Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Orthomolecular Medicine: My Search for a New Paradigm

The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet.
William Gibson
Family medicine as a discipline is young. It was an outcry to the practice of medicine in the third quarter of the last century. One of the main chores we took upon ourselves is to focus on prevention. I think we must admit that we lost our way.
Being satisfied by the primary or secondary prevention of statins is a proof of this. Statins at their best provide less than 5% absolute risk reduction for important outcomes.
I am becoming more skeptical. A less skeptical person may see a half full cup; half full and not half empty. But, to see a 5% full cup; 5% full instead of 95% empty is beyond logic.
Using William Gibson’s quote and what Roger Martin (see my post) call for, and most of all luck, I was lead to explore orthomolecular medicine.
Orthomolecular medicine has a very simple philosophy: our body has the innate capacity to cure itself. For this to happen, our cells need to do their jobs. For our cells to do what is expected from them, we need to provide them with needed nutrients. 
That's it. Simple yet powerful.

Linus Pauling, the American chemist and molecular biologist who won two Nobel prizes is the person who coined the term “orthomolecular”. Orthomolecular medicine has been practiced since mid last century. But, it is a surprise that most of us have not heard of it. The way orthomolecular medicine provides nutrients to our body’s cells is through the use of an orthomolecular diet and nutrients, principally vitamins.
Orthomolecular physicians/practitioners might surprise you with their use of mega-doses of vitamins. They realize that our cells need different amounts of nutrients during health and illness. They also correctly realize that our current diets just don’t provide all of what our cells needs.
Orthomolecular medicine should not be considered a type of alternative medicine, as it uses the same scientific methodologies used in mainstream  medicine. The only problem is that orthomolecular medicine is alienated. Pubmed does not index the orthomolecular medicine journal!
Orthomolecular medicine practitioners use nutrients, mainly vitamins, to maintain health and to cure (yes cure) illnesses.
I hope I have triggered your curiosity. If so you really need to read Hoffer and Saul’s book “Orthomolecular Medicine For Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians”.  Dr. Hoffer is a Canadian psychiatrist who passed away last year at the age of 92. It seems that orthomolecular medicine physicians/practitioners live longer because they practice what they preach.
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