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Diet > Eating Disorders

Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating can be improved in some cases by supplements or dietary regulation. Here are some clinically proven natural treatments summarised from What Doctors Don't Tell You, Jan 1998.

Some people's anorexia can be improved by taking zinc supplements. Studies have shown that zinc can improve the mental state of sufferers and enable them to escape the grip of anorexia.

There is a significant body of evidence linking anorexia and zinc deficiency. Anorexics have been observed to have much lower levels of zinc than is normal. (J Nat Med, 1990,1, 171-7.J Clln Psych, 1989,50, 456-9).

Zinc supplements have been found to improve appetite, taste sensation and mood in an array of studies. (Am J Psych, 1986,143,1059. Lancet, 1984,2, 350.)

Niacin can also improve appetite and mental state. Other studies have reported high levels of vitamins A andB12 and low levels of vitamins D and E.

A natural remedy that has had success is a switch to a nutrient dense and sugar-free diet. In one study a group of bulimic women ceased to binge when they were put on such a diet, while the control group showed no improvement. When the control group joined the diet they too ceased to binge.

This may be because the emotional effects of sugar are can prove to be a difficulty for bulimics. Sugar has been shown to have a marked effect on the eating behaviour of some bulimics. (Physio Beav, 1984, 33,169-75. Brain Res 14 1985,14, 673-80)

Australian evidence suggests that the quickest and most effective way to help bulimics is to get them to seek counselling. Cognitive behavioural therapy or even hypnotherapy can achieve good results.

An Australian study found that therapy reduced the incidence of binge eating in all participants during an eight week course. (Fur Eat Dis Rev, 1994, 2, 202-20)

Bulimics may be deficient in nutrients, particularly B vitamins such as folic acid and pyridoxine (B6).

B6 has been shown to improve mood with consequential benefits in eating behaviour and feelings about eating (Lancet, 1989, 2,1162-3).

Obesity - Compulsive Eating
Uncontrollable appetite may be a sign of hidden allergies.

Obesity nay be caused by increased adipose tissue as the body holds water to cope with toxins in its system. When dealing with obesity or compulsive eating it is useful to check food sensitivities. As with bulimia, it is possible that sugar may stimulate calorie consumption, (a sugar binge). Avoiding sugar and consequent binges can be more effective than avoiding fat.

Fructose or glucose can be used instead of sugar. These can stimulate thermogenesis, (fat burning). Fructose can reduce subsequent calorie and fat consumption. (Am J Nutrition, 1990, 51, 428-35)

Herbs can be effective at promoting weight loss. The homeopathic treatment known as Helianthus tuberosis Dl has been shown to be useful and tests on 166 overweight men showed an average weight loss of around 7.2 kg, which was nearly double that of the control group. (Therapie woche, 1994, 44, 34-9)

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