Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa

Margaret Altemus, Marion Hetherington, Bingham Kennedy, Julio Licinio, Philip W. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Basal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels were evaluated in 18 women with bulimia nervosa during a period of active bingeing and vomiting and again after 7 weeks of abstinence from these behaviors and compared to measures in 27 control women. In 10 of the patients and 11 of the controls, the TSH nocturnal surge was calculated from hourly TSH measurements obtained in the afternoon from 1500 to 1900h and in the night from 2300 to 0400h. During the bingeing phase of the illness patients had lower total triiodothyronine (T3) values than controls (p <.001). After 7 weeks without binge eating or purging, patients had lower T3, total thyroxine (T4), free triiodothyronine, free thyroxine (FT4), reverse triiodothyronine and thyroid-binding globulin (TBG) values compared to controls (p <.01) and significant reductions in T3, T4, FT4 and TBG compared to themselves in the active phase of the illness (p <.02). The reduction in thyroid hormone levels was not due to a reduction in the nocturnal thyrotropin surge, since surge values did not differ between normals and patients at either phase of the illness. Bulimics in the bingeing phase of the illness showed a positive correlation between caloric intake and TSH values (p <.01), suggesting that food bingeing may stimulate thyroid activity. In sum, these results show a substantial reduction in thyroid hormone levels after 7 weeks of abstinence from bingeing and vomiting behaviors.

LanguageEnglish
Pages249-261
Number of pages13
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

Keywords

  • Binge eating
  • Bulimia
  • TSH
  • TSH surge
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Altemus, M., Hetherington, M., Kennedy, B., Licinio, J., & Gold, P. W. (1996). Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 21(3), 249-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4530(96)00002-9
Altemus, Margaret ; Hetherington, Marion ; Kennedy, Bingham ; Licinio, Julio ; Gold, Philip W. / Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa. In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1996 ; Vol. 21, No. 3. pp. 249-261.
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Altemus, M, Hetherington, M, Kennedy, B, Licinio, J & Gold, PW 1996, 'Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa', Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 249-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4530(96)00002-9

Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa. / Altemus, Margaret; Hetherington, Marion; Kennedy, Bingham; Licinio, Julio; Gold, Philip W.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 01.01.1996, p. 249-261.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Hetherington, Marion

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Altemus M, Hetherington M, Kennedy B, Licinio J, Gold PW. Thyroid function in bulimia nervosa. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1996 Jan 1;21(3):249-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4530(96)00002-9