Is Leptin The Key to Weight Loss?

I have gotten a ton of requests for a Zenith by Awakend review. Happy New Year! Please read this piece before buying Zenith.

Zenith by Awakend is a nutritional supplement that calls itself a ‘clinically proven fat loss accelerator.’

It allegedly works by decreasing leptin levels, which supposedly leads to better communications between fat cells and the brain.

But does it really?

As with every nutrition MLM (multi level marketing) company, Awakend’s site is plastered with images of thin, happy people enjoying their lives..all supposedly because they take Zenith.

And look! They have an ‘opportunity’ for you!

Classic MLM sales pitch.

What is leptin?

We can’t talk about Zenith by Awakend without first talking about leptin, its function, and what ideal leptin levels are.

Leptin is a hormone that’s produced by our fat cells. Leptin’s primary function is to regulate our food intake telling the body to stop eating when the brain senses that we’ve consumed enough calories.

Ghrelin, often called ‘the hunger hormone,’ acts opposite to leptin by triggering hunger when our bodies need calories.

If you’e ever been on a diet, you’ve probably had the experience of not being able to focus on anything but food. That’s ghrelin! Restrictive dieting has been shown to increase ghrelin levels, which essentially make food irresistible. This is the body’s way of preventing starvation.

Since leptin is produced by body fat, people who are obese often have high leptin levels. This is paradoxical – if their leptin levels are high, you’d think that these people wouldn’t even get hungry. However, elevated leptin in obesity often results in leptin resistance. Just like in insulin resistance, levels of the hormone are elevated, but the body doesn’t ‘see’ them. 

This results in higher blood leptin levels, because the fat cells just keep pumping out leptin, to no avail. 

In leptin resistance, even though leptin levels are high, the ‘hunger off switch’ of leptin doesn’t work, which results in the continuation of eating beyond what’s physically necessary. This can lead to weight gain and associated health issues.

Awakend seems to want people to believe that if they are overweight (or even not – most if not all of the models on their site appear to be of normal weight), they can reduce leptin and ‘burn fat.’

That’s really not how any of this works.

In people who don’t have leptin resistance, reducing leptin levels isn’t a desired effect. In fact, it can make you hungrier – and this is all under the assumption that Zenith is actually EFFECTIVE (more on that in a second).

Again, it’s like insulin. If you don’t have insulin resistance, why would you want to mess with your insulin levels?

You don’t, trust me.

What is Zenith by Awakend?

Zenith’s active ingredients are a proprietary mixture of cellulose, which is another word for ‘fiber,’ and cetylated fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to decreased joint pain in people with osteoarthritis, but their effectiveness in fat loss is questionable. 

When I hear that something is clinically proven, the first thing I like to do is to check that out. This means accessing the research that the company is basing their claim on, and seeing if it really does support what they’re saying.

Zenith by Awakend review
Don’t be fooled by the ‘university conducted’ claim, or these impressive-sounding results.

A lot of companies will use sciencey-sounding language and claims to convince you to buy their products. It’s important to have all the information you can get about these things before you decide to jump in.

The one research study that Awakend uses to back up its claims is published right on their site, and it doesn’t take long to see that this study is flawed.

I just want to take the opportunity right now to say that weight loss is NEVER 100% fat, and this claim is absurd.

At first, thing are looking up for Zenith. The study was a randomized controlled trial, which is great. Both groups lost weight during the intervention, but the Zenith group appears to have lost ‘significantly more’ weight. Next step in this Zenith by Awakend review is that we have to look at what that means.

The study was done for 8 weeks using 22 women. All of them had a BMI of over 25, and an average age of 36. Not only is BMI a terrible metric to assess health (I wrote about BMI here), but this group is also not representative of the general population. 

Does Awakend market Zenith only to women with a BMI over 25? Nope. It markets it to everyone. And like I said above, reduction of leptin isn’t something everyone needs. It’s certainly not the holy grail of weight loss, especially for those who have normal leptin levels.

Half the subjects in this study were in the placebo group, leaving 11 women in the supplement group. This is a tiny number. Would you take a prescription medication that was only tested on 11 people? I hope not. And hey – anecdotes and testimonials don’t count as evidence. 

A study done for 8 weeks doesn’t tell us a lot about the efficacy of the product over time. If the supplement was so effective, why didn’t they study it for longer? The study was done in 2008 – 14 years ago. There has been plenty of time to do a peer-reviewed follow up. 

 It’s important to note that this study was sponsored by the makers of Zenith’s ‘proprietary formula’ (at the time, called Trisynex). We do need to be mindful that studies that are sponsored are more likely to have outcomes that favour the client.

Again, if it was so groundbreaking, why in 2023 are we not seeing this product first-line for obesity and regulated by the FDA?

All subjects were on a reduced-calorie diet with dietitian counselling and a supervised exercise program. Is this consistent with your life? Are you going to work out 4-5x a week with a trainer and cut your calories while taking Zenith?

The crazy thing is that the study goes on to say that it was likely the fiber in the supplement, plus the strenuous exercise and diet program, that was responsible for the increased weight loss in the supplement group.

If this is the case, why would we even buy Zenith? Why wouldn’t we just buy cellulose powder, on Amazon and just ignore this overpriced MLM?

Your guess is as good as mine.

To try to rationalize why the cetylated fatty acids could have helped with weight loss, they cite some studies from the early 2000s with unrelated fatty acids, but the fact remains that if any studies found that any fatty acids were helpful for losing weight, in 2023 we’d be using them a lot more often. As of right now, they’re relegated to health food stores and this company.

The researchers, until this day, don’t have a mechanism for why the cetylated fatty acids in Zenith would work for weight loss. 

This is all a hot garbage mess of bad science. There are just too many unknowns, coupled with industry sponsorship, a tiny, old, and short study, and attempted rationalization using unrelated research that doesn’t really help Awakend’s cause at all.

Is reducing leptin the secret to weight loss?

As I said earlier, reducing leptin isn’t really something the average person should aspire to, or worry about. There’s also a persistent myth that weight loss is something that can be ‘hacked’ with some MLM product that the FDA isn’t sharing with us.

But as we’ve all seen with the new GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, the FDA and mainstream medicine do regulate – and make money off of – weight loss medications. Nobody is hiding anything special – that’s just what MLM companies like Awakend want you to believe.

Is Ozempic a good option for weight loss?

There are really no ‘secrets’ to losing weight: it all comes down to diet and lifestyle, as well as genetics. If you are overweight and have leptin resistance, you may find your appetite is never satiated. if you lose weight and become more sensitive to the leptin your body produces, this may help you eat less. 

But having what seems like an insatiable appetite can be the symptom of more than just leptin resistance, and it’s important to consider the other causes. They include not eating enough protein, not sleeping enough, PCOS, and emotional causes such as rebound eating resulting from restriction, and emotional eating.

Losing weight can reduce leptin levels for obese individuals, so anything that results in weight loss may have this effect. As I always say, the best way to lose weight is the way you can stick to…and maintain for the long-term. This is generally not a strict exercise and diet program coupled by a random supplement.

Lastly, and I have to mention this – MLM products are money-losers for 99% of the people who sell them. The multi-level marketing industry targets women, chews them up, and spits them out. I wrote all about the dangers of MLMs and their ‘coaches’ here.

Please think twice before supporting these companies.

Long-term, meaningful weight loss rarely happens with ‘miracle’ products sold via MLM. Please don’t fall for them.

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