Raina Kranz, C. P. T.,
Thyroid Nation



Adiponectin, the answer to leptin resistance and obesity.


I am starting off this article with a journal abstract that briefly explains what adiponectin is and what it does.

“Inflammation is widely known to play a key role in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. It is becoming increasingly evident that obesity is linked to many pro-inflammatory and obesity-associated cardiovascular conditions (e.g., metabolic syndrome, acute coronary syndrome, and congestive heart failure). It has been observed that adipocytes play an increasingly large role in systemic and local inflammation. Therefore, adipose tissue may have a more important role than previously thought in the pathogenesis of several disease types. This review explores the recently described role of adiponectin as an immunomodulatory factor and how it intersects with the inflammation associated with both cardiovascular and autoimmune pathologies.

Adiponectin is a protein hormone that stimulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid oxidation. Adiponectin is only secreted from adipose tissue into the bloodstream and is very abundant in blood plasma relative to many hormones. Adiponectin levels are higher in those with lean body mass and lower levels in those who tend to carry more body fat.

There are several types of body fat; Subcutaneous (just beneath the skin), visceral (fat that has accumulated around the organ in the body) this happens to be a negative predictor of low levels of adiponectin, Brown fat (which acts more like muscle tissue and contains higher levels of adiponectin) and white fat (that stores energy and produce hormones).

Adiponectin is “a good guy” hormone that makes the liver and muscle tissues more sensitive to insulin, which makes us less susceptible to heart disease and diabetes. Solving the issue with Leptin resistance has just become clearer, as lowers levels of this good guy hormone adiponectin, appears to be playing the main role in the development insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Adiponectin circulates in high levels in non-obese people and in much lower levels in obese individuals. They are also much lower in those who have insulin resistance and those already diagnosed with type2 diabetes and heart disease.

The primary mechanisms by which adiponectin enhance insulin sensitivity appears to be through increased fatty acid oxidation and inhibition of hepatic (liver) glucose production. Adiponectin levels are increased by thiazoledinedione treatment, and this effect might be important for the enhanced insulin sensitivity induced by thiazolidinediones (Metformin). This medication is used for (PCOS, NASH, and Type 2 diabetes). Metformin will lower insulin resistance, Increase adipocyte/adiponectin and decreases leptin, which will increase appetite. Metformin may not work in decreasing body weight/weight loss. Even though the medication raises the Adiponectin levels –because it decreases the leptin levels.

All disease has a common dominator, inflammation; heart disease, metabolic disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. High levels of adiponectin reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and insulin enhancer – low levels are pro-inflammatory – pro disease).


So how do we increase our adiponectin levels? In my last article, I wrote about how to increase your metabolism with a metabolic disease (thyroid disease). Thermogenesis, the increase of body heat is the only way to increase metabolism and we learned that is done through better conversion of thyroid hormone, specifically T4 to T3 and getting optimal. We do that through, proper liver function and certain supplements to increase our conversion. Please refer to another article in the files called “Getting the most of your thyroid medicine”, to find the conversion supplement regime for this and the previous article for “Speeding up your metabolism”. Now, let’s address how we can put this all together. There is one specific diet that was noted in the research that increases adiponectin, The Mediterranean diet. This is an anti-inflammatory eating lifestyle that contains a large quantity of monounsaturated fats/modest amounts of saturated fats. The goal is to increase calorie burning (increase heat), increased insulin sensitivity, increased muscle efficiency and curb appetite.

Remember, when it comes to thyroid disease all aspects needs to be addressed. This is not going to work if you have not healed your gut, addressed all food sensitives, eliminated bad sugar out of your diet, decided if gluten free is helpful for you, eliminated all processed foods and artificial sweeteners, converting well for T4 to T3, you are sleeping, reduced your stress, on the right dose of thyroid hormone replacement and the right medication for you, as well. There is no quick fix and no easy way to get to where you want to be.

How to increase adiponectin levels:


Avocados are the tastiest fats to eat, high in potassium, folate and magnesium and being rich in monounsaturated fats. Avocados will increase your adiponectin levels and help reduce belly fat.

Olive Oil

The polyphenols present in olive oil, helps your body to secrete adiponectin that helps to burn more belly fat as well as regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar.

Pumpkin Seeds

Eating pumpkins or pumpkin seeds – are perfect sources to increase adiponectin levels in the body.

Dark Chocolate

This stimulates adiponectin levels that burn fat. You should eat ONLY dark chocolate. The highest percentage is best.

Peanuts and Macadamia nuts

Full of nutrients and proteins, peanuts help the body burn extra calories and increase the levels of adiponectin.


Movement increases the levels of adiponectin. The more you move, the higher fat-burning hormone levels are.

This is SO important because adiponectin is created by fat cells, which means the more body fat someone may have, the more adiponectin will be created through exercising or movement.

Monounsaturated fats

To raise adiponectin levels, replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats. These can be found in olive oil, peanuts, sesame oil, avocados and lean meats.

Fish oil

Fish oil contains beneficial high quality omega-3 that can raise your adiponectin levels, specifically DHA.  Now DHA can increase total cholesterol, LDL and Triglycerides in some individuals, so I suggest finding a Fish oil supplement that contains a much higher EPA ratio to DHA. A good example would be 1000mg of EPA to 100-300mg of DHA. The research suggests 2-3grams per day (2000-3000mg per day) I would be careful with this as this still may increase your total cholesterol more than your doctor would like..1000mg – 2000mg might be just fine. Eat more fish is always another option.

Drink coffee

I know this goes against many autoimmune protocols and if you are battling adrenal fatigue, coffee is a big no no, but regular consumption of coffee leads to an increase in adiponectin levels. When it comes to boosting adiponectin levels, coffee is even more successful than green tea.


Fiber is always an important component of every healthy diet, which aids in lowering cholesterol and healthy elimination.

About the Author

Radiant-Raina-KranzRaina Kranz, C.P.T. attended and is certified from the American College of Sports Medicine. She studied Kinesiology/Biomechanics. Living in Hollywood, Florida she is a full time personal trainer and coach. Find her at her website, Personal Fitness Training Florida and wonderful online Facebook Group, Thyroid Healing Journey. Click to schedule an appointment or to learn more about Raina’s Customized Thyroid Exercise Training Program at Thyroid Trainer.

Questions or anything to add about adiponectin and autoimmune disease? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!

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