November 11, 2015
Leptin & Ghrelin
Linking Sleep Deprivation to Weight Gain

Weight gain and difficulty sleeping are two of the most common complaints that health care providers hear. Could they be connected? Patients are often frustrated when they continue to struggle with weight gain despite taking their supplements, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. There are many possible contributing factors for weight difficulty beyond diet and exercise from hormone imbalance to genetics, and the link between sleep and weight is frequent fodder for magazines and social media articles, but what are some of the specifics of this connection? Two rarely heard of hormones that are implicated in this relationship are leptin and ghrelin. With the appropriate amount of sleep, these two hormones keep each other in balance, although sleep disruption can cause fluctuations that result in appetite and metabolism changes.

Leptin is often touted as the “satiety hormone”, as it inhibits hunger. With adequate sleep, leptin levels are robust and contribute to the maintenance of a healthy metabolism and appetite control; whereas poor sleep contributes to lower leptin levels. Evolutionarily leptin levels would be increased during the winter when nights are long (more opportunity for sleep) and there is a reduction in available food. Higher leptin levels lead to suppression of appetite and a reduction in energy expenditure.

Conversely, ghrelin might be considered the “hunger hormone,” as elevated levels increase appetite, decrease calorie burning, and promote the storage of fat. Ghrelin levels are suppressed with sufficient sleep, and during sleep deprivation, they increase and signal the body to consume more calories and reduce energy expenditure. Evolutionarily, ghrelin would be higher in the summer when there is more light, less sleep, and an abundance of food signaling hunger in an attempt to store fat for the winter.

In short, with sleep deprivation, ghrelin levels rise and stimulate appetite while leptin levels drop, which also increases appetite and contributes to obesity. Adequate sleep promotes the healthy production of leptin and limits the production of ghrelin, contributing to satiety and regulating metabolism. And while the importance of adequate sleep is well established, an estimated 50-70 million US adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. For those in this population suffering from insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep, adrenal dysfunction and neurotransmitter imbalances may be contributory or even causative. Assessing your patient’s adrenal function and neurotransmitter levels is simple and accurate with Labrix' NeuroAdrenal panel. Additionally, Labrix offers FindWhy DNA testing, a simple cheek swab that assesses multiple genetic contributions to weight struggles. One of the genetic markers included in the panel, SH2B1, gives an indication of one’s ability to regulate insulin and leptin systems, as people who are SH2B1 deficient often have insufficient leptin levels.

Learn more about sleep, metabolism and weight management (among many other clinical topics) at Labrix Advanced Workshop on January 16 and 17, 2016 in Las Vegas. Labrix co-founders Jay Mead MD and Erin Lommen ND, along with staff physicians and special expert guests will present 2 days of in-depth research, testing options and treatment protocols associated with common and difficult clinical cases. Register and reserve your seat today!

  • Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index.” Ed. Philippe Froguel. PLoS Medicine 1.3 (2004): e62. PMC. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
  • Ren, Decheng et al. “Neuronal SH2B1 Is Essential for Controlling Energy and Glucose Homeostasis.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 117.2 (2007): 397–406.PMC. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Accessibility verified 11/4/2015.

Labrix Clinical Spotlight Series:
Prostate Health

Labrix Staff Physician Sara Wood ND discusses prostate health, including how to treat and possibly prevent prostate cancer. In this video, Dr. Wood gives tips on prostate support with supplements and lifestyle modifications, and also discusses the use of testosterone in men with a history of prostate cancer.

Labrix Core Training

Join the hundreds of practitioners who have attended Labrix live training events and learn more about these exciting opportunities directly from a Labrix attendee and Dr. Jay Mead, Medical Director and co-founder of Labrix.

Advanced Workshop
Las Vegas, NV
January 16-17, 2016

Join Labrix founders and staff physicians for 2 full days of training and case studies, focusing on hormone, adrenal and neurotransmitter optimization. The workshop is just $199: Register today!

Core Training:
Atlanta, GA
March 5, 2016

Labrix staff physicians will be in Atlanta on March 5th to present Core Training. Registration is $150 and upon completing this one day training, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register for Atlanta Core Training today.

Las Vegas, NV
November 13-15, 2015

Labrix CEO and Assoc. Medical Director, Erin Lommen ND, and Marketing Manager, Angie Daschel, are looking forward to meeting you at ACAM in Las Vegas. Stop by the Labrix booth and pick up the latest treatment protocols and find out what's new.

Scottsdale, AZ
November 20-21, 2015

Be sure to drop by the exhibit hall at ITI and speak with Labrix President, Kate Wells, at the Labrix booth in Scottsdale.

Portland, OR
December 5-6, 2015

Labrix is a proud sponsor of the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Make plans to attend this annual conference and stop by the booth to meet representatives from Labrix.

Las Vegas, NV
December 11-13, 2015

Labrix Medical Director, Jay Mead MD and CEO/Assoc. Medical Director, Erin Lommen ND, along with Account Representative, Tom Lasota and Marketing Manager, Angie Daschel will be in the exhibit hall at A4M to answer questions and inform providers about what's new at Labrix.