Endocrinopathies of eating disorders

Nehama Zuckerman-Levin, Yael Latzer, Patricia E. Dunne, Ze’ev Hochberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The rise of eating disorders (EDs) globally and increase in cases reported among children, underscore the urgent need for a clearer understanding of the medical consequences of these disorders. Medical abnormalities in EDs engage the endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract, adipose tissue and sympathetic nervous system. Patients with EDs demonstrate endocrine dysregulation, which involves the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis with hypercortisolemia, the Growth Hormone- Insulin-Like Growth Factor (GH-IGF) axis through its effect on growth and bone health, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis through delayed puberty or hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism and amenorrhea. In most cases of emaciated patients, as in cases of anorexia nervosa, these features are related to malnutrition, weight loss, and adaptation to starvation. However, in other cases, such as in bulimia nervosa, these abnormalities exist in patients with stable weight. Patients with EDs also evidence abnormalities of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis as well as osmoregulation disturbances. Nutritional rehabilitation and weight gain remain the most effective options for restoring the endocrine complex, with overall ED treatment outcome enhanced by early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary treatment approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBio-Psycho-Social Contributions to Understanding Eating Disorders
EditorsY. Latzer, D. Stein
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319327426
ISBN (Print)9783319327402
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Adolescence
  • Eating disorders
  • Euthyroid sick syndrome
  • GH-IGF axis
  • Hypercortisolemia
  • Hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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