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The Fatigue And Pain Hormone? Leptin Shows Up Again – In Fibromyalgia

Sunday 24 July 2016


From Health Rising:


Health Rising

The Fatigue and Pain Hormone? Leptin Shows Up Again – in Fibromyalgia

By Cort Johnson
July 22, 2016

Nobody in the chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) community had taken leptin – a hormone produced by fat cells – seriously until Jarred Younger’s Stanford Good Day Bad Day study suggested that it might be the factor driving fatigue in ME/CFS. Younger wasn’t aiming at leptin; it was just one of many immune factors he analyzed in his unusual (and intense) study examining the blood of ME/CFS patients over 25 days. Now leptin is popping out again – this time in women with body-wide pain and fibromyalgia.

Association of Leptin with Body Pain in Women.Younger J, Kapphahn K, Brennan K, Sullivan SD, Stefanick ML.J Women’s Health (Larchmt). 2016 Jul;25(7):752-60. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5509. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

This may be the first paper in the history of medicine to report on both a three-person study and a 5000-person-plus study at the same time. The proof-of-concept three-person study mimicked the ME/CFS study; every day for 25 days three dedicated FM patients provided blood samples and estimates of their symptoms to Younger who then analyzed about 50 factors in their blood. As in the bigger (but not much bigger) ME/CFS study leptin popped out again – but this time with regard to pain, not fatigue.

The 5676 person study queried the women regarding their pain levels and measured their BMI (obesity index) and leptin levels.

Both studies found that increased leptin levels were associated with increased pain. Increased (BMI) obesity was correlated with increased leptin levels as well. Putting the BMI factor aside, leptin was still associated with increased pain; i.e., leptin may be associated with increased obesity levels, but it also appears to increase pain whether you are fat or thin.

If leptin is increasing inflammation in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis and ME/CFS and FM it could do it in a couple of ways; by increasing cytokine levels (IL-6, IL-8), by activating the macrophages or by poking the microglia.


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