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Compulsive Overeating: Is It All in Your Head?

by Sean Croxton

My exploration into the human brain continues.

Last night I was hanging out in my bathtub (yeah, I do that once in a while) reading a book called Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. You can imagine how geeked out I was to learn that humans are only species with the ability to prospect. In other words, we can look forward in time and consider the future. Which means that we do whatever the heck we can do to control the future. We believe that this sense of control makes us happy. And when we lose this control, we freak out. I’m sure you can relate.

Why is prospection exclusive to humans. Well, it’s because we have ginormous frontal lobes in our brains. In fact, a frontal lobotomy — or chemical/mechanical destruction of the frontal lobe — would not affect you much. The only major side effect of such a procedure would be the inability to think into the future. The ability to prospect is gone.

I found this interesting because a lobotomy was, at one time, a common and effective treatment for anxiety. What do people typically feel anxious about? The future!

No frontal lobe, no future. Anxiety gone!

Trippy, huh?

Anyway, our last video was about impulsive overeating and its connection to decreased activity of the prefrontal cortex, the front one-third of the brain responsible for planning.

Today, we’re discussing another type of overeater called the compulsive overeater. This individual may have increased activity in a part of the brain located deep within the frontal lobe called the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG). Increased activity in the ACG may be due to low levels of brain serotonin.

Dr. Daniel Amen and I discussed this type of overeating in THIS PODCAST a couple weeks ago.

Proven and natural ways of increasing brain serotonin are supplementing with 5-HTP, l-tryptophan, or St. John’s Wort, as well as using the brain-boosting spice saffron.

But before you head out to the local supplement store to grab some 5-HTP, be sure to check out THIS PODCAST with Dr. Daniel Kalish.

According to Dr. Kalish, serotonin and dopamine are antagonistic — when one goes up, the other goes down. This can cause a problem down the road.

Load up on information, and then decide what is best for you!

And enjoy today’s video.

I’m out!

Sean Croxton
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss
Host, The Paleo Summit

Comments

comments

5 thoughts on “Compulsive Overeating: Is It All in Your Head?

  1. Dr. Mike Tremba

    This is great information, Sean.

    Many times, it’s easy to oversimplify eating disorders as either purely behavioral OR purely physiological, ignoring any overlap between the two (i.e., “break the addiction to sugar and you’ll break the physiologic dependance”, or “change your behavior to eat well for 21 days, and it will become a new habit”).

    What you present reiterates the strong relationship between behavioral modification and the physiological overlap as well.

    Looks fascinating, and hits close to home (especially with your reference of difficulty changing gears :)

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Razwell

    Hi Sean

    Yes.

    Feeding behavior is definitely extremely complex. The robust involuntary physiological system that regulates our body weight and feeding behavior needs further study etc.

    Take care,

    Raz

  3. tina

    hi sean; i thought on the podcast dr kalish said “5HTP and Tyrosine”? Your blog above says …”Proven and natural ways of increasing brain serotonin are supplementing with 5-HTP, l-tryptophan…” Can u pls clarify? Thx. Luv UGW!

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