The importance of diet in relationship to optimal health has been understood throughout recorded history. Hippocrates regarded food as a primary form of medicine more than 2,500 years ago. Records from ancient Egypt as far back as 5000 BC show the use of specific foods to treat various conditions.
True scientific understanding of diet did not occur until the 18th century, beginning with the work of French physicist Rene de Reaumur, who is credited with conducting the initial research of digestive chemistry. Later in that same century, Reaumur's work was built upon by chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, who, prior to being guillotined during the French Revolution, provided the scientific foundation for the study of how the body metabolizes food to create energy.
The first person to show a direct link between disease and a lack of a specific nutrient was James Lind, a physician in the British navy, who discovered that sailors on long voyages without rations containing citrus fruits developed bleeding gums, rough skin, poor muscle tension, and slow-healing wounds, all symptoms characteristic of scurvy. In 1757, in one of the first controlled medical experiments, Lind demonstrated that when sailors were supplied with lemons, limes, and oranges, scurvy could be prevented. As a result of his findings, Captain James Cook made it mandatory that every English sailor be supplied with rations of lemons and limes, enabling to sail around the world scurvy-free, as well as supplying them with the nickname "limeys." Today, it is well known that scurvy is due to vitamin C deficiency.
Christiaan Eijkman, a Dutch physician, is famous for his nutritional research. In 1893 he discovered that a diet of polished (overkvernet) rice causes beriberi, and was able to produce the disease experimentally in birds. He discovered vitamin B.
In 1897, Christiaan Eijkman proved that an element in unpolished rice was essential to proper functioning of the nervous system and carbohydrate metabolism, and that a deficiency in that ingredient could cause beriberi and other diseases. In 1929, his research resulted in him sharing the Nobel Prize with British biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins for physiology and medicine.
In 1933 Drs. Wilfred and Evan Shute were some of the first doctors to use large doses of vitamin E to treat heart disease. At that time, antioxidants and free radicals were rather obscure concepts in the chemistry of oxidation, far removed from issues of health and disease. Also at that time, using vitamins to treat serious diseases such as heart disease and diabetes was considered by the medical establishment as misguided at best and outright fraud at worst. Yet thanks to the observant practitioners such as the Shutes who were more interested in what helped their patients most, medical researchers became motivated to study it scientifically. The results would speak for themselves.
For decades, vitamin E was lampooned as a "cure in search of a disease." In 1985, Linus Pauling wrote: "The failure of the medical establishment during the last forty years to recognize the value of vitamin E in controlling heart disease is responsible for a tremendous amount of unnecessary suffering and for many early deaths. The interesting story of the efforts to suppress the Shute discoveries about vitamin E illustrates the shocking bias of organized medicine against nutritional measures for achieving improved health." Dr. Pauling would most likely have appreciated this comment from a recent Harvard Health Letter: "A consistent body of research indicates that vitamin E may protect people against heart disease...The data generally indicate that taking doses ranging from 100 to 800IU per day may lower the risk of heart disease by 30%-40%." Over half a century ago, the Shute brothers and colleagues showed that, with even higher doses than those, and with an insistence on the use of natural vitamin E, the results are better still.
Today's growing appreciation of the role of d-alpha tocopherol in preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease is due primarily to the Shute brothers.
"We didn't make vitamin E so versatile. God did. Ignore its mercy at your peril." Dr. Evan Shute
Irwin Stone, Ph.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
Humanity can thank biochemist Irwin Stone for introducing Linus Pauling to vitamin C. Pauling spoke of this highly influential first contact, when Stone sent him "copies of some papers that he had just published, with the general title 'Hypoascorbemia, a Genetic Disease'. . . The 3,000 milligrams per day that he recommended is 50 times the RDA. My wife and I began taking this amount of the vitamin ... (and) the severe colds that I had suffered from several times a year all of my life no longer occurred. After a few years I increased my intake of vitamin C to 100 times; then 200 times, and then 300 times the RDA (now 18,000 mg per day).
"Among the several arguments Irwin Stone presented to support his thesis that the proper physiological intake of vitamin C is 50 or more times the RDA were two that especially impressed me. . . Almost all animal species dogs, cats, cows, horses, elephants, and so on have continued to synthesize ascorbate. . . The second fact that impressed me is that animals manufacture very large amounts of ascorbate. The amount manufactured is approximately proportional to the body weight, and, converted to the weight of a human being, ranges from about 2,000 to 20,000 milligrams per day. Irwin Stone concluded that human beings with an average diet are accordingly all suffering from hypoascorbemia, a deficiency of ascorbate in the blood and tissues." (Linus Pauling in His Own Words : Selections from his Writings, Speeches and Interviews, edited by Barbara Marinacci. NY: Simon and Shuster, 1995). There could be no finer tribute to Irwin Stone than this.
In Memoriam: Irwin Stone, Ph.D.
Linus Pauling, Ph.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
"Linus Pauling was right." Associated Press
Orthomolecular medicine describes the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances which are natural to the body. Two-time Nobel Prize winner, and molecular biologist, Linus Pauling, Ph.D., coined the term "Orthomolecular" in his 1968 article "Orthomolecular Psychiatry" in the journal "Science". Pauling described "Orthomolecular Psychiatry" as the treatment of mental disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment for the mind, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the body.
It was a natural progression for Pauling, who had identified sickle-cell anemia as the first molecular disease and subsequently laid the foundation for molecular biology, to then develop a theory that explained the molecular basis of vitamin therapy.
Orthomolecular is a term made up of ortho, which is Greek for "correct" or "right" and molecule which is the simplest structure that displays the characteristics of a compound. So it literally means the "right molecule".
Pauling later broadened his definition to include orthomolecular medicine, which he defined as "the preservation of good health and the treatment of disease by varying the concentration in the human body of substances that are normally present in the body". He stressed the adjective orthomolecular is used to express the idea of the right molecules in the right concentration. Pauling firmly believed that daily supplementation of vitamins in optimum amounts, in addition to following a healthy diet, was the most important step that anyone could take to live a long and healthy life, and by following his own advice, he lived productively for 93 years.
"Professor Pauling as always is ahead of his time. The latest research on vitamin C substantiates his twenty-five years of advocacy and investigation on the benefits of vitamin C." J. Daniel Kanofsky, MD, MPH, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Roger J. Williams, Ph.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
"When in doubt, try nutrition first."
Another pioneer in the concept of orthomolecular nutrition was Roger Williams, Professor of Chemistry, discoverer of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5 ), and founder and director of the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas which, under the directorship of Dr. Williams, was responsible for more vitamin related discoveries than any other laboratory in the world. He also developed the concept of Genetotrophic disease.
According to Williams, the following thesis formed the basis of this new approach to nutrition: "the nutritional microenvironment of our body cells is crucially important to our health, and deficiencies in this enviromnent consititute a major cause of disease."
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally recognized physician, author, medical researcher and pioneer in the use of vitamins and nutrients to treat disease. Dr. Hoffer has spent the past five decades conducting research related to the practice of orthomolecular medicine, which emphasizes the use of nutrients in optimum doses for the treatment of a wide range of diseases. His medical discoveries have been the topic of more than a dozen books and literally hundreds of research papers.
In 1952 he and his colleagues began developing a more effective treatment for schizophrenia that involved a biochemical hypothesis. They tried two nutrients: vitamin C and vitamin B3. He found that we could halve the two-year recovery rate of patients just by adding these vitamins to the program. This was the first major systematic attempt to use large dosages of vitamins therapeutically. In 1955 he also discovered that niacin lowered cholesterol levels.
Today, in his mid-eighties, Dr. Hoffer continues to practice medicine, prescribing orthomolecular regimens to patients in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
More about Dr. Hofferhis biography, books, research papers and homepage.
Carl C. Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
"For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect." Pfeiffer's Law
Carl C. Pfeiffer made his first contribution in 1974, contributing 22 papers by the time he died in 1988. He made major contributions to the understanding of trace element and mineral metabolism in the schizophrenias; made a rational division of the schizophrenias into three biochemical groups, and discussed amino acids in medicine. His contributions were of the greatest value. Carl Pfeiffer was one of the original members of the Committee on Therapy of the American Schizophrenia Association.
"If there's a drug that can alter the brain's biochemistry, there's usually a combination of nutrients that can achieve the same thing without side-effects," said Dr. Pfeiffer, founding director of the Brain Bio Center in Princeton, New Jersey (1973). Dr. Pfeiffer spent most of his life researching for the causes and cure of mental illness. He found that biochemical imbalances in the body were the blame for many psychological problems. His study on more than 20,000 schizophrenic patients enabled him to divide schizophrenia into 3 biochemical groupings called histapenia, histadelia and pyroluric 2, 3.
Lendon Smith, MD, a supporter of the Pfeiffer approach, wrote: "Carl C. Pfeiffer, in his book, Nutrition and Mental Illness, listed well-known causes of schizophrenia. . . He said, 'All of these are chemically-induced metabolic disorders, which suggests the strong possibility that the "true" schizophrenias left in the "wastebasket" might also be due to biochemical abnormalities.'" http://www.smithsez.com/Hypertension.html
Dr. Pfeiffers other books include Mental and Elemental Nutrients, The Healing Nutrients, Dr. Pfeiffers Total Nutrition, Nutritional Science and Cookery, and Neurobiology of the Trace Metals Zinc and Copper. His contributions to orthomolecular medicine live on through his writings, the clinics he inspired, and the annual Society of Ortho-molecular Medicine lecture that bears his name. A bibliography of Dr. Pfeiffers work is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_pfeiffer_ed.html
Humphry Osmond, M.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
Linus Pauling wrote: "In 1967, I happened to read a number of papers published by two psychiatrists in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphry Osmond. There was something extraordinary about their work. They were giving very large amounts of niacin to the schizophrenic patients, as much as 17,000 milligrams per day, which is 1,000 times the RDA. I was astonished that niacin and ascorbate, with the striking physiological property, when given in very small amounts, of preventing death from pellagra and scurvy, should be so lacking in toxicity that 1,000 times the effective daily intake could be taken by a person without harm. This meant that these substances were quite different from drugs, which are usually given to patients in amounts not much smaller than the lethal dosages.
I thought that these substances, normally present in the human body, and required for good health and life, deserved a name to distinguish them from ordinary Pharmaceuticals, and I decided to call them 'orthomolecular' substances." (Linus Pauling in His Own Words: Selections from his Writings, Speeches and Interviews, edited by Barbara Marinacci. NY: Simon and Shuster, 1995.)
Dr. Humphry Osmond's remarkable medical career included decades of distinguished psychiatric practice and a prodigious output of writing and research. He is widely recognized as a pioneer investigator into the chemistry of consciousness. Along with Dr. John Smythies, Osmond developed the theory that schizophrenics suffer due to endogenous production of an adrenalin-based hallucinogen. This led to the Hoffer-Osmond Adreno-chrome Hypothesis in the early 1950s, the very origin of orthomolecular medicine. The popular press may today remember Humphry Osmond for coining the term "psychedelic," but countless thousands of grateful patients will remember him as the co-discoverer of niacin therapy for schizophrenia. A bibliography of Dr. Osmond's work is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_osmond.html
Memoriam By Abram Hoffer
William Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
"I noted that niacinamide (alone or combined with other vitamins) in a thousand patient-years of use has caused no adverse side effects."
