What is different about anorexia nervosa sufferers that, in contrast to most dieters, enables them to maintain a persistent calorie deficit? Although no one can truthfully claim they know the full answer to that question, we do know that part of the answer most likely lies with serotonin (5-HT), a molecule that neurons use to communicate with each other.
I’ve written about serotonin in the context of anorexia nervosa before, so I’ll just do a brief summary of the important points here:
- Serotonin has a lot of functions in the body; it plays a role in regulating appetite (satiety), sleep, mood, behaviour, learning and memory, and a variety of other things
- Serotonin has been implicated in obsessionality, harm avoidance, and behavioural inhibition
- Alterations in serotonin function have been linked to many disorders, including depression, OCD, anxiety, and eating disorders
- Serotonin is made from tryptophan, an essential