Eating behavior and plasma beta-endorphin in bulimia

D. A. Waller, R. S. Kiser, B. W. Hardy, I. Fuchs, L. P. Feigenbaum, R. Uauy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


To study the possible role of plasma beta-endorphin in bulimia, we measured plasma beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in 34 female patients with normal-weight bulimia and 34 normal female controls matched for weight as percent of ideal. Plasma beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in bulimics (mean 59.6 pg/ml; SEM 5.6) was significantly lower (p<0.05) than in controls (mean 79.5 pg/ml; SEM 8.5). Within the bulimic group, plasma beta-endorphin immunoreactivity correlated inversely with severity of bulimic symptomatology as measured by the Eating Attitudes Test Bulimia Subscale (p<0.05). Endorphin level did not correlate with severity of depression or with percent ideal body weight. Abnormalities in opioid metabolism may be implicated in eating disorders and account for the addictive properties of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-23
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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