Dr. William Kaufman was among the very first physicians to therapeutically employ megadoses of vitamin B3 (niacin, or niacinamide). He prescribed as much as 5,000 mg of niacinamide daily, in many divided doses, to dramatically improve and restore range of joint motion in arthritic patients. This groundbreaking work remains important to this day. In his 1949 book, The Common Form of Joint Dysfunction, Kaufman published the details of his niacinamide arthritis treatment, which also incorporated the use of vitamin C, thiamin, and riboflavin, all in large doses. He kept meticulous patient records that repeatedly verified the safety and effectiveness of megavitamin therapy.
Over 50 years ago, Kaufman showed remarkable foresight half a century into the future of orthomolecular medicine, describing how the lack of a just a single nutrient can cause diverse diseases, including what is now known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Charlotte Kaufman lovingly writes of her husband, "He was always ready to help someone else. He truly was a healer and a problem solver. He played the piano; he loved Mozart. He wrote poems, plays, essays, and subscribed to about 30 medical journals, which he read. He practiced medicine in his own way, without regard to fads or fashion. He seemed to know intuitively what the clinical answers were, but he was a thoughtful person who did not make decisions lightly. He was an independent thinker who was constantly studying and learning, not just from the printed word, but from his patients. He really listened to his patients. His main objective was to help people live healthy lives."
Dr. Kaufman's bibliography is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_kaufman.html
Alan Cott, M.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
Dr. Alan Cott fasted psychiatric patients while an attending physician at Gracie Square Hospital in New York City. In so doing, Lendon Smith, MD, writes that Dr. Cott was following the work of Dr. Yuri "Nicolayev of Moscow, who has fasted more than 10,000 mentally ill patients... The manic phase of manic depressive illness can be brought under control in the first week of a fast. Cott made them exercise by taking long walks. They drank two quarts of water every day as a minimum. If a patient failed to drink this amount, he terminated the fast... By the end of the first week, the medicines they had been on were usually discontinued." (http://www.smithsez.com/mentalillness.html)
In addition to two popular books on supervised fasting, Dr. Cott wrote Dr. Cott's Help for Your Learning Disabled Child: The Orthomolecular Treatment and was a frequent contributor to the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry. His papers on Controlled Fasting Treatment for Schizophrenia and the Orthomolecular Approach to the Treatment of Learning Disabilities were presented at the Nutrition and Mental Health Hearing before the Select Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in 1977.
William McCormick, M.D.
Hall of Fame 2004
"Vitamin C is a specific antagonist of chemical and bacterial toxins."
Over 50 years ago, it was Toronto physician William J. McCormick, M.D., who pioneered the idea that poor collagen formation, due to vitamin C deficiency, was a principal cause of diverse conditions ranging from stretch marks to cardiovascular disease and cancer. This theory would become the foundation for Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron's decision to employ large doses of vitamin C to fight cancer.
Over twenty years before Pauling, McCormick had already reviewed the nutritional causes of heart disease and noted that four out of five coronary cases in hospital show vitamin C deficiency. McCormick also early proposed vitamin C deficiency as the essential cause of, and effective cure for, numerous communicable illnesses, becoming an early advocate of using vitamin C as an antiviral and an antibiotic. Modern writers often pass by the fact that McCormick actually advocated vitamin C to prevent and cure the formation of some kidney stones as far back as 1946. And fifty years ago, McCormick "found, in clinical and laboratory research, that the smoking of one cigarette neutralizes in the body approximately 25 mg of ascorbic acid." His early use of gram-sized doses to combat what then and now are usually regarded as non-deficiency-related illnesses set the stage for today's 100,000 mg/day antiviral/ anticancer vitamin C IV's.
Original page from: http://orthomolecular.org/history/index.shtml
( Reformatted & under construction, many doctors are missing and will be added...notably:
Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Frederick Klenner, Archie Kalokerinos, Glenn Dettman, Ian Dettman, Robert Cathcart, Mathias Rath, and many others. )