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Leptin and Pregnancy: Research Review

A short overview of the role of leptin in fertility and pregnancy - and the science behind it.

April 1, 2022 Pregmune Team

Leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that regulates hunger and many aspects of pregnancy. High leptin levels are linked to multiple reproductive issues including impaired egg production, pregnancy failures and complications. Low leptin levels might be linked to miscarriage.


High leptin levels have been shown to disrupt folliculogenesis (maturation of follicle leading to the production of a fertilizable egg)1. This translates into “poor” embryo quality and ultimately higher chances for pregnancy failure2.

On the other hand, in non-overweight PCOS women, lower leptin serum levels put them at higher risk for lower fertilization rate as the follicle maturation requires physiologic levels of leptin3.
Interestingly, leptin levels are negatively associated with EPA and DHA levels3.

Further, studies have found that a diet rich in Fish can significantly lower leptin levels4. Lastly, a large meta-analysis showed that omega 3 supplementation significantly reduced leptin levels5.

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About Pregmune: We’re an innovative reproductive health technology company, built on a solid foundation of data gained from decades of experience and thousands of successful pregnancies. Our team of fertility specialists and scientists are using artificial intelligence to decipher the complexity of the immune system and help patients grow the families of their dreams.

Our first product, IRMA, provides patients and their doctors with a personalized report and evidence-based treatment plan that addresses immunological sources of unexplained infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and recurrent implantation failure.


  1. Agarwal SK, Vogel K, Weitsman SR, Magoffin DA. Leptin antagonizes the insulin-like growth factor-I augmentation of steroidogenesis in granulosa and theca cells of the human ovary. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Mar;84(3):1072-6.
  2. Anifandis G, Koutselini E, Stefanidis I, Liakopoulos V, Leivaditis C, Mantzavinos T, Vamvakopoulos N. Serum and follicular fluid leptin levels are correlated with human embryo quality. Reproduction. 2005 Dec;130(6):917-21.
  3. Winnicki M, Somers VK, Accurso V, Phillips BG, Puato M, Palatini P, Pauletto P. Fish-rich diet, leptin, and body mass. Circulation. 2002 Jul 16;106(3):289-91.
  4. Santos S, Oliveira A, Pinho C, Casal S, Lopes C. Fatty acids derived from a food frequency questionnaire and measured in the erythrocyte membrane in relation to adiponectin and leptin concentrations. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;68(5):555-60.
  5. Garruti G, de Palo R, Rotelli MT, Nocera S, Totaro I, Nardelli C, Panzarino MA, Vacca M, Selvaggi LE, Giorgino F. Association between follicular fluid leptin and serum insulin levels in nonoverweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:980429.
  6. Hariri M, Ghiasvand R, Shiranian A, Askari G, Iraj B, Salehi-Abargouei A. Does omega-3 fatty acids supplementation affect circulating leptin levels? A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled clinical trials. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015 Feb;82(2):221-8.