18 Chapters
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17. Allergies, Infections, Toxic Reactions, Trauma, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

17

Medicine began when the first human discomfort was something visible or palpable, like a boil or a swollen ankle. But local medicine treats a fraction of the illnesses, and perhaps only a minor fraction—the rest is dealing with metabolic reactions that affect the entire body. Metabolic stress is caused by a number of factors: genetics, malnutrition and starvation, invasions by living organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and large parasites), trauma, fracture, burns, allergies and food sensitivities, and toxic reactions to heavy metals and other substances. No one can doubt that a healthy person can withstand insults better than one who is less healthy. The natural defenses of our bodies must be maintained at their optimum efficiency. We believe that enhanced nutritional health will increase defenses to the point that the incidence of a large number of diseases is decreased, and if disease is already present, then healing is accelerated.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) at optimum doses is very effective in helping the body heal itself even when invaded by massive quantities of bacteria, viruses, or other invaders. The B vitamins are very important as well. For example, vitamin B3 will enhance the body’s defenses against tuberculosis and bacteria. As a general rule, any deficiency or relative deficiency reduces our ability to protect ourselves effectively against invasion. While a few organisms (such as tuberculosis) are able to protect themselves against the body’s defense system, or at least to render it less effective, they can generally be contained more effectively when nutrients such as B3 and ascorbic acid are used.

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6. The Other B Vitamins and Vitamin A

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

6

Vitamin A, as carotene or fish oil, gives you healthy mucus membranes, a strong immune system, and helps prevent cancer. Vitamin A is necessary to maintain the integrity of body surfaces and a deficiency may decrease mucus secretion and increase susceptibility to colds. Supplementing may help lessen the length and severity of colds. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision. It forms the visual pigments rhodopsin and iodopsin. It is also essential for epithelial tissue. It may be thought of as a surface membrane vitamin, necessary for the health of the skin and its appendages, mouth, respiratory membranes, gastrointestinal tract, and genitourinary tract.

Beta-carotene and synthetic vitamin A analogues are also showing a lot of promise as anticarcinogens. Populations with low vitamin A blood levels are more prone to develop cancer.1 These compounds have inhibited tumor induction, inhibited the promotion phase, and caused some tumors to regress. Some of the synthetic retinoids are most potent in prevention and treatment.

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18. Skin Problems

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

18

Adolescent acne is one of the most common afflictions, but it is seldom the main complaint among the patients referred to me (A. H.). Rarely is it so severe that it is the primary concern. About thirty years ago, in Saskatoon, a sixteen-year-old boy was very depressed. His face was hideously covered with huge, irregular, red, oozing bumps and lumps, here and there infected. He told me he could no longer live with his face and that if my treatment did not help he would kill himself. He told me this very calmly and seriously, saying that the acne had ruined his social life.

I have never considered acne a chronic infection and cannot understand why antibiotics help, but they had not helped him. I consider acne a form of malnutrition, as does Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffer, and he describes a nutritional treatment for acne in his book Mental and Elemental Nutrients.1 I started the boy on a sugar-free diet, eliminated all milk products, and added a daily supplement program of niacin (3,000 milligrams [mg]), ascorbic acid (3,000 mg), pyridoxine (250 mg), and zinc sulfate (220 mg). One month later, his face was better: the vivid reddening had begun to recede, his face was no longer infected, and his mood was better. He told me he was no longer considering suicide. After three months, his face was almost clear. He was cheerful and had begun to resume his social activities at school and elsewhere.

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14. The Aging Brain

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

14

Some neurological problems associated with aging are clearly related to nutritional deficiencies and respond to dietary and nutrient treatment. Pellagrologists discovered this soon after it was shown that vitamin B3 cured some forms of pellagra. Many patients suffering from organic confusional psychoses and neurological symptoms recovered when treated with large enough doses of niacin, even when these patients had no history of poor diet.

I (A. H.) was familiar with this literature when I began to treat schizophrenics with large doses of vitamin B3 in 1951. As soon as an opportunity arose, I began to treat a number of these neurological conditions. Early in 1952, I treated a middle-aged man for depression and serious confusion. He had been given a series of electroconvulsive treatments (ECT), which had relieved the depression but had left him confused and severely memory impaired. He was able to function at home with the help of his devoted wife. As there was no known treatment and I could not leave him as he was, I started him on niacin, 3,000 milligrams (3 g) per day, in three divided doses. One month later, to my amazement, he was well: the vitamin had removed the negative effects of the ECT and allowed its positive effects to remain.

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4. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

4

The six-carbon vitamin C molecule (ascorbic acid, C6H8O6) probably was present in the primordial soup in which life developed on Earth, along with vitamin B3 (niacin) and perhaps other vitamins. Smaller than the simplest sugar, vitamin C preceded life by a long time, so it would be surprising if it were dangerous, for life developed and accommodated to molecules already present in the fluid. About 450 million years ago, aquatic vertebrates developed and flourished for about 100 million years, then land animals (reptiles, birds, and mammals) evolved. Fish and amphibians made ascorbic acid in their kidneys; birds are in transition from earlier forms, which used their kidneys, to later forms, which used both kidney and liver, and finally to more recent forms which use only the liver, as do most mammals.

But about 25 million years ago, our ancestors lost the ability to make ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid resembles glucose in structure, but it is much more reactive chemically. When animals make ascorbic acid, they start from glucose. This series of reactions requires the enzyme gulonolactone oxidase, and humans and a few other species of animals lack this enzyme and so cannot make ascorbic acid. The gene that controlled its formation vanished.

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