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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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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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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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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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4. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 4

VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

Vitamin C is probably the most widely taken vitamin supplement in the world. It is available as vitamin C (hydrogen ascorbate) and also as a mineral salt with sodium, or calcium or potassium. It can be taken by mouth or by intravenous injection using sodium ascorbate. It is present in fruits and vegetables in very small amounts. Citrus fruits are among the better sources, but the amount of vitamin C present will vary, depending upon the way the fruit is handled between the orchard and the table. Even the most favorable vitamin C—rich diet will not provide optimum health for most people.

The Safety of Vitamin C Supplementation

S. Lawson (2003) wrote a complete account of vitamin C’s safety. Vitamin C is safe—it is less toxic than every over-the-counter drug freely available—but there is nothing that is absolutely 100 percent safe, not even drinking water. The safety of any substance must be determined by comparing it against something that everyone recognizes as safe. The acid test of safety is the body count—how many deaths are caused by the substance? Dangerous drugs do kill. Vitamins do not. There have been no deaths reported for vitamin C and no toxicity data on humans. If one could engage in a duel using chemicals as the weapon, and I were to fight such a duel, I would have a bowl of vitamin C in front of me and would take one level teaspoon every few minutes. My opponent would have a bowl of ordinary table salt in front of him, and would match me spoon by spoon. The salt will kill him. The vitamin C will not kill me.

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