Decreased food intake, a cyclic pattern of eating, and weight loss are major manifestations of zinc deficiency. In this study, zinc status was evaluated in 62 patients with bulimia and 24 patients with anorexia nervosa. Forty percent of patients with bulimia and 54% of those with anorexia nervosa had biochemical evidence of zinc deficiency. The authors suggest that for a variety of reasons, such as lower dietary intake of zinc, impaired zinc absorption, vomiting, diarrhea, and binging on low-zinc foods, patients with eating disorders may develop zinc deficiency. This acquired zinc deficiency could then add to the chronicity of altered eating behavior in those patients.