Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders and Nutrient Deficiencies: Anorexia Nervosa


 Anorexia is associated with the maintenance of low weight and fear of weight gain. Resaerch shows that undermethylation is a variable that is highly prevalent in our patient population with this destructive disorder, which is associated with the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness.

Anorexia affects about 2% of women in their lifetime. Another surprising statistic, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia are male. Between the ages of 15 and 24, suffering from anorexia nervosa means you’re 12 times more likely to die. It’s clearly a serious disorder, but there are many myths about what causes it.

Anorexia can be seen as an addiction disorder that manifests itself in undermethylated persons who use food control to master their desire for the perfect body due to the undermethylator's delusional thinking patterns.

Anorexia is often correlated with undermethylation. A lot of females with anorexia, and even a few males, are undermethylated. Perfectionism is directed toward not seeing yourself as perfect enough. It is a form of OCD from a chemical perspective. In general, they are highly driven people, focused on perfectionism, straight “A” students, and very career oriented. Underlying all these characteristics is undermethylation.

Eating Disorders and Nutrient Deficiencies: Bulimia

If we are to take binging and vomiting, two classic behaviors in bulimic patients, they trigger endorphins that release a feel good sensation in the brain. This euphoric feeling is desired in the patient because they are often fighting a chemical imbalance. When it comes to Bulimia, there is no statistical pattern of one chemical imbalance. Bulimics can have any sort of combined biochemical imbalances.  We conduct thorough laboratory testing to determine the individual combination of biochemical imbalance that is present in the patient to help balance their chemistry.

Eating Disorders and Nutrient Deficiencies: Basic Facts

Eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies are an epidemic in this country. Eating disorders are six times more prevalent than Alzheimer’s disease and nearly ten times more prevalent than autism. There are many misconceptions as to what causes eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies as well as best treatment modalities. In our clinic we work to provide patients with crucial nutrients that can help restore healthy levels of vital nutrients to restore both mental and physical wellness. Our individualized and targeted nutrient therapies are designed to work in conjunction with other traditional therapies for patients with eating disorders.

Onset of Eating Disorders

In most cases, eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies begin in early adolescence when pressures are put on a child to diet by peers, coaches, cultural mores, or influences in the home. Body dissatisfaction can start as early as age six, and often leads to excessive dieting. Puberty is a dangerous time for dieting because the body is rapidly growing and changing. Adolescents require at least 2,500  calories per day.  Anorexic teens will often cut that desired calorie amount in half. As their bodies become deficient in vital nutrients they become hypoglycemic and therefore begin to crave only junk foods high in salt and sugars.  This starvation dieting can develop into an eating disorder when their nutrient levels hit the danger zone and begin compromise normal cognitive functioning.



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Genetics and Epigenetics of Eating Disorders.

Differential Methylation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa: A Pilot Study

Severity of eating disorder symptoms related to oxytocin receptor polymorphisms in anorexia nervosa.

Differential methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene in patients with anorexia nervosa: a pilot study.

DNA methylation in individuals with anorexia nervosa and in matched normal-eater controls: A genome-wide study.

Assessing global and gene specific DNA methylation in anorexia nervosa: a pilot study.

Anorexia, it’s in your genes

Anorexia Nervosa May Be Treated By Targeting One Gene

Genetic risk factors in eating disorders.

Genetics in eating disorders: extending the boundaries of research


“Examination of chemistry information from 145 persons diagnosed with anorexia revealed that all but five were undermethylated. “Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. By William J. Walsh. 2012.



Nutrient deficiencies may manifest as symptoms long before the eating disorder surfaces: a loss of appetite, intestinal pain, constipation, chest pain, anxiety, and issues sleeping. As the diet prolongs itself  nutrient levels reach dangerous lows and the symptoms of anorexia surface.

An example of one imbalance seen in Anorexia is zinc deficiency, which also causes appetite loss and a lowered sense of taste. It is not surprising that we see a large adolescent population with eating disorders because it is during these years that zinc is vital for the growth, development, and hormonal changes necessary. The supplementation helps patients gain weight and regain their appetite and sense of taste. Please note, that taking zinc alone does not reverse the condition and that toxic levels of zinc can be reached without medical supervision.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders and nutrient deficiencies go hand in hand. Some people think that the nutrient deficiencies are caused by the eating disorder, especially in the case of anorexia nervosa and bulimia. The fact is that genetic, environmental and epigenetic factors all play a role in the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  Research shows a specific pattern in biochemical imbalance especially with the anorexic population. Most of them tend to be undermethylated and severely zinc deficient. There is also an emotional component in the treatment of an eating disorder that is necessary to help retrain thought patterns and emotional triggers. Anorexia and bulimia eating disorders need careful individualized targeted nutrient therapy as well as intense psychotherapy, cognitive, or behavioral therapy to successfully overcome.