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Binge eating found to be cured by oestrogen therapy

26 September 2014 18:40

Recently the Daily Mail reported on a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation which claims that binge eating could be cured by correcting levels of the female hormone - oestrogen.

Research update

The study was carried out by Doctor Yong Xu, Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. He said: “Previous data has shown that women who have irregular menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to binge eat. This suggests that hormones in women play a significant role in the development or prevention of the behaviour.” He added that previous data has also found a strong association between oestrogen and binge eating in humans. This latest study explored the relationship between oestrogen levels and binge eating behaviour and revealed that when oestrogen is plentiful binge eating is prevented but when oestrogen levels take a tumble, binge eating becomes apparent.

Oestrogen and cancer risk

It’s very early days for this area of research and it’s also worth noting that Dr Xu’s research is based on clinical data from mice, so there is definitely scope for investigating this link in women. Of course the problem that we face is that supplementing with oestrogen, particularly the synthetic form of oestrogen used in pharmaceutical medicines, is linked with an increased risk of hormone related cancers such as breast cancer. This is of course one of the reasons why women are advised to avoid taking HRT or the contraceptive pill for long periods of time or if they have a history of breast, endometrial or cervical cancer in the family.

While the race is on to invent a drug which helps to address oestrogen balance without increasing the risk of cancer there are still plenty of natural diet and lifestyle changes implement to help your body achieve better hormone balance. One indication that your hormones are out of balance before you get to the menopause is the monthly recurrence of PMS.   

Hormone-balancing diet

You can find plenty of hormone balancing information in my book Premenstrual Syndrome: The Essential Guide but here is a quick summary of tips from page 135.

  •  Drink plenty of water and cut back on caffeine by swapping tea and coffee for herbal alternatives.
  • Aim for the majority of your diet to be made up from fresh natural foods.
  • Follow the principles of the low GI and GL diet to help improve fibre intake and boost complex carbohydrates needed for better blood sugar and hormone balance.
  • Eat oily fish at least 3-4 times a week.
  • Include more vegetarian meals into your weekly meal planning.
  • Include foods rich in zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and E and add in foods that contain hormone balancing phytoestrogens.
  • Find lots of healthy snacks to enjoy as this will help keep you on track. Fresh fruits, vegetable crudities and nuts and seeds are good options.

Read the full Daily Mail article here:


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