Mood and Food Links

I’m still curious why my brain and body seem at odds so often. Here’s some interesting info I found on why we feel hunger and how that mechanism could be damaged.

CCK: When you eat, food enters and fills your stomach and then travels to the intestinal tract. As the food is digested and the body’s cells are fed, a chemical called cholecystokinin (CCK) is released, turning on feelings of fullness and turning off the appetite.

  • Researchers think that certain conditions, such as anorexia and bulimia, may affect many appetite-control body chemicals, including CCK. In bulimics, researchers think that either the CCK mechanism doesn’t work properly or the body’s chemical systems become so desensitized that the person eats huge quantities of food quicker than the brain is able to signal satisfaction and fullness.

    The opposite effect may occur in anorexics — the CCK mechanism is so oversensitized that they feel full after only a few bites of food. When bulimics and anorexics start eating normally, their CCK systems usually normalize.”

And then I found out more about CCK.

Page 317 was very interesting. ”

Because bulimia nervosa could be characterized, in part, as one of dysregulated satiety, the finding seemed to be consistent with the theory that the central CCK function in bulimia nervosa was abnormal, paralleling studies indicating that the peripheral CCK-8 function was abnormal (30). Interestingly, the CCK-8 concentrations in the subjects in this CSF study did not correlate with any of the core symptoms of the eating disorder (e.g., binge frequency or intensity, purging), but did correlate with measures of anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, and anger/hostility. This raised the pos- sibifity that the CSF abnormalities of CCK-8S observed in
bulimics might be associated more with abnormal levels of anxiety than with core symptoms of eating disorder in this patient sample.”

It found a correlation between CCK levels in patients with panic, anxiety and/or bulimia or binge without purging. I have to do more reading now, but I think this is a fascinating link to why food may comfort us when anxious. CCK is a regulating hormone, not a neurotransmitter. I have always known that most SSRIs, although helpful, are too singular in treating symptoms. Our bodies are way to complicated to single out one chemical.

So I’m now wondering if the constant stress of childhood abuse damaged this system as well? And more importantly, could I re-regulate these hormones and heal this system somehow? Feeling hopeful again!






3 thoughts on “Mood and Food Links

  1. Fascinating! I think the word “desensitized” is a big clue here. We were miswired, becoming simultaneously hypervigilant and dissociated. Relaxation and structured self-care? I tend to not eat enough, everything upsets my stomach, when I’m stressed out. I nibble on things, usually not great choices, either. I have to be mindful and force myself to prepare good go-to things. This morning I prepped a huge bowl of pasta salad with feta, fresh herbs and veg from the garden. I just had some and I’m a little less weary. Just a tad.

  2. Interesting possibilities and very hopeful. I understand about building boundaries, so wouldn’t re-regulating simply be building a healthy boundary between me and food?

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