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We studied the effect of acute tryptophan (TRP) depletion in a group of eight abstinent bulimic (BN) subjects and in 12 healthy female controls. Despite being free of episodes of binge-eating and vomiting for a prolonged period, the abstinent BN subjects still appeared to practice dietary restrain as judged by their food intake in a test meal. In addition, their plasma TRP concentrations were significantly lower than those of the controls. Administration of a TRP-free amino acid load (52 g) significantly lowered plasma total and free TRP. However, compared to a balanced amino acid load, this procedure did not have significant effects on mood, appetite or food intake in either the abstinent BN subjects or the healthy controls.


Journal article


Psychol Med

Publication Date





995 - 1001


Adult, Bulimia, Depressive Disorder, Eating, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Pilot Projects, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Tryptophan