Super Smurf (lustforcontrol) wrote in ed_ucate,
Super Smurf


I just googled a basic search and I came up with this, I'm sure anyone would be able to find this is they need it, but just to add to the collection and to have all information in one place... If there is unnecessary information in here or I am repeating anything (though I haven't had any luck in finding it in the memories) please tell me and I'll delete it.

  • How many people have night-eating syndrome?

Perhaps only one to two percent (1-2%) of adults in the general population have this problem, but research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that about six percent of people who seek treatment for obesity have NES. Another study suggests that more than a quarter (27%) of people who are overweight by at least 100 pounds have the problem.

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Night-eating syndrome has not yet been formally defined as an eating disorder. Underlying causes are being identified, and treatment plans are still being developed. It seems likely that a combination of biological, genetic, and emotional factors contribute to the problem.

One theory postulates that people with this condition are under stress, either recognized or hidden. Their bodies are flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone. Eating may be the body's attempt to neutralize cortisol or slow down its production. More research needs to be done before this explanation can be accepted or rejected. In any event, stress appears to be a cause or trigger of NES, and stress-reduction programs, including mental health therapy, seem to help.

Researchers are especially interested in the foods chosen by night eaters. The heavy preference for carbohydrates, which trigger the brain to produce so-called "feel-good" neurochemicals, suggests that night eating may be an unconscious attempt to self-medicate mood problems and relieve stress.

NES may run in families. At this time is appears to respond to treatment with the SSRI sertraline (a prescription medication). NES is remarkable for characteristic disturbances in the circadian rhythm of food intake while the circadian sleep rhythm remains normal.



Looking for possible biochemical triggers underlying this pattern, scientists from the Clinical Research Department and the Laboratory of Gastroenterology of the University Hospital in Tromso, Norway examined the hormone activity of NES patients (12 night eaters and 21 controls) over the complete light-dark cycle. They found that the night eaters - both normal and overweight - had significantly lower melatonin levels during the night than did the controls. Since melatonin levels normally rise at night to induce and sustain sleep, this may explain why NES patients wake up more frequently at night.

NES has been linked to hormone imbalances; high cortisol, low melatonin and leptin may make things worse. Leptin, the "hunger hormone" which rises at night to suppress appetite, was also lower in the NES patients, partly explaining their nocturnal food cravings. This "distinctive neuroendocrine pattern" in individuals with NES may provide the key to more successful treatment, said the researchers.

Therapy to increase the natural nocturnal rise in melatonin, reduce the body's adrenal stress response and raise leptin levels or improve leptin sensitivity are options that may help these patients overcome the disorder. Another key may involve the availability of tryptophan, an important amino acid, in the body. More than 70% of the nighttime eating to combat anxiety involved binging on carbohydrates. These foods are believed to increase the amount of tryptophan available for conversion to serotonin, the calming neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes an overall sense of well-being and, in turn, converts to melatonin.

NOTE: Addressing hormonal and biochemical imbalances in patients with chronic eating and mood disorders can be crucial for uncovering fundamental causes and contributing factors that underlie cyclical, habitual patterns of insomnia, overeating, and depression.



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