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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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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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1. Orthomolecular Medicine’s Foundations in Research

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 1

ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE’S FOUNDATIONS IN RESEARCH

Orthomolecular medicine was developed by a number of leading researchers studying the relationship of health and disease with nutrition. Many of these researchers are well-known scientists who are recognized and well respected in other specific areas of science, and all believed in the validity of this area of medical research. A brief review of these pioneers and their research will help in understanding the plausibility of orthomolecular medicine.

Dr. Irwin Stone and Early Evidence of High-Dosage Treatment Benefits

Soon after pure vitamin C became available, physicians explored its therapeutic value for a large number of diseases. A few clinical studies showed that adding this vitamin to the treatment of cancer cases improved the patient’s prognosis. Dr. Fred Klenner started using huge doses of vitamin C about fifty years ago, and reported that in some cases the results were quite remarkable. These early studies were reviewed by Irwin Stone in his 1972 book, The Healing Factor.

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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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15. Cancer and Schizophrenia

Hoffer MD PhD, Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 15

CANCER AND SCHIZOPHRENIA

I have been working with the hypothesis that adrenochrome is involved as one of the main factors in the cause of schizophrenia since 1952. Adrenochrome is an oxidation product of adrenaline (epinephrine). All of the catecholamines can be oxidized in the same way, dopamine into dopachrome, for example. I described this hypothesis and the hallucinogenic properties of adrenochrome in The Hallucinogens, which I wrote with Dr. Humphry Osmond.

Catecholamines

Brain chemicals that act as communication carriers between nerves. These include dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).

Adrenochrome is also toxic to mitosis, the process of cell division, so it appeared plausible that there would be a natural antagonism between cancer and schizophrenia if our hypothesis was correct. Since cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell division, it could not coexist with adrenochrome. If a patient made too much adrenochrome due to extreme amounts of adrenaline oxidation, he could develop schizophrenia but not cancer, because the adrenochrome would inhibit cell division. If a patient did not make enough adrenochrome, he could get cancer but not schizophrenia, because there would not be enough adrenochrome present to exert its hallucinogenic properties.

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