In a world of uncertainty, stress, tragedy, loss, trauma, and grief, mental illness is part of the human condition. Human beings are not clones of each others. Some people suffer more than others as their mental illness becomes debilitating, acute, and sometimes dangerous. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in adults, and the 2nd leading cause of death in children and teens. Recently I came across the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer, and a term I never heard of, orthomolecular medicine, which is the practice of using high doses of vitamins to treat serious mental illness, cancer, high blood pressure, and a host of other diseases and chronic conditions.
“Dr. Hoffer said that orthomolecular medicine does not purport to treat all diseases, nor is it “a replacement for standard treatment. A proportion of patients will require orthodox treatment, a proportion will do much better on orthomolecular treatment, and the rest will need a skillful blend of both.” That is the very definition of integrative medicine.”
In the 1950s, just as anti psychotics entered the mental health world, a young psychiatrist had a hypothesis and decided to explore it. Abram Hoffer, M.D., along with his colleague, H. Osmond, M.D., studied their hypothesis on adrenochrome causing schizophrenia. This study lead Hoffer to use mega doses of vitamins to heal chronic schizophrenia. Vitamin therapy is by no means a miracle cure, and will not replace pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical have their place. Hoffer used high doses of niacin on a dying schizophrenic patient. The patient was so ill the vitamins had to be fed to him a a fluid through a tube in to his stomach. The next day the man was able to drink the solution. The patient ultimately recovered and was able to leave the hospital.
Another Hoffer patient, a chronically ill 12 year old boy was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The family was desperate for help. They fed the boy his favorite jelly sandwiches with niacin. The boy recovered and grew up to become a psychiatrist himself. Hoffer went on to treat thousands of patients in his lifetime with a combination of pharmaceutical drugs and vitamin therapy also known as orthomolecular medicine. Many patients went into life long remission and were able to live drug free lives. Others only needed small doses of pharmaceuticals. All of the patients continued with vitamin therapy as a way of life, along with a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and a purpose in life.
“In 1950, I became Director of Psychiatric Research for Saskatchewan’s Department of Public Health. I was a founder of the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation, now the International Schizophrenia Foundation. My main objective was to research the cause of this disease and to find a better treatment. This is now called orthomolecular medicine, after Dr. Pauling published his seminal paper in Science in 968. After the American Psychiatric Association called my good friend and colleague, Humphry Osmond, and me before their Committee on Ethics because of what I had published, they effectively killed interest in the use of vitamins for treating mental illness. The APA bears major responsibility for preventing the introduction of a treatment which would have saved millions of patients from the ravages of chronic schizophrenia”
Pellagra is a serious illness that was a major killer in the early 20th century that had doctors baffled at what was causing people to get rashes and develop psychosis. Some hypothesized it was a virus, others said it was a bacteria. Then it was discovered by Dr. Joseph Goldberger that nutrition plaid a vital role in improving people with pellagra. Niacin deficiency was the actual cause of what scientists call the 4Ds, “The term pellagra – from pelle agra, Italian for rough skin – was first used by Frappoli in 1771 due to its dermatologic manifestations. However, since Goldberger implicated vitamin B deficiency as the cause of pellagra in 1926, the pellagra syndrome has historically been characterized by the 4 D’s: Dermatitis, Diarrhea, and Dementia leading to Death.”
Since then, niacin has been added to flour and bread. Dr. Hoffer believed that mental illness is still a result of pellagra, “Let’s drop the name schizophrenia. It is wrong. It has social stigma. It has no scientific merit. It does not indicate the cause and never indicates the correct treatment. It is really one of the forms of pellagra – call it pellagra.”
Linus Pauling winner of two Noble Prizes, the first one in chemistry in 1954, and the second in 1995 given for the 1962 Noble Peace Prize. While immersed in the study of vitamins and psychiatry Pauling found Abram Hoffer’s book niacin. Pauling went on to found the The Institute of Orthomolecular Medicine in CA, and coined the terms orthomolecular medicine/orthomolecular psychiatry. Unfortunately the organization died with Pauling and much of his work on this subject censored, dismissed, and ignored. Here are some excerpts from his paper:
The modern diet is loaded with chemicals and has become a feeding ground for chronic health conditions. An adult brain weighs about 3 lb, a child’s brain is just about a quarter of that. The brain is about the size of two fists. If the brain is fed on a diet of foods loaded with chemicals and heavy metals from processing, the reaction to that diet can be hyper activity in children, anxiety and depression in both children and adults, cancer, chronic illness, eczema. Skin rashes, diarrhea, gastrointestinal stress, and poor nutritional uptake of vital nutrients leads to physical and emotional illness and disease. This is a known fact. Children are being diagnosed with all sorts of mental, behavioral, and chronic health issues. Would’t it be prudent to try diet and vitamins before giving a child Ritalin or Adderal, both of which are amphetamines and considered a Class II controlled drug? Why aren’t we?
