You are on page 1of 663
ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE FOR ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE FOR EVERYONE Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, and Andrew W. Saul, PhD PURIEATONS ME, ‘The information contained in this book is based upon the research and personal and pro- fessional experiences of the authors. It is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other healthcare provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should be done under the direction of a healthcare professional. The publisher does not advocate the use of any particular healthcare protocol but believes the information in this book should be available to the public. The publisher and authors are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of the suggestions, preparations, or procedures discussed in this book, Should the reader have any questions concerning the appropriateness of any procedures or preparation mentioned, the authors and the publisher strongly suggest consulting a professional healthcare advisor. Basic Health Publications, Inc. 28812 Top of the World Drive Laguna Beach, CA 92651 949-715-7327 * www Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hoffer, Abram Orthomolecular medicine for everyone : megavitamin therapeutics for families and physicians / Abram Hoffer and Andrew W. Saul. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-59120-226-4 1, Orthomolecular therapy—Popnlar works, 1, Saul, Andrew W, I1,Title, RM235.5.H638 2008 615.5'3—de22 2008028097 Copyright © 2008 Abram Hoffer and Andrew W. Saul All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying. recording, or other= wise, without the prior written consent of the copyright owner, Edior: John Anderson “Typesetting/Book design: Gary A. Rosenberg Cover design: Mike Stromberg Printed in the United States of America 0987654321 Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Acknowledgments Introduction Orthomolecular Medicine What Is Orthomolecular Medicine? The Use of Food Supplements Niacin (Vitamin B3) Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Vitamin E The Other B Vitamins and Vitamin A Vitamin D Other Important Nutrients Minerals Treatments for Specific Ailments Gastrointestinal Disorders Cardiovascular Disease Arthritis Cancer The Aging Brain Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders Epilepsy and Huntington’s Disease Allergies, Infections, Toxic Reactions, Trauma. Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis Skin Problems Conclusion Finding Reliable Information on Orthomole- cular Medicine OTHER WORKS BY THE AUTHORS References About the Authors Back Cover Material This book is respectfully dedicated to the memories of Drs. Humphry Osmond and Hugh Riordan. Acknowledgments The list of women and men, boys and girls, doctors, scientists, and patients is simply too great to be recorded. Whatever I have found useful in the practice of orthomolecular medicine has been driven into me by all these supporters and especially by the thousands of patients who allowed me to heal them by using nutrients and nutrition, with the fantastic advantage that I could follow the golden rule of medicine, “First, do no harm.” But I must thank Linus Pauling, double Noble Prize winner, for creating the word orthomolecular and providing the scientific explanation for why some nutrients are needed in large doses. I also thank Premier Tommy Douglas, of Saskatchewan, Canada, without whose magnificent support there would have been no research leading to the development of orthomolecular medicine. —Abram Hoffer My personal thanks to Colleen Donaldson, Helen F. Saul, John I. Mosher, Richard Bennett, and Nancy Watson Dean. I add a special thank-you to my ever-healthy cadre of readers of my website. I would also like to thank Robert Sarver, Stephen H. Brown, and Robert McHeffey for their contributions to the Orthomolecular Medicine News _ Service's educational press releases, a number of which have been incorporated into this book. —Andrew W. Saul Introduction The basis for effective medical practice is clinical nutrition, also known as orthomolecular nutrition or orthomolecular medicine. This book, originally titled Orthomolecular Medicine for Physicians, was first published in 1989 and has been out of print for some time. Major advances have been made in the past two decades. We have updated, expanded, and renamed it Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone because interest in nutritional medicine, and how to use it properly, has increased at an enormous pace among the general public. At least half of any population surveyed in North America is already taking supplemental vitamins in larger than standard dietary doses. Not that many years ago, most media coverage of orthomolecular medicine was negative. This has begun to change. Although pharmaceutical advertising dollars favor a bias that still exists in many newspapers, magazines, television networks, and even medical journals, the new orthomolecular medicine of nutrition is now more often reported in a very positive sense. In our opinion, the public wants and needs this information, perhaps all the more so when they cannot get it from their doctors. Indeed, when faced with material such as that contained in this book, many people ask, “If vitamin therapy is so effective, how come my doctor doesn’t use it? “The corollary question from a physician might be, “If vitamin therapy is so effective, how come my medical school didn’t teach it?” Knowledge is clear only if known. The interesting history of nutritional therapeutics has been almost completely overlooked by those who prepare the curricula of medical schools, colleges, and public schools. In our opinion, selective editing and selective funding results in educational bias and effective censorship. Those skeptical of such a statement may wish to try searching for information about