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From the Townsend Letter
October 2009

Book Review:
Nutritional Treatments That Are Effective, Free of Side Effects, and Inexpensive
review by Irene Alleger

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Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone
by Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, and Andrew W. Saul, PhD
Basic Health Publication Inc.
28812 Top of the World Drive
Laguna Beach, California 92651; 949715-7327
Quality Paperback; ©2008; $19.95; 376 pp.

If the government is serious about making health care affordable for everyone, they need look no further than this book. Unfortunately, many doctors continue to discourage their patients from taking vitamins and other supplements, often stating that their benefits have not been proven. They are "toeing the party line," obscuring the fact that they know little or nothing about nutrition, whether in the form of food or supplements.

The authors of Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone, however, are experts in the field of nutrition, with many years of experience between them, and their book is an authoritative guide to the use of megavitamin treatments for a wide range of conditions. The 30 pages of scientific references disprove the "party line," offering evidence that megavitamin treatments are effective and safe.

Orthomolecular psychiatry began after the two forms of vitamin B3 were identified as niacin and niacinamide back in 1938, with notable results; and other clinical studies were done on diseases such as arthritis, showing that treatment with niacinamide reversed the disease. However, with the era of "wonder" drugs beginning, these nutritional studies were ignored, both in curricula and practice.

Over the past several decades, there is evidence that the public is showing much more interest in clinical nutrition than the medical community. Almost everyone takes a few vitamins, and the interest in so-called alternative medicine has increased greatly. The word orthomolecular was coined in 1968 by Linus Pauling to describe the use of nutrients in optimum amounts as the main treatment. This is in contrast to the amounts recommended in the government's "food guide pyramid" and dietary allowances, which are considered the minimum needed to forestall frank disease. With our current American diet, the need for scientific nutritional information is great; the average person remains confused about what constitutes a healthy diet.

Drs. Hoffer and Saul not only explain how food supplements are used to treat many conditions, with extensive chapters on niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, other B vitamins, and A and D; they also write specifically of treating gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer, and the aging brain. What this book does very well is to make nutrition and its effects on health understandable. For example, in discussing why the kinds of foods we eat is important, the authors write: "Animals in their native state eat whole foods … the advantage of whole foods is that they contain all the nutrients needed to keep life going." The growing problem of obesity is addressed as "caused by excessive consumption of sugar." The term "sugar metabolic syndrome" is used to describe the enormous increase in the consumption of refined or processed foods, especially sugar and white flour. Studies show the harm from refining of carbohydrates as removing fiber from our diet, which affects the gastrointestinal system, from the teeth to the colon. It also causes overconsumption of calories, obesity, and diabetes, and it removes protein, which is required to neutralize hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone is full of illuminating advice, such as: "On the orthomolecular diet, there is no need to be concerned about getting too much fat. This becomes possible only when processed foods … are used. In addition, with a good diet one need not be concerned about the ratio of saturated fat to unsaturated fat, as a blend of animal and vegetable foods will ensure that neither too little nor too much of either fat is consumed.

Many Americans will be surprised to learn the real causes of atherosclerosis, too. Rather than a pharmaceutical drug deficiency, one of the main causes is the sugar metabolic syndrome diet. The relation among cholesterol, fat, and protein is complex, but clearly explained by the authors.

Much of the confusion and lack of information on nutrition is due to the political power of Big Pharma. Every opportunity is taken to disparage and deny any positive results from vitamins, as the orthomolecular approach to treating disease could compete in the marketplace for the billions of dollars now generated by drug treatment. The authors state unequivocally that "restoring health must be done nutritionally, not pharmacologically."  


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