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Leptin Blood Test

Last updated Sept. 8, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Leptin Blood Test helps determine leptin levels in blood. It is used to evaluate body fat metabolism.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Leptin Blood Level Test

What is Leptin Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells. It is known as the satiety hormone because of its role in suppressing hunger. To this end, it works opposite the hormone ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone
  • Leptin may have a very important function in the body. Studies have shown that leptin may be helpful in communicating with the brain on the amount of fat storage levels in the body
  • Due to such information inputs, the brain sends signals to either increase or decrease the levels of insulin and glucocorticoid hormones in blood. The insulin and glucocorticoid hormones assist in body metabolism and influence the amount of fat stored in the body
  • Leptin strongly varies with nutritional status. Eating a heavy meal may increase leptin levels in the blood by 40% within 12 hours, whereas fasting may reduce leptin levels by 60-70% within 48 hours. Leptin levels decrease with age
  • Because leptin is made by fat cells, its levels in the blood mirror body fat levels i.e., an individual with high body fat levels is likely to have a high leptin level in his or her blood
  • The Leptin Blood Test helps determine leptin levels in blood. It is used to evaluate body fat metabolism

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Leptin Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indicators for performing the Leptin Blood Test:

  • Rapid weight change
  • Unhealthy body composition
  • Obesity

How is the Specimen Collected for Leptin Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Leptin Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood 

Process of obtaining a blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Leptin Blood Test Result?

  • A high value (greater than 12.7 ng/mL in men and 30 ng/mL in women) may point to a diagnosis of obesity

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Certain factors interfere with the results of the Leptin Blood Test. These include age, pregnancy, and recent diet

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 3, 2016
Last updated: Sept. 8, 2018