Adiponectin: What is it?

Adiponectin is a protein hormone you may have never heard of.  It’s been getting some more headlines and attention in research articles because of its fat burning capabilities. It gets released into the bloodstream during cold thermogenesis by your adipose tissue.  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-obesisty usage. The mechanism by which it is able to oxidize fat in the body is a bit complicated.  When your body is exposed to cold, levels increase.  It then triggers AMPK (5′-AMP-activated protein kinase) and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)  which causes more 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.  


During a fast, adiponectin levels increase.  According to one study that measured adiponectin levels of participants fasting during Ramadan, levels actually rose.  This is another reason why fasting is a good way to burn fat, and its way 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 it 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 I was on a mission to increase my 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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