pioneering orthomolecular nutrition physicians of the 1930s through 1950s: the extraordinarily successful clinical work of Drs. Frederick R. Klenner, Max Gerson, William J. McCormick, and Wilfrid and Evan Shute is, to this day, absent from medical textbooks. The U.S. National Library of Medicine does not even deign to index the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, even though it is peer-reviewed and has been published continually for over forty years. Orthomolecular psychiatry began soon after the two forms of vitamin B3 were identified as niacin and niacinamide back in 1938. These chemicals were merely bits of organic chemistry until their nutritional usefulness as antipellagra factors was identified. Following this, clinical nutritionists began to treat a wide variety of psychiatric diseases with doses then considered very large—that is, up to 1 gram (1,000mg) per day. Before 1950, a small number of reports showed that patients with depression, senile or presenile deterioration, or with some toxic psychoses recovered when given this vitamin. By 1949, Dr. William Kaufman had published two books summarizing his studies on arthritis, Common Forms of Niacinamide Deficiency Disease: Aniacinamidosis and Common Forms of Joint Dysfunction, Its Incidence and Treatment. These were very careful, clinically _ controlled experiments on many hundreds of arthritics, in which he showed that most of the patients given the vitamin became normal, or so much better that they were no longer seriously handicapped. But all these reports were ignored, probably because, in the new era of wonder drugs, medical schools forgot about nutrition, and what little teaching had been available virtually disappeared from their curricula. Since then, medical interest in nutrition has been quiescent or sporadic. Over the past decades, there is evidence that the public is showing consistently more interest in clinical nutrition than physicians. There has been an explosion of information in several areas, which we have sought to address in this new edition. There is more information about the treatment of schizophrenia using megavitamin doses of niacin (vitamin B3). Niacin has also shown a beneficial effect in elevating high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and decreasing the low-density (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. This is the only substance known that has these remarkable properties. The last twenty years has seen a similar deepening of nutritional knowledge for numerous nutrients. Despite the common protestation that there are no studies showing that high-dose nutrition works, there are in fact thousands and thousands of clinical studies that do just that. While we cite a representative number, readers are encouraged to search further using the online bibliographies posted at and other orthomolecular websites listed in the Appendix. Such a search will show that the vast medical literature on nutrition is often diffuse and hard to access. We seek to remedy that situation by writing this book. Our title, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone, promises to provide physicians and the general public with a single volume compiling the information they most need to employ orthomolecular medicine. This book contains descriptions of how orthomolecular medicine is used to treat diseases of the various organ systems, such as_ the psychoses, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. This book is not a replacement for texts dealing with physiology, pathology, and biochemistry. Ideally, it is to be used in conjunction with the standard core of established medical knowledge already available elsewhere. Nor is orthomolecular treatment a complete replacement for standard treatment. A proportion of patients will require orthodox treatment, a proportion will do much better on orthomolecular treatment, and the rest will need a commonsense blend of both. Anyone who wishes to become familiar with orthomolecular medicine may do so by simply beginning with a whole foods, sugar-free diet and a few vitamins. Even with this simple approach, people report success. Doctors who have actually used this treatment are so persuaded by the results that they have become orthomolecular physicians. We have prepared this book for practitioners and for the increasingly interested public as well. Part One looks at the basic principles of orthomolecular nutrition and provides detailed guidance for various nutrients. Part Two examines orthomolecular medicine’s approach to a number of specific disease conditions. What you will discover is that nutritional treatment is effective, free of side effects, and cheap. What you may first have to overcome is an old assumption that anything that is cheap and safe cannot possibly be effective. Freed of that assumption, health awaits you. 1 Orthomolecular Medi- cine 1 What Is Orthomolecular Medicine? The basis for health is good nutrition. When malnutrition or starvation is present, it is impossible to respond effectively to any medical treatment. Orthomolecular, the word coined by Linus Pauling in 1968, describes a method that uses nutrients and normal (“ortho”) constituents of the body in optimum amounts as the main treatment.