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7. The Carotenoids and Vitamin A

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 7

THE CAROTENOIDS AND VITAMIN A

Most studies regarding the carotenoid beta-carotene and cancer found a relationship between the two. The Finnish Antioxidant and Lung Cancer Study appeared to show an increase in the incidence of lung cancer when low levels of beta-carotene were present. But interestingly, this is not what the dozens of authors of this study concluded. They found that beta-carotene did not decrease the incidence of lung cancer; on the contrary, there was a statistically insignificant increase among the beta-carotene group. It is, therefore, very important to know exactly the method used in this study.

The study used a large population of male smokers ages fifty to sixty-nine who were followed for five to eight years. One group was given the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol. Another group was given 20 mg of beta-carotene, a third (control) group was on placebo, and the fourth group received both antioxidants. All the subjects had smoked five or more cigarettes daily for over thirty-five years. However, the beta-carotene group smoked one year more than the control group. How significant is one more year of heavy smoking for increasing the number of advanced lung cancers? The authors do not discuss this.

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2. The Start of Orthomolecular Medicine

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 2

THE START OF ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE

Leading gas companies here (New York) say the Edison’s invention has no appreciable effect on gas stocks in this city, and if there is anything of practical value in it, a slight reduction in price may be caused, but it cannot supersede gas for general lighting purposes. They say they have been kept well informed concerning all the recent discoveries in electricity both here and in Europe, and are very skeptical about the promised electrical millennium which is to abolish gas.

—December 24, 1879, from the Globe and Mail (Toronto, October 21, 2003)

It is unfortunately the case that traditional medicine follows other branches of science and invention in ignoring or scorning many important discoveries until long after their initial introduction. In 1968, Linus Pauling published his paper, “Orthomolecular Psychiatry, in Science,” and provided a scientific, theoretical, and practical basis for the concepts of orthomolecular medicine. He defined orthomolecular medicine “for the preservation of good health and the treatment of disease by varying the concentrations in the body of substances that are normally present in the body and are required for health.” This definition referred to a new concept, or paradigm, in medicine with respect to the use of supplements for treating disease. The older and still highly respected paradigm is called “vitamins as prevention.” This concept supports the use of very small doses of a few vitamins needed to prevent the occurrence of a few deficiency diseases such as pellagra. With the vitamins-as-prevention paradigm, vitamin supplements are not needed except for preventing these diseases, and megadoses are never required.

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8. Folic Acid (Folate)

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 8

FOLIC ACID (FOLATE)

Folic acid was one of the less interesting vitamins until Dr. Smithells in Scotland showed that giving pregnant women folic acid at the beginning of their pregnancy substantially decreased the incidence of neural tube defects (NTD). The possibility that folic acid was involved in these defects was first suggested in 1964. Dr. R.W. Smithells showed that giving pregnant women extra folic acid decreased the incidence of NTDs in 1989. Before that, he had measured the red blood cell folate and white blood cell vitamin C levels of mothers who had babies with NTDs, and found that they were low in both nutrients. It was thus known since 1989 that a multivitamin preparation containing folic acid would decrease the number of babies with neural tube defects. This finding should have been greeted with enthusiasm, but it was not.

The objection to Smithells’ work arose from the pervasive belief that folic acid was dangerous if patients had pernicious anemia. This is why higher dose folic acid pills must be given as prescriptions. Hunter wrote:

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14. Clinical Results of Orthomolecular Treatment

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 14

CLINICAL RESULTS OF ORTHOMOLECULAR TREATMENT

In this chapter, I will describe the outcome of treatment of a few of the more important types of cancer and a few case histories from each group to illustrate the outcome of treatment. We have to take into account that the patients who came to see me were self-selected and very highly motivated when we consider the results of the treatment. They had to be motivated, to escape from the box of only standard treatment from practitioners who are members of the chemotherapy and radiation faith. It took exceptional courage and determination to face their doctors and their oncologists and arrange to be referred.

Most of the patients were terminal, or they had been informed that there was nothing more that could be done and that there was no hope except for palliative treatment. This removal of hope prompted the break from classical medicine. These results experienced by these patients cannot be compared with the whole universe of cancer patients with similar types of tumors. They can be compared to my patients who could not follow my program for at least two months. I had concluded that a fair test of the program would demand at least two months of treatment, in the same way that one chemotherapy session would not be considered a fair test of chemotherapy if eight treatments were required. The patients who did break out of the box of traditional medicine’s prognosis for them were rewarded by a positive attitude, by support, by attention to diet, by the use of nutrients, and by an improved quality of life.

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9. Vitamin D

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 9

VITAMIN D

Without enough vitamin D3 (the biologically active form of vitamin D), we get rickets. But rickets should have disappeared long ago. We know that this vitamin is made in the skin on exposure to ultraviolet light, and that it is readily available in fish liver oils, particularly in halibut liver oil and in smaller concentrations in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil given to children, in spite of its bad taste, was a special spring event for many families. This seems to have vanished as a spring habit, but many of my patients still remember how their mothers forced them to take the foul-tasting substance.

Rickets

A nutritional disease caused by not getting enough vitamin D. This interferes with the ability of the body to absorb calcium and causes softening and deformation of the bones.

Rickets was caused by ignorance then, and it’s coming back again, due to ignorance of a different kind. This time, it is an iatrogenic disease caused by advice from the medical profession, especially by dermatologists. They have become extremely fearful of ultraviolet radiation as a cause of skin cancer, specifically the melanomas. This fear, and their advice to stay out of the sun, to use sun screens, and to keep their children covered at all times has had the unintended consequence that rickets is once more becoming a public health problem. Canadian doctors are seeing more cases of childhood rickets, and apparently this number is increasing each year. In the past two years, there have been eighty-four reported cases of rickets in Canada. Three generations ago this disease was so rare that rickets was considered a medical curiosity. Once considered an old disease of the nineteenth century, when children were malnourished or forced to work in dark mines and factories, rickets is again being seen in Great Britain, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Canadian pediatricians are recommending that vitamin D supplements be used in addition to what is present in breast milk and in other foods. Perhaps the pediatricians should talk more to the dermatologists.

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