Researchers now speculate there might be a gut and brain connection. This suggests that it is not just psychological, but there is a GUT problem with an emotional connection. I can tell you from my experience with I.B.S., when it flares up my emotional health is not the same.
New French research have discovered that a specific bacteria that regulates appetite, may also be playing a role gut conditions – it is hard to say which comes first – the psychological conditions that leads them to forgo eating which then affects the gut. Or does problems with the gut cause the emotional issues that lead them to stop eating. Whatever the case, they are intertwined now.
Researcher at the University of North Carolina have determined that people with anorexia have far less gut bacteria in total and less diverse bacteria. The quality and quantity of bacteria in the gut is dependent on what we eat.
In the meantime, we can encourage a healthier approach for anorexics which should be implemented while they are receiving treatment and continued after. They should be fed foods that are high in nutrients that may be deficient.
The following steps may be the best approach that we have now:
1. Digestive enzymes and probiotics to aid digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as help the gastrointestinal tract function better. Depriving their system for so long of good quality foods as well as purging and/or using laxative is going to mean their whole GI tract is messed up.
2. Soothing bone broth and aloe vera gel will help aid repair of the GI tract. Aloe also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria.
3. Nutrient dense foods with prebiotics, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, including fermented foods should be introduced into their diet to build the residential good bacteria. This may need to be done slowly – everyone is different and it always wise to go carefully.
4. Further gut repair may be needed but this is a good start.
5. Psychological treatment must be part of any plan. Whether the psychological preceded the gut problems or the gut led to the psychological issues – they are now influencing each other and a strategy for both is needed.
Come let me help you with some great menu ideas and help you stay on track.
Surie Weinberg, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Trained Doula
SurieWeinberg@gmail.com for more info. www.sproutsandsweets.com
1. The Intestinal Microbiota in Acute Anorexia Nervosa and During Renourishment: Relationship to Depression, Anxiety, and Eating Disorder Psychopathology, Susan C. Kleiman et al, Psychosom Med. 2015 Nov-Dec; 77(9): 969–981
2. Gut Dysbiosis in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa, Chihiro Morita et al, December 18, 2015 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0145274
3. Role of the gut microbiota in host appetite control: bacterial growth to animal feeding, Sergueď O Fetissov, Nature Reviews Endocrinology 13(1), September 2016