Multivitamins, Vitamin C, and Niacin for the Prevention and Treatment of Anorexia
Every parent should consider feeding their children multivitamin, vitamin C, and time-release niacin supplements because food does not provide enough of these essential nutrients to optimize the health and intelligence of all children.
Every responsible parent of teenagers must consider feeding their children one multivitamin and at least 1000 mg/day of vitamin C to prevent eating disorders.
Every parent and healthcare provider responsible for the care of teenagers with eating disorders should know that anorexia is caused by the deficiency of several B-complex vitamins and minerals. In addition to getting help from nutritionists and therapists, they should also get help from a physician who specializes in vitamin deficiency diseases. Anorexia is an early symptom of pellagra and beriberi. Read more about thiamine and anorexia here
From my reading, I believe that the standard of care for pellagra is 100-1000 mg/day of niacin, and that the standard of care for beriberi is 50 to 100 mg/day each of vitamins B1 and B2. Vitamin B1 and B2 deficiency is often accompanied by deficiencies in other B-complex vitamins. Many deficiency disease experts recommend supplementation with B-complex in addition to vitamins B1 and B2 to treat beriberi.
When you search on Google for a common disease like anorexia, you get an opportunity to refine the search at the top of the page. One option is “from medical authorities”. I followed many of the top links “from medical authorities” concerning anorexia. I found several discussions of anorexia that did not list vitamin deficiency as a cause. This needs to be fixed. The omission of this information undermines the credibility of the organization.
All of the sites recommend treating anorexia with nutrition and therapy. There is a wide range of advice, however, about vitamin supplements. Some sites recommend no supplements at all. Other sites recommend the addition of a standard multivitamin. Still others recommend the same doses of vitamins that are recommended for the treatment of advanced pellagra and beriberi (see above). Apparently some medical authorities believe that there is a different standard of care for anorexia and for pellagra/beriberi. There is almost nothing to lose by adding high potency vitamin supplements to the treatment plan for eating disorders. If you are helping to care for a family member with anorexia, and your physicians didn’t recommend vitamin supplements, get a second opinion.
High potency vitamin supplements are a fast and effective cure for the loss of muscle mass caused by beriberi and the skin lesions caused by pellagra. They are less effective for treating the psychological defects associated with anorexia. This is why nutrition and therapy are standard treatment, and may explain why vitamin supplements are controversial.
Anorexia is a vitamin deficiency disease. It is normal for healthy teenagers to become insecure about their weight and to experiment with dieting. Dieting without supplementation causes vitamin deficiency, and vitamin deficiency causes anorexia. How many teenagers fall victim to anorexia because their parents and physicians fail to train them to take vitamin supplements?
Dieting is the number one cause of vitamin/mineral deficiency in America. This is a tragedy, because there is no reason to become vitamin/mineral deficient while dieting. Vitamin and mineral supplements contain no calories, and don’t interfere with losing weight. I’m a parent of teenage children, and I know how hard it is to ensure that children eat a healthy diet. For me, I had no trouble at all ensuring that my children take vitamin C, multivitamin, and time-release niacin supplements. I found vitamin supplements and healthy eating to be separate subjects. My children never argued that they felt free to eat more junk food because they got extra vitamins from their supplements.
Anorexia is difficult and expensive to cure. Roughly 5% of the teenage girls in America struggle with eating disorders. Every parent should be afraid that their daughters might fall victim. Vitamin deficiency causes anorexia. Even for healthy children, the benefits of vitamin supplements at or below the government’s safe upper limits far outweigh the risk of any harm. What do parents and physicians of children with eating disorders say when asked why they didn’t insist that the children in their care take vitamin supplements as a preventative measure? For some unlucky children, a one RDA vitamin won’t be enough to prevent eating disorders. What do the parents and physicians of these children say when asked why they didn’t insist that these children take vitamin supplements at the safe upper limit? If, God forbid, my children develop eating disorders, I’ll know it had nothing to do with vitamin deficiency.