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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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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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10. Essential Fatty Acids

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 10

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

The connection between essential fatty acids and cancer has been described in a huge number of published studies. One of the leaders in this field, Dr. David Horrobin, was also a leader in having evening primrose oil, and later fish oils, examined clinically both for prevention and treatment of cancer. I did not add essential oils to my program for many years except for flaxseed oil, following the work of Dr. Johanna Budwig, in Europe, who considered it a major part of her treatment for cancer.

Essential Fatty Acids and Cancer

The relationship between essential fatty acids and cancer is not clear because there are so many essential fatty acids. The two main series are the omega-6 and omega-3 series. While some of these fatty acids appear to be beneficial, some may not be. The saturated fats, which have suffered a bad reputation, are coming back in for consideration and may also play a major role. Studies on prevention in animals or in vitro studies suggest that the essential fatty acids do play a role in cancer. In one double-blind clinical study, ten patients with sporadic colorectal polyps were given fish oil. The results indicated that fish oil could protect against the development of colon cancer. And fish oil could also help deal with cachexia—the severe terminal weight loss in some cancer patients. At the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, two groups of pancreatic cancers were studied. The one group was given a high-calorie/high-protein diet, and the second group a high-calorie/high-protein liquid diet supplemented with omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamins E and C. Before the study, these patients were losing an average of 6.6 pounds each month. All of the patients stopped losing weight, but the patients who consumed most of their drink gained the most, and these patients were only in the group receiving the supplements. Not all the credit can be given to the essential fatty acids, however, since the patients were also given vitamin E and vitamin C.

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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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