Physical recovery from an eating disorder takes time, patience, and strategy. Reintroducing foods and nutrients too quickly can cause additional problems. The eating disorder recovery process begins with rebuilding the body’s digestive system. Once basic digestive functioning is on the mend, it may be time to begin reintroducing nutritional supplements.
If you are recovering from an eating disorder, the first nutritional supplements to be reintroduced are potassium and zinc. The preferred form of potassium is potassium chelate in a powder capsule form. If you are still purging, wait at least an hour to purge after taking potassium. When you allow yourself to wait an hour after consuming something, you may find that your desire to get rid of the food is reduced.
Along with potassium, zinc must also be reintroduced in proper levels. A lack of zinc impairs the ability to smell and taste. When zinc levels have been increased in women suffering form anorexia, all reported an increase in appetite and renewed ability to experience taste.
Next comes the introduction of the B vitamins, along with amino acids. Amino acids are especially important, because they affect the body’s hunger and desire to sleep. The improper balance of amino acids can lead to depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, lack of hunger, or intense cravings.
Along with the B vitamins already mentioned, there are a variety of other vitamins essential to proper digestion and physiological functioning:
Vitamin A: This vitamin aids in maintaining the proper functioning of the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, lungs, ears and other organs. It aids in vision and is necessary for healthy skin, bones, and teeth.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1): Thiamine helps change glucose into energy or fat, assists with oxygen distribution to the body, aids in digestive functioning, and helps maintain proper functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Choline, Inositol, and B6: These vitamins aid in the production of blood and the use of fats.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): In combination with vitamin A, riboflavin promotes good vision and healthy skin. It also assists in metabolizing proteins and fats at a cellular level.
Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12): This B vitamin aids in the functioning of cells in the nervous system, bone marrow, and intestinal tract, increasing metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Biotin (Vitamin H): This vitamin also aids in metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Symptoms of deficiency include dry, peeling skin and depression.
Folic Acid: Folic Acid is necessary for cellular division and the production of RNA and DNA. It is also needed for the utilization of sugar and amino acids. Fatigue, dizziness, and grayish-brown skin are all symptoms of deficiency.
Niacin: Niacin is important for tissue respiration, brain and nervous system functioning, and healthy skin.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): This powerhouse vitamin is important to the body’s connective tissues and for the development of healthy bones and teeth, cellular formation and maturation, resistance to infection, and an increased ability to heal.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D aids in the absorption, retention, and metabolizing of calcium.
It can be a daunting task to consider the range of nutritional deficiencies and the time required to build these stores back up. That is why, at The Center • A Place of HOPE, we use IV nutrient therapy, which is a way to increase the replacement of deficiencies in a rapid delivery system. Oral replacement of some vitamins and minerals can take months, but replacement just takes a few days with several IV treatments.
In addition, when the digestive system has been impaired, the system of IV delivery allows for the nutrients to bypass the digestive tract, straight into the bloodstream. IV Nutrient Therapy can be used to deliver vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in the amounts needed in a short amount of time.
If you or a loved one is struggling from malnutrition caused by an eating disorder, you may benefit from consulting an eating disorder specialist. Our team of eating disorder professionals at The Center • A Place of HOPE focus on whole-person recovery, and take special care to rebuild the digestive functioning and nutritional balance of those recovering from an eating disorder or pattern of disordered eating. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with an eating disorder specialist today.