Fats are absolutely essential for maintaining good health. In our culture of “non-fat” food products, it’s important to remember that fact. Adiponectin is one of the key players in helping your metabolism to work properly. Adiponectin is secreted by fat cells and helps with the metabolism of glucose and fatty acids, as well as playing a role in immune responses.
When your blood levels of adiponectin are low, you’re increasing your risk of developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. This is because adiponectin influences your body’s response to insulin. Adiponectin also has anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the walls of your blood vessels.
Now there is another substance produced by your fat cells that is equally important: leptin. This hormone is involved in the regulation of body fat. Leptin interacts with the areas of your brain that control hunger and behavior. In effect, leptin signals your body that it has had enough to eat.
Along with this beneficial role, leptin can also cause inflammation when levels are high.
In a new study, researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine looked at levels of adiponectin and leptin in a group of women. They wanted to study how yoga affected levels of these two substances. They compared adiponectin and leptin data from well-matched novice and expert yoga practitioners. They noted that leptin plays a pro-inflammatory role, while adiponectin does the
opposite, playing an anti-inflammatory role.
Fifty healthy women in their 30s were divided into two yoga groups: 25 novices and 25 experts. All the participants provided fasting blood samples during three separate visits. The researchers found that leptin was 36% higher among novices compared to experts. Analysis of adiponectin, on the other hand, showed that experts’ levels were 28% higher than novices across the three visits.
So far so good: yoga lowers leptin levels, which is pro-inflammatory and increases adiponectin, which is anti-inflammatory. The researchers also reported that the yoga experts’ average adiponectin to leptin ratio was nearly twice that of novices. Frequency of self-reported yoga practice showed significant negative relationships with leptin; more weeks of yoga practice over the last year, more lifetime yoga sessions, and more years of yoga practice were all significantly associated with lower leptin, with similar
findings for the adiponectin to leptin ratio.
The researchers concluded that an increased risk for type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease in North American society have highlighted the importance of adiponectins in modulating inflammation. They say their data raise the possibility that longer-term and/or more intensive yoga practice could have beneficial health consequences by altering leptin and producing adiponectin.
Yoga also exerts a number of other health benefits. To find out how it can help with back pain, read the article Proof That Yoga Can Beat This Kind of Pain.