Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders are as much mental disorders as they are physical disorders. Complications of all eating disorders potentially include osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems, and even kidney failure. (In fact, some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of chronic anorexia patients have cardiovascular problems.)
Higher cortisol levels, an indicator of increased internal and external body stress, are common in eating disorders, as are low levels of one or more of the following nutrients: sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6,
B9, B12, C, and D. It’s crucial to test for these and other deficiencies
before you take any supplements to try to treat eating disorders. Some people with eating disorders will use supplements to replace nutrients from food (self-medicate) rather than seek professional treatment, but this is obviously not the answer.
Overall, there is a lack of research on supplements for anorexia and other eating disorders, but I encourage you to peruse all of the sections in this book that deal with related issues these individuals may experience, from depression to osteoporosis.
What are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa?
Anorexia and bulimia are both eating disorders. They can have similar symptoms, such as distorted body image. However, they’re characterized by different food-related behaviors.
For example, people who have anorexia severely reduce their food intake to lose weight. People who have bulimia eat an excessive amount of food in a short period of time, then purge or use other methods to prevent weight gain.
Although eating disorders aren’t specific to age or gender, women are disproportionally affected by them. About 1 percent of all American women will develop anorexia, and 1.5 percent will develop bulimia, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).
Overall, ANAD estimates that at least 30 million Americans are living with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
Home Remedies For Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
In a preliminary double-blind trial with females hospitalized for anorexia, 100 milligrams of zinc gluconate (containing 14 milligrams of elemental zinc) taken for 2 months significantly improved the rate of weight gain in participants compared to a placebo. It’s possible that zinc has a role in improving taste perception and reducing anxiety and depression during the recovery period.
To reduce compulsive eating, people with bulimia are often encouraged to consume protein powder (not pills), which helps increase feelings of satiety. Protein, the most satiating macronutrient, can increase the release of the hormone cholecystokinin from the gut, sending feelings of fullness to the brain; 25 to 50 grams is the average daily dose for bulimia patients. People with other eating disorders, such as anorexia, should speak with their doctors about using protein powder to combat the muscle loss that frequently accompanies severe weight loss.