Singing can increase leptin: the fat-gain gene

It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings. But is the lady fat because she sings?

A 2005 study suggested that singers’ extensive use of their lungs resulted in an increase in leptin, a hormone found in fat cells that controls appetite, thereby making the brain more resistant to it, and less able to signal the feeling of “fullness” that stops people from having that second piece of cake for dessert. Dr Peter Osin of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, says Opera singers “may be more predisposed to put on weight because exertions in the lungs act as a trigger for their appetite” and that “the mechanism of singing encourages the lung cells to release chemicals including leptin, a protein made by the body’s fat cells that is involved in the regulation of appetite“.

However, it’s not all bad for singers: A 1986 study published in The American Journal of Nursing found that the opera singers had stronger chest-wall muscles, maintained large lung capacity even into old age, and also found that their hearts pumped better.

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