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.
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.