What Does Estrogen Have To Do With Binge Eating?

A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that estrogen could help to prevent binge eating behavior by activating serotonin in the brain.

Researchers tested estradiol – a human sex hormone – on mice, discovering that the mere presence of estrogen receptors that influenced serotonin neurons curbed binge eating behavior in the animals.

Hormonal imbalances, then, could explain why binge eating is more of a problem for some women than others.

“Previous data has shown that women who have irregular menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to binge eat, suggesting that hormones in women play a significant role in the development or prevention of the behavior,” said Dr. Yong Xu, assistant professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper.

Estrogen therapy?

Therapeutic estrogen therapies might be a future possibility to treat binge eating disorder, but Xu notes that current practices come with detrimental effects, like high risk for breast cancer.

“We thought, if we can understand where and how the estrogen acts to produce some benefits, maybe that will facilitate the development of an estrogen-based therapy that could be more specific and would just produce the benefits and bypass the side effects, such as breast cancer,” Xu said.

The next step, he noted, is to determine the exact mechanism that allows estrogen to regulate serotonin neurons.

The study was conducted by researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.

Source: Baylor

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.