How to increase testosterone with leptin management

In the testosterone companion we introduced a very important hormone, leptin. Why? Because it has to do with testosterone.

To naturally increase our testosterone we want to know what leptin is because it’s demonstrated that “leptin directly affects gonadotropin-releasing hormone release from the hypothalamus, luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland and ovarian follicular steroidogenesis[1]”.

So much for the layman terms. Remember all those odd names from the testosterone book?

Those were the names that influenced testosterone, and leptin has power over all of them, in fact leptin has our whole libido in the palm of its hand.

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells in our body, he goes to the brain and tell him how much fat we have stored. It influences appetite, energy, metabolic rate… because how much fat we have in our love handles is a signal to regulate appetite and energy (in theory with high fat reserves we should eat less, but as we will see that mechanism can get screwed, especially by modern diets).

Leptin is some kind of super-hormone, and in fact it’s responsible of overeating (or not), cravings and the like, as you see this fellow is the face you see in every important meeting in your body.

Leptin goes up and down throughout the day (as the rest of hormones do) and this has short term and long term implications.

In the short term if leptin goes down we start to get hungry, it’s a signal of low body fat and energy, so we go hunting a mammoth… to the KFC. We eat the crispy spicy mutant chicken and leptin goes high telling the brain “we are full, drop that fried wing”.

If everything is working ok, that’s the mechanism and the role of leptin. But you know that not everything will be so smooth.

In the long term how much leptin we have in our body is determined by our total amount of stored body fat.
Lean people has low leptin levels, meanwhile fat people has high leptin levels (remember, it’s produced in fat cells, if we have many of them, then we have many “factories” of leptin).

This can seem like a paradox because when leptin is high we (theoretically) enter in “we don’t need so much food, drop the wing” mode, but as you will have seen overweight people tend to develop cravings and problems of appetite regulation, overeating even when leptin is so high that’s drowning everything.

How is this possible?

Because, much like insulin, overweight people tend to develop a condition called “leptin resistance”, which means chronically high leptin in our bodies that does not do its work properly.

In the same way than insulin, a lot of leptin is in our body (because we have high fat mass) but its efficacy is diminished, it does not do the work of saying “drop that mammoth leg” and we keep eating, and eating, and eating even when we have fat reserves for months.

Yes, it’s not so easy as a “willpower” problem in overweight people, so better we stop judging…

Well, Leptin is not only the commander in chief, but there is a direct relationship between leptin and testosterone.

Although it’s a new field, some studies are starting to see and discover this relationship. For example this one[2].

In that paper, titled “Strong association between serum levels of leptin and testosterone in men”, three groups of men were analyzed.

The first group consisted of untreated hypogonadal patients with testosterone serum levels lower than 7 nmol/l.

The other two groups were more fortunate and had a serum testosterone level higher than 30 nmol/l.

The second group involved hypogonadal patients under effective androgen substitution therapy (i.e. Low testosterone men with recovered the levels due to medication), the third one comprised males without any endocrine disorder (i.e. Healthy men with healthy testosterone and hormone levels).

What was the result?

Well, groups 2 and 3 showed no significant differences in serum leptin, serum testosterone, and body mass index (BMI), but Group 1 (the unfortunate hypogonadal untreated low testosterone men) had significantly higher leptin serum levels and significantly higher BMI.

Going beyond that, they made multiple linear regression analysis that revealed a significant independent association of leptin with testosterone serum levels and with BMI.

This means, if you have constant high leptin levels, your testosterone will be lower.

Ok, we know leptin management it’s important, so how do we do that?

1) Reduce body fat.

Not only for vanity reasons, low body fat predicts high testosterone, probably because of low leptin. Eat the diet in the testosterone book and you will reduce body fat.

2) Gain lean mass.

It’s a predictor of low leptin, so don’t skip your resistance training (again according to the testosterone book), maybe you are not very fond of muscles, but we will see more about this in a second, because they are important.

3) Control insulin.
This point we got it covered in the testosterone book too, but for starters, ditch the insane amount of refined sugar that we eat in modern western diets.

There is another critical key, you can take a look at it in the testosterone companion or get all the basics in the testosterone book.


[1] Adipose tissue and the reproductive axis: biological aspects.
Hausman GJ, Barb CR.

[2] Strong association between serum levels of leptin and testosterone in men
Hermann M. Behre, Manuela Simoni, Eberhard Nieschlag