- Taking a multivitamin-mineral provides the body with much-needed nutrients that are often lacking in people who restrict their food intake.
Dose:Take as directed on label
People with eating disorders who restrict their food intake are at risk for multiple nutrient deficiencies, including protein, calcium, iron, riboflavin, niacin,4folic acid,5vitamin A, vitamin C,6 and vitamin B6,7 and essential fatty acids.8 A general multivitamin-mineral formula can reduce the detrimental health effects of these deficiencies.
- 5-HTP has been shown to reduce appetite in weight-control and diabetes trials. However, what effect 5-HTP has on people with eating disorders is unknown
Dose:Refer to label instructions
A serotonin precursor, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), has been shown to reduce appetite in weight-control and diabetes trials.9,10,11 However, what effect 5-HTP has, if any, on people with binge eating disorder, bulimia, or anorexia is unknown. Unlike L-tryptophan, 5-HTP is available from health food stores and some pharmacies without prescription.
Psychological counseling, for both the individual and her family, and behavior modification training are also commonly used for people with eating disorders, often as part of a team approach that also includes nutrition counseling and medical care. Numerous preliminary and controlled studies have shown that the psychotherapy technique known as cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of bulimia.12,13 For example, one study found 69% of a group receiving cognitive-behavioral therapy were abstaining from binge-eating and purging six months later compared to only 15% of a group keeping a diary of their behavior.14 Preliminary studies15 and one controlled trial16 suggest another technique, interpersonal psychotherapy, is equally effective for people with bulimia. Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy have also been effective for people with binge-eating disorder in controlled trials,17,18 resulting in cessation of binge-eating in almost half of the subjects in one report.19
The effectiveness of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa is less clear.20,21 One controlled trial found that psychotherapy (type unspecified) significantly improved weight gain compared to no treatment, and complete or nearly complete recovery occurred in 60% of the patients.22 Two other studies comparing different types of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa found comparable improvement from all types;23,24 one of these studies reported moderate improvement in 63% of cases.23 Long-term effectiveness of psychotherapy for eating disorders has not been studied.