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8. Other Important Nutrients

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

8

Inositol is often considered an unofficial member of the B vitamin family. It is a benzene ring compound with a hydrogen and a hydroxyl ion on each carbon. Myoinositol is the active form of nine known isomers and is the form sometimes called vitamin B8. Inositol phosphatide has one or more phosphate groups on each carbon. If all six carbon groups are united with phosphate, the compound is known as phytic acid or inositol hexaphosphate (IP6). Germinating seeds release phosphate from phytic acid, which is present in grains, legumes, and other foods. Fermentation by yeast releases phosphates and metals bound to phytic acid, which is why unleavened bread is more apt to cause zinc, calcium, and magnesium deficiency problems.

IP6 is an antioxidant found in nearly all tissues, being in greatest concentration in the brain and heart. It appears to reduce serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and also helps inhibit tumor growth. Therefore, IP6 promises to be important in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and also cancer.1 Inositol lowers serum lipids and cholesterol if given in large doses—3,000 milligrams (mg) per day.2 Inositol may even help protect against junk-food diets: rats fed a lot of sugar, along with inositol, did not show expected increases in liver fat, cholesterol, and serum triglycerides.3

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7. Vitamin D

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

7

Vitamin D was first isolated from tuna fish oil in 1936 and synthesized in 1952. It is a prohormone sterol that the body manufactures, given sunlight, from 7-dehydrocholesterol. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form we and other animals make, and what is found in fish liver oil. Oddly enough, fish cannot synthesize vitamin D. They get theirs early in the food chain from planktonic algae. Big fish eat little fish, and we eat them. Vitamin D2 is made from ergosterol, not cholesterol, and consequently is called ergocalciferol. This is the form that is found in plants, and that is also made by ultraviolet irradiation of ergosterol; it is usually added to milk and found in most American supplements. Vitamin D3 is more commonly used as a supplement in Europe.1 Although D2 and D3 differ by a single carbon atom, there is evidence that D3 is more efficiently utilized in animals and humans.2

There are two commercial sources of natural vitamin D3: fish liver oil and an oil extracted from wool. If a label lists “vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol),” then it is from wool oil. This is considered a vegetarian source (the animal is just sheared), but not vegan. Fish liver oil will be listed in parentheses if it is the source. Animals can obtain vitamin D from licking their fur, and in humans, rickets can be successfully treated by rubbing cod liver oil into the skin.

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13. Cancer

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

13

While searching for the source of the mauve factor in the urine of schizophrenic patients, I (A. H.) was astonished by a patient’s unexpected recovery from lung cancer. The mauve factor is probably a marker for oxidative stress. But in 1960, this factor was found in the urine of the majority of schizophrenic patients and in a minority of other groups who were not schizophrenic. In testing nonpsychiatric patients, it was found that a very small proportion of normal subjects had this factor and that a larger number of very sick patients, such as those with terminal cancer, had more.

One of these patients, who was over seventy and dying from lung cancer, was given a cobalt bomb palliative treatment. He became psychotic and was admitted to our psychiatric ward. He excreted large amounts of the mauve factor. As it had been found previously that patients who excreted this factor responded well to niacin, he was started on niacin and vitamin C. Three days later, he was mentally normal. In 1960, large-dose tablets of these vitamins were not available and they were specially made up for this study. In order to keep him mentally normal until he died from his cancer, he was maintained on 3,000 milligrams (3 g) a day for each vitamin. He had been given one month to live, but to everyone’s surprise he lived thirty months. After one year on the vitamin program, an x-ray showed that the cancer had vanished.

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16. Epilepsy and Huntington’s Disease

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

16

In this chapter, we look at two additional neurological conditions, epilepsy and Huntington’s disease.

Niacin and niacinamide have anticonvulsant properties, but they are not strong enough to be used as the sole anticonvulsant. They potentiate the action of standard anticonvulsant drugs. I (A. H.) have given them to several epileptics who were not under good control with the usual medications; to achieve good control, they needed so much anticonvulsant medication that they were drowsy and sluggish and could not function normally. By adding vitamin B3 (1,000 milligrams, taken as directed), it was possible to obtain better control with half the dose of anticonvulsant, and they were able to work and function in the community.1

The anticonvulsant dose is not reduced until the patient has been on niacin (or niacinamide) for several months. Then, the dose of anticonvulsant is slowly reduced while monitoring carefully for frequency of grand mal or petit mal seizures and degree of sensation. Other researchers have reported on the antiepileptic activity of niacinamide, noting that it also potentiates the effects of tranquilizers.2 It is important to note that niacinamide improved the therapeutic index of anticonvulsants, meaning the therapeutic effect was enhanced but the toxicity was not. No other anticonvulsants have been shown to do so.

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11. Cardiovascular Disease

Hoffer M.D., Abram Basic Health Publications ePub

11

The function of the circulatory system, including the heart, is to keep the blood flowing to all parts of the body, to withstand the stresses of minor pulsations and movements, and to repair itself when damaged. It allows nutrients and waste products to traverse its walls. It must grow with tissues and regress as tissues regress. The heart is a specialized section of the circulatory system. The vascular system has a set of internal and external controls to maintain the correct blood pressure, whether we are sleeping or sprinting. When certain areas of the body require more blood, this is provided. In normal brains, frontal lobes receive more blood when a person is awake, less when that person is sleeping. In schizophrenics, this normal pattern is disturbed; their frontal lobes have relatively less blood flow and this flow does not increase when they are awake.

Failure in the circulatory system occurs when vessel (arteries and veins) walls become too fragile or too rigid, or when homeostatic controls fail. Hypertension may develop. The blood itself must maintain the correct viscosity or liquidity and be able to seal off bleeding vessels and maintain the correct proportion of cells of various types to fluid. A discussion of the vascular system should include reference to all these aspects—vessel walls, blood pressure control, and the blood—but here we will deal only with those aspects where orthomolecular medicine promises to make a contribution.

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