Topic: Neuroactive Peptides in Food: A New Model for the Treatment and Prevention of Eating Disorders by James Greenblatt MD
“Healthy Brain; Healthy Body: Mental Wellness in the 21st Century,” Spring 2010
This presentation will discuss diagnostic distinctions and therapies involved in the treatment of eating disorders. Although anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric illness characterized by severe weight loss from self-starvation, signs or symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies are rarely studied or integrated into treatment. Research from the 1980’s has suggested zinc deficiency may play a role in the development of anorexia nervosa – what are the factors that dictate the rare use of zinc therapy in the treatment of AN. To complicate matters, studies have found that individuals with AN are more likely to have multiple coexisting psychiatric disorders than the general population. Recent clinical evidence suggests that neuroactive peptides may exacerbate the course of treatment. Specifically, the peptides casomorphin and gliadorphin (from incompletely digested dairy and wheat proteins, casein and gluten respectively) have been shown to be elevated in patients with eating disorders and even OCD spectrum. A multifaceted approach, including integrative nutritional support, which addresses specific deficiencies and the presence of neuroactive peptides, might be the optimal program for the treatment of AN.
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