Persistence of nutritional deficiencies after short-term weight recovery in adolescents with anorexia nervosa

Authors

  • Josefina Castro,

    Corresponding author
    1. Eating Disorders Unit, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic Universitari Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain
    • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic Universitari, Sabino de Arana, 1, Barcelona 08028, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ramón Deulofeu,

    1. Department of Clinical Chemistry, CDB (Centre de Diagnostic Biomèdic), IDIBAPS (Institute de Investigació Biomèdica August Pi Sunyer), Hospital Clínic Universitari, Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Araceli Gila,

    1. Eating Disorders Unit, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic Universitari Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Josefina Puig,

    1. Eating Disorders Unit, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic Universitari Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Josep Toro

    1. Eating Disorders Unit, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clínic Universitari Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Objectives

To study nutritional abnormalities in adolescent anorexia nervosa and to establish whether certain abnormalities persist after short-term refeeding.

Method

Sixty-one patients (10–19 years old) admitted to a reference unit for eating disorders between 1999 and 2000 with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa were evaluated at admission and at discharge. A range of biochemical, nutritional, and hormonal parameters were determined.

Results

At admission, no protein or lipid deficiencies were found, although many patients presented with hormonal abnormalities and red blood cell folate and zinc deficiencies. Hormonal abnormalities reverted significantly (p < .000) after renutrition. There were decreases in erythrocytes and in levels of hemoglobin (p < .000) and folic acid (p < .05). Red blood cell folate and zinc increased but did not reach normal levels.

Conclusions

In a large proportion of adolescent anorexic patients, supplementation of folic acid and zinc is recommended although protein or hormonal replacement does not seem to be necessary. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 169–178, 2004.

Ancillary