For many people, especially teenagers, te problem is not gaining weight but losing it. Eating disorders incuding anorexia nervosa and anorexia bulimia, in which the sufferer binges and then makes herself sick, affect thousands of people, and are very much on the increase.
Anorexia was first identified by Dr. William Gull in 1874. He advocated that "The patient should be fed at regular intervals, and surronded by persons who could have moral control over them, relations and friends being generally the worst attendants." Today the approach is often essentially the same, summed up as "drug them, feed them, and let them get on with their lives" in a Guardian article describing tratment in "leading hospitals". The "modern" approach includes "behaviour therapy"-in other words, rewards and privileges-and drugs to induce compliance. The latter include tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine, sedatives, and anti-depressants. The diet is high-carbohydrate, sometimes as much as 5,000 calories a day, with little regard to quality.
THE GERM OF AN IDEA
In 1973 two zinc researchers, Hambridge and Silverman, concluded that, "whenever there is apetite loss in children zinc deficiency should be suspected." In 1979 Bakan, a Canadian health researcher, noticed that the symptons of anorexia and zinc deficiency were similar in a number of respects and proposed that clinical trials should be undertaken to test its effectiveness in treatment. Meanwhile David Horrobin, most renowned for his research into evening primrose oil, proposed that "anorexia nervosa is due to a combined deficiency of zinc and EFAs."
ZINC HYPOTHESIS CONFIRMED
In 1980 the first trial started, at the University of Kentucky. The researchers discovered that 10 out of 13 patients admitted with anorexia and 8 out of 14 patients with bulimia were zinc-deficient. Since zinc is required to digest and utilize protein, from which body tissue is made, the researchers recommended that extra zinc, above the amount required to correct deficiency, should be given as anorexics start to eat and gain weight.
In 1984 the penny dropped with two important research findings and the first case of an anorexic treated with zinc. The first study showed that animals depived of zinc were rapidly developed loss of appetite, and that if these animals were force-fed a zinc deficient diet in order to gain weight they became seriously ill. The second study revealed that zinc deficiency damages the intestinal wall and therefore the absorbtion of nutrients, including zinc, potentially leading to a vicious spiral of deficiency.
Then in 1984 Proessor Bryce-Smith, renowned for his exposure of the dangers of lead, and Dr. Simpson, a Reading genreal practicioner, reported the first case of anorexia treated with zinc. The patient was a thirteen-year old girl, tearful and depressed, who weighed 80 pounds. She was referred to a consultant pwychiatrist, but, despite counseling, three months later her weight was down to 70 pounds. Within two months of zinc supplementation at a level of 45 mg per day her weight had risen to almost 98 pounds, she was cheerful again, and tests for zinc deficiency produced normal results.
Scientists all over the world now started to test the effects of zinc on anorxia. Two Swedish doctors at the University of Gothenburg reported that "our intial patient is currently maintained on zinc supplementation (45 mg a day). She is doing very well: her weight as well as her menstrations are normalized." Meanwhile, the first double-blind trial with fifteen anorexics was being carried out at the University of California. In 1987 the researchers reported their findings: "Zinc supplementation was followed by a decrease in depression and anxiety. Our data suggest that individuals with anorexia nervosa may be at risk for zinc defiency and may respond favorably after zinc supplementation." By 1990 many researchers had found that over half the anorexic patients studied showed clear biochemical evidence of zinc deficiency. In 1994 Dr. Birmingham and colleagues carried out a double-blind controlled trial in which one group was given 100mg of zinc gluconate. They concluded that "the rate of increase of body mass of the zinc supplemented group was twice that of the placebo group and this differende was statistically significant." Sadly, many treatment centers still fail to give zinc supplements to those suffering from anorexia.
MIND OR BODY?
The fact that high levels of zinc supplementaiton help to treat anorexia does not mean that the root cause of anorexia is zinc deficiency. Psychological issues may, and probably do, bring about a change in the eating habits of susceptible people. By avoiding eating, a young girl can suppress the signs of growing up. MEnstration stops, her breast size decreases, and the body stays small. Starvation induces a kind of "high" by stimulating important brain chemicals that may helo blockout difficult feelings and issues that are too hard to face. But once the route of not eating is chosen and becomes established , zinc deficiency is almost inevitable, due to bothe poor intake and poor absorbtion. With it comes a further loss of appetitie and even more depression, misperceptions, and the inabilit to cope with the stresses that face many adolescents growing up in the late twentieth century.
The optimum nutrition approach to help someone with anorexia or bulimia is best carried out alongside work with a skilled psychotherapist. It emphasizes quality of food rather than quantity, including supplements to ensure that the patient takes in enough vitamins and mineral, and of course 45mg of zinc per day. The dose can be halved once a weight gain has been achieved and is being maintained.
the book also has a chart that corresponds every sympton of zinc deficiency with symptons of anorexia.
weight loss, loss of appetite, amenorrhoea, impotence in males, nausea, skin lesions, malabsorbtions of nutrients, misperceptions (confused thoughts), depression and anxiety
please do not take this as not getting your zinc as a good way to lose weight all you skimming lurkers, you ;]
OMG I NEVER WANT TO TYPE Z--C OR DEF... AGAIN, WHEW!
my whole approach on recovery has been to work with the physical and mental aspects together, duh, but a poor body gives way to a poor mind and a poor mind gives way to a poor body. its a vicious cycle.
i also want to add on that deficiencies of other nutrients also can further existing problems like alcoholism, depression, altzheimers, insomnia, stress...
heres a decenet link