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Constant Hunger, Always Hungry



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Constant Hunger, Always Hungry
By Brian Benjamin Carter,
MSci, LAc

Brian is an author of international renown and public speaker. He is currently writing his book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing. Brian practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in sunny San Diego, California.

Question: I cannot understand why I am constantly hungry even after eating.

- Douglas

There are a number of possible causes for incessant hunger, and you'll have to see an integrative medical practitioner to differentiate which is operative in your case. What I mean by integrative is someone who knows both the western causes and pathomechanisms, and the Chinese medicine causes and pathomechanisms. Or, you can work with a western doc and a Chinese medicine practitioner (acupuncturist/herbalist).

Constant Hunger in Western Medicine

From a neuroendocrine perspective, the function of the hypothalamus (part of your brain) is key in appropriate hunger... its "satiety centers" (where signals that you are satiated, satisfied with what you've eaten) can turn off the appetite when you've eaten enough.

Also, there can be functional stomach issues, or perhaps even too much stomach acid.

Constant Hunger in Chinese Medicine

From a Chinese medicine perspective, we have a disease called "Increased (Food) Intake with Rapid Hungering" (shan shi yi ji). Two sub-patterns can be involved:

  1. Exuberant Stomach Fire: This comes with symptoms of thirst, bad breath, dry throat and mouth, and constipation. It's caused by stress; dry, hot, spicy, or fried food; or alcohol.
  2. Yang Ming Blood Amassment: This comes with symptoms of fever without cold sensitivity, dry mouth and throat without desire to swallow water, impaired memory, easy defecation of hard dark stool, and dark lips and facial complexion. It's the result of long term stagnation (stress, trauma, inactivity) combined with an external heat pathogen (viruses, bacteria, etc.)

As I said, to get a clear diagnosis, see a professional- for help with the Chinese medicine and appropriate herbs and foods, see an acupuncturist/herbalist.


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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor