Featured Article

Featured article | February 2024

Zinc Supplementation in Anorexia Nervosa

Greenblatt JM & Delane DD
Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 18, Nos. 3 & 4, 2003

Discussed in the article:

  • The relationship between zinc deficiency and anorexia nervosa, highlighting the potential benefits of zinc supplementation as a treatment
  • A comprehensive overview of the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between zinc deficiency and anorexia nervosa
  • Evidence from clinical trials and case studies to support the use of zinc supplementation as an adjunctive treatment for anorexia nervosa:
    • A 13-year-old female diagnosed with anorexia nervosa was treated with 45 mg of liquid zinc per day. Rapid improvement in mood, appetite, and weight gain was observed, and a normal weight trajectory was restored within 10 months.
    • 26 zinc-deficient children with anorexia nervosa were given 50 mg per day of zinc in addition to a nutritious diet for six weeks. Rapid restoration of a normal growth trajectory and stabilizing plasma zinc were observed.
    • Doses between 45 and 90 mg in 20 young females with anorexia nervosa resulted in rapid weight restoration in 85% of patients. 13 of the 20 women recovered their menstrual cycle within 1 to 17 months.

“Just eat and gain weight does not work. Many patients do not feel capable of choosing to get well and remain entrenched in deep-seated behaviors leading to cycles of relapse that cause further physical deterioration in a vicious, self-sustaining pattern.”

“Zinc supplements augment weight gain and recovery by improving digestion, nutrient absorption, and restoring sensory function to increase taste and appetite.”

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