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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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6. Vitamin E

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 6

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E includes the tocopherols, of which d-alpha tocopherol succinate has the most anticancer properties. It is the major lipid-soluble antioxidant, protecting the polyunsaturated fatty acids in membranes against peroxidation—the process by which fatty acids are oxidized through the action of an enzyme called peroxidase. The usual intake is about 12 IU (international units) daily. I have patients who take 800 IU daily. Vitamin E destroys nitrites, which have been shown to increase the incidence of cancer. It protects the red blood cells in lungs against the toxic effect of ozone, and from hydroxyl radical toxicity. K.N. Prasad (1999) reported that alpha tocopherol succinate induced differentiation in melanoma cells and inhibited the growth of neuroblastoma, rat glioma, and human prostate and melanoma cells.

Differentiation

The process of changes by which cells become specialized in form and function. It is the degree to which a tumor resembles normal tissue. Well-differentiated tumors resemble normal tissue; the closer the resemblance, the better the prognosis.

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3. Nutrition, Diet, and Vitamins in the Orthomolecular Program

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 3

NUTRITION, DIET, AND VITAMINS IN THE ORTHOMOLECULAR PROGRAM

Orthomolecular medicine is often labeled as an alternative or complementary medical practice by traditional practitioners. Such labeling attempts to ignore the fact that orthomolecular medicine was established by respected, experienced research scientists, and is recognized and practiced by many medical doctors who have seen the value of its theories. Orthomolecular medicine does not undermine current medical practices; it provides additional preventive and treatment options to patients based on sound nutritional and biological principles. The basis of these principles is founded on nutrition, diet, and the positive intake of supplements that can assist the body in fighting disease. This chapter describes the importance of these nutritional elements, and how vitamins and minerals can help combat diseases such as cancer.

The Importance of Nutrition and Diet

All organisms live in a very intimate relationship with their environment. The external environment provides the food supply and nutrients essential for life, directly influencing the organism’s internal environment and health. This is a complex interrelationship that is subject to continual fluctuations. Over evolutionary time, all species have had to adapt their internal systems to survive these external changes and maintain health. Of all the external influences, there is nothing more important than good nutrition.

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13. The Therapeutic Program

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 13

THE THERAPEUTIC PROGRAM

We can no longer ignore the extensive data that is already available in the medical literature regarding the orthomolecular therapy and the value of vitamins in cancer treatment. This data contains conclusions of independent physicians with no ties to the drug industry. They have not sought fame and fortune by their studies, and their only goal was to improve the results of treatment for their patients. They did not have the support of the medical research establishment, or the large grants needed by institutions before they perform clinical studies. They didn’t do prospective randomized controlled experiments because they didn’t have the resources, financial or otherwise. But their clinical data is every bit as strong, perhaps much stronger, than the data accepted by the medical community from the early noncontrolled studies on the modern tranquilizers when they first came into use between 1950 and 1960. By the end of 1960, we knew that these powerful drugs were active. The controlled experiments that followed simply confirmed what was already general knowledge. Why were these uncontrolled studies accepted while the studies on vitamins are ignored? The difference is that the drug companies poured millions into promoting their patented tranquilizer compounds, and no one is doing the same for orthomolecular treatment of cancer, because vitamins can’t be patented.

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11. Selenium

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 11

SELENIUM

It is difficult to establish strong correlations between any diseases and any one nutrient when a large number of nutrient factors are involved. H.D. Foster (1992) in his excellent review concluded that the evidence for a negative correlation between selenium intake and the incidence of cancer was strong. In one twenty-seven-country survey, breast cancer mortality correlated strongly and negatively with dietary selenium. However, case control studies yield conflicting data. Some workers find no difference in blood selenium levels between breast cancer cases and controls, while others find they are low in the cancer cases. Prospective studies also yield mixed data. One study on 4,480 subjects, of whom 111 developed cancer, showed a significant but small decrease in selenium in the patients who developed cancer.

More recent reviews confirmed Foster’s conclusion. A study by Cornell University and University of Arizona showed that patients taking selenium had a 41 percent less chance of getting cancer compared with those taking a placebo. The treated group experienced 18 percent less mortality. Wahrendorf, Munoz, and Lu (1988) supplemented the diet of people living in a high-risk area in China for esophageal cancer. They found that at the end of the trial, individuals who showed large increases in retinol, riboflavin, and zinc blood levels were more likely to have normal esophagus tissues when they were microscopically studied. Yu, Mao, Xiao, et al. (1990) gave 300 micrograms of selenium to forty healthy miners in a double-blind experiment to test its safety. They concluded that this use of selenium was safe and effective in humans with low selenium status, and that selenium protected lymphocytes against DNA damage. Cancer Research announced on June 15, 2003, that some genes were related to incidence of breast cancer and that these genes were less responsive to selenium stimulation. Over a hundred animal and dozens of epidemiological studies linked high selenium state with decreased risk of cancer. On February 21, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration announced the validity of two health claims: (1) selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers, and (2) selenium may produce anti-carcinogenic effects in the body.

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