is involved in reducing particular compounds to help increase leptin sensitivity, as well as insulin sensitivity. SIRT1 and NAD+ levels are reduced with aging in the hypothalamus. In animal research it has been shown that increased hypothalamic SIRT1 levels avert age related weight gain and improve leptin sensitivity. 

Calorie restriction and exercise have been shown to have a positive influence on sirtuins (Corbi B et al, 2012; Guarente, 2012). One should investigate further because they can promote a longer life. 

In addition, it has been suggested that foods such as soybeans, walnuts, strawberries and onions elevate Sirtuin levels (Pallauf K et al, 2013). Dietary supplements such as curcumin and resveratrol have been studied and shown to act as a Sirt activator (Grabowska W et al, 2017; Duan W, 2013). Berberine is a compound that is found in different plants like goldenseal, Oregon grape and tree turmeric. It has been shown to help regulate leptin and insulin to help improve weight management (Ilyasa Z et al, 2020). 

One should not start a new diet or exercise regimen without speaking to their health care provider. Also with any supplement, if you have a medical condition and/or are on prescription medication, it is best to check with your health care practitioner prior to taking them. 

In summary, as one ages it is important to manage one’s weight. Leptin, which is made by fat cells is a key hormone that is involved in weight gain during aging. It helps to control hunger, reducing fat from being held in storage. With increased weight gain leptin resistance can occur. SIRT1 in the hypothalmus may be involved in age related weight gain and diet-induced obesity. Calorie restriction, exercise and certain supplements may be beneficial to weight management.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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