Thursday, February 15, 2007

Anorexia nervosa and the lack of zinc

In 1973 doctors Sommerset and Goldman, two researchers engaged in the study of the influence of zinc on the human organism, came to the conclusion that the lack of zinc causes loss of appetite in children. Later on this hypothesis was proved to be true.

The first aimed investigations were hold in 1980 at Kentucky University. Scientists found that 10 out of 13 patients with anorexia nervosa and 8 out of 14 patients with bulimia nervosa also had insufficiency of zinc. Among the common symptoms of anorexia nervosa and the lack of zinc are:
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Absence of periods (for women)
  • Impotence (for men)
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation and dryness of skin
  • Poor hair
  • Poor assimilation of nutrients
  • Confusion of thinking
  • Depression, anxiety, fear
Zinc is essentially important for normal digestion and cell construction, and the lack of it results in damage of walls of intestines, what prevents absorbing of nutritious elements. All this makes up a sort of a vicious circle, as zinc can’t be absorbed in necessary quantity.

In 1984 the first case of anorexia treatment with the use of zinc was described. A 13-year-old anorexic girl, suffering from depression and mentally suppressed, weighed only 37 kg. She was observed and diagnosed by a skilled psychiatrist, but after three months of traditional treatment her weight fell down to 31,5 kg. But after two months of reception of zinc 45 mg day the weight increased up to 44,5 kg, the mood of the patient improved considerably, and the blood test showed that the level of zinc was normal.

Thus, people suffering from anorexia nervosa often have insufficiency of zinc, and reception of zinc medications in course of treatment brings positive results in the overwhelming majority of cases. Unfortunately, in many clinics and medical centers zinc is still not widely used to treat anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Anorexia nervosa - the enslaver of young minds and bodies

Anorexia nervosa is rather rare in the USA - only 15 cases of 100 000 people of the US population a year. As far as this disease is chronic, its general prevalence is a bit higher - 0,1-0,7% of the whole US population. We have already pointed out that young girls of teenage age are mostly subjected to this disorder. Anorexia nervosa is chiefly a psychological disease. The consciousness of anorexic girls is like a battlefield of contradictory and often baseless thoughts. These thoughts seize and enslave their young victims. Let's try to look what happens inside their heads.

First of all, we should note a painful conviction of stoutness and aspiration to lose weight. It is often accompanied with obtrusiveness and anxiety, neurosis, etc. Many personality changes occur because of starvation. Among them are constant concentration of thoughts on food issues, depression, hostility, fatigability, sleeping disorders, low libido, reduced cognitive function. Long-term investigations showed that 15 % of anorexic cases end up with lethal outcome. And the reason of death approximately in half of them is suicide. It tells us about a great emotional disbalance of patients with anorexia nervosa and necessity to consider each case as potentially having a mortal ending.