[1] Orthomolecular physicians use all modern treatments, including drugs, surgery, and physical and psychological methods, when these are appropriate. For example, when antidepres- sants or tranquilizers are needed, they are used in conjunction with the nutrients and nutrition. The drugs are used to gain rapid control over undesirable or disabling symptoms and are slowly withdrawn once the patient begins to respond to orthomolecular treatment. Surgeons using nutrition have found that their patients respond more quickly after surgery and suffer fewer undesirable reactions. Since all people are healthier when they eat food only (avoiding junk and artifact), they can resist disease and injury more effectively when they are healthier due to optimum nutrition. Orthomolecular nutrition, in contrast to “eat the food groups” nutrition, emphasizes the use of supplemental vitamins, minerals, and other accessory factors in amounts that are higher than those recommended by the government- sponsored “dietary allowances.” Furthermore, orthomolecular nutrition is employed to treat illnesses that are not considered traditional deficiency diseases. Two examples would be using tens of thousands of milligrams of intravenous vitamin C to fight cancer or using several thousand milligrams of niacin per day to treat psychosis. The major emphasis on nutrition and nutrients sets orthomolecular physicians apart from other physicians, who seldom show any interest in the nutritional condition of their patients and are generally resistant and even hostile to the use of vitamins and minerals. These physicians depend almost entirely on drugs, surgery, and radiation. Nonmedical professionals such as psychologists and nutritionists can advise patients about nutrition. Even though they are not allowed to practice medicine (i.e., prescribe drugs), they are able to help many persons regain their health. But the majority of orthomolecular practitioners are physicians. Few medical schools provide their students with a useful understanding of the importance of nutrition in generating disease and how to correct diet when they treat patients. Physicians have abdicated their responsibility in favor of nutritionists (who are usually biochemists) and dietitians. Very few clinical nutritionists practice in hospitals, so it is not surprising that hospitals are so naive about nutrition and that most of their patients suffer more from malnutrition on discharge than they do on admission. Medical students pay little attention to nonclinical nutritionists. It is clear to many of them that nutrition must be unimportant in the hierarchy of medical specialties and that it plays no role in medical practice. But orthomolecular physicians have adopted nutrition as a main component of any medical, surgical, or psychiatric treatment. THE PRINCIPLE OF INDIVIDUALITY Every division of medicine is bolstered by a set of principles based upon theoretical ideas and practical experience in dealing with patients. One of these principles in orthomolecular medicine is individuality—the fact that every person is unique and has different nutrient requirements and responds differently to treatment. Knowledge of individuality is ubiquitous from the time an infant first recognizes its mother as different from other women. The facts of physical and anatomical differences are not in dispute. We each have a particular shape, form, color, personality, and life history. The use of names recognizes that fact and the importance of individuality. Physicians are equally aware of anatomical individuality but are less aware that there are wide ranges of need for drugs and even more variation in optimum vitamin requirements. Surgeons hope that an appendix that must be removed is where it is supposed to be, but good surgeons are not surprised when it is not. Physicians know a few patients are eased of their depression with 25 milligrams (mg) of a standard antidepressant, while some require 10 times as_ much. Nutritionists know nutrient requirements vary and that each person has a unique need for proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and micronutrients, but nearly every non-orthomolecular professional grossly underestimates the wide range of variation. Roger Williams was one of the pioneer researchers in this area, providing a persuasive summary of the vast data for the biochemical uniqueness of people in 1956.[2] When any population is examined for any one attribute, such as height, weight, shape, or color, there is a range in the measurements. Height varies from under two feet in infants to over seven in a few adults. Most male adults range between four-and-a-half and six feet tall. When height is plotted against the number of people at that height, one has drawn a frequency distribution curve. Many more men will have a height of five-and-a-half feet than five or six feet. To give someone a simple estimate of the height of the population, we would estimate the average height and also the degree of deviation from it by the standard deviation. This statistic has been so arranged that the mean value plus or minus two standard deviations from this mean will account for about 95 percent of the population. About 5 percent of any group will vary beyond this range for biological variables in general. Normally, the curve looks like a bell. The bell-shaped distribution curve applies to other measures, such as daily need for protein and for vitamins or minerals, but for each nutrient the curve will have a different shape. It may be short and broad or narrow, or it may not be bell-shaped. But for each one, at least 2.5 percent will require more than the rest of the population (the 97.5 percent). We can only surmise why this is the case, as there has been little interest in this phenomenon. In regard to nutrients, there may be a problem with absorption in the intestine. Thus, with pernicious anemia, specific areas in the gut that normally absorb vitamin B12 are lacking, or after the vitamin is absorbed it may not be combined efficiently into its coenzyme, or it may be wasted or held too tenaciously by some organ systems, thus depriving other parts of the body. Orthomolecular physicians deal with patients whose needs for nutrients lie beyond the usual distribution. These patients require up to a thousand times as much of certain nutrients. For practicing with this principle, orthomolecular physicians are subjected to criticism by physicians who are not aware of these matters and who refuse to believe that a number of chronic diseases are present because these extraordinary nutrient needs are not met.