The FDA is a failure, it fails us with the drugs it approves to treat illness, and the chemicals it allows in our food. President Obama had a stellar reputation as the president without drama, well he sure stacked his cabinet with industry. Did his smile make up for the deep seeded corruption past onto him from Clintons, who got it from the Bushes, and so on. Obama appointed major chemical manufacturer, Monsanto’s Michael Taylor, lobbyist and executive, to head the FDA. In fact, Obama had five appointees in his cabinet from Monsanto! Corruption is a major reason why vital information like orthomolecular medicine is suppressed, censored, and mocked.
Both political parties participate in the revolving door of government and industry that has corrupted public policy and keeps us dependent on pharmaceuticals to treat illness. There is also a monopoly of funding, not to mentions direct to consumer advertising, and low cost simple ways to heal people is lost in the sludge. Most funding for clinical research comes from the pharmaceutical industry. This impedes growth in understanding in how the human body works, and what is best for each unique human body. Instead what we have is the fastest, and easiest route, while treating everyone with a diagnosis the same. Depressed, take an antidepressant, anxiety, take a Zanax, hyper take Adderal, et cetera. Most “new drugs” are old drugs slightly reformulated, this is especially true in psychiatry.
Orthomolecular medicine is ignored, brushed off as baseless quackery. The rigged reels of routine and the flow of money continue to spin. While pharmaceuticals remain a monopoly on healthcare. From depression and anxiety to psychosis and schizophrenia, the leading therapeutics are always psychotropic drugs. The anti psychotic was discovered in the 1950s, benzodiazepines came on the market in the 60s, antidepressants made it on the scene in the late 80s. Mood stabilizers are basically other drugs used off label i.e. antipsychotics, anti convulsive drugs aka seizure drugs, and mineral drugs like lithium. With a cache of drugs to treat mental illness, many suffering still cannot find relief and their symptoms have worsened while the amount of pills they take daily grows, and grows, and grows. From sexual dysfunction to akathisia, millions of people around the world struggle with the serious side effects. The side effects are then ignored and blamed on the patients illness. It’s a perpetual cycle of suffering without healing.
The pharmaceutical industry tests their own products, pays their own scientists to do their own clinical trials they need for FDA approval. The constant revolving door between industry and government agencies for every presidential appointment in modern times is baffling. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the FDA, was appointed by President Trump in 2017. Gottlieb went from the FDA to sit on the board of Pfizer. Gottlieb also has a seat at Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont’s table of trusted advisors. Gottlieb helped to shape the policy for lockdowns, masking, and mandatory vaccines. Pfizer made a $100 billion dollars in earnings in 2021, “Pfizer’s combined sales from its Covid vaccine and antiviral treatment generated more revenue last year than it had in total sales in 2019, before the pandemic became a global crisis…” CNBC Ned Lamont’s administration heavily mandated the state to take the COVID 19 vaccinations while Gottlieb sat on the board of Pfizer and advised the governor of Connecticut on public health policy. This screams of conflict!
The pharmaceutical industry is not in the business of health, but rather in the business of sick care. It is a wonder that citizens tolerate this kind of revolving door from industry to government and government to industry. Those who profit from pharmaceuticals cannot be trusted to shape public policy, nor approve pharmaceutical products. Yet they do, every day. Until we find a way to clean this up, orthomolecular medicine dies in the darkness. Dr. Hoffer quit psychiatry in disgust, “Dr. Hoffer announced that beginning January 1st of 2006, he would no longer be a psychiatrist and medical doctor and would only use his PhD. “I am now a nutritionist. I have experienced a terrible and prolonged antagonism from the medical establishment. I am writing a book called The Chronic Ethically Sick Medical-Industrial Complex.” Abram Hoffer
Abram Hoffer wasn’t able to write that book, he died in 2009 at the age of 92. It is up to us to dig up the work of Abram Hoffer and Linus Pauling, and bring what they found to light. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The power to heal cannot be held back by a corrupted strangle hold on the practice of medicine and human health outside of big industry.
I leave you with this documentary to ponder.
Feed Your Head
Linus Pauling Orthomolecular Psychiatry
Dr. Goldberger Pellagra