Adiponectin: What is it and How it Increases Health

Adiponectin is a protein hormone you may have never heard of.  It’s been gaining more attention because of its fat burning capabilities. 

It gets released into the bloodstream during cold thermogenesis by your adipose (fat) tissue which then helps to burn fat for fuel to maintain body temperature.

Besides burning fat, it also has the ability to shuttle blood glucose into the muscle rather than fat stores and lower insulin resistance. For this reason, it is being studied for its anti-diabetic and anti-obesity usage.

The mechanism by which it is able to oxidize fat in the body is a bit complicated but here is the general method: When your body is exposed to cold, adiponectin levels increase.  Increases in adiponectin trigger AMPK (5′-AMP-activated protein kinase) and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)  which results in an increase in the transcription of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)alpha. 

PPAR is a type of protein receptor located in the nucleus that regulates other genes in the cell.  When PPAR is turned on, it triggers fat oxidation.  

Adiponectin and Fasting

During a fast, adiponectin levels increase.  According to a study that measured adiponectin levels of participants fasting during Ramadan, an increase in adiponectin levels was observed.  This is another reason why fasting is a good way to burn fat, and its why I practice intermittent fasting almost everyday.


A meta analysis on adiponectin and exercise shows that both aerobic and resistance training increased adiponectin levels in experimental subjects.  Experimental subjects had diabetes or were pre-diabetic. Low levels of adiponectin have been associated with insulin resistance.  This further proves that maintaining high levels of adiponectin is good for body composition and for diabetics.  

Cardiovascular Health

According to the “Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology”, adiponectin has the ability to suppress the expression of adhesion molecules in vascular endothelial cells and cytokine production from macrophages.  This inhibits the inflammatory responses that occur during the early stages of atherosclerosis.  In other words, adiponectin helps lower your body’s inflammation and it helps to reduce your risk of cardiac disease.  

Best Ways to Increase your Adiponectin Levels

If you want o increase adiponectin levels, I would do it by implementing cold exposure, exercise, and fasting. (I already do implement all 3 of these). You will burn more fat, become more insulin resistant, and have less inflammation overall.

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