In 1968 the term “orthomolecular” was coined by Dr. Linus Pauling, a chemist, and winner of 2 Nobel Prizes in different fields (chemistry and peace), and the only person in history to have two unshared prizes. The word othomolecular is actually composed of two words from greek, one meaning “right” or “correct” and molecule, which refers to simple structure. The idea is that this type of therapy uses the right molecule or substances to balance ones individual biochemistry. To be even more specific, it is using vitamins, minerals, aminos acids, enzymes, etc… to bring about balance within the human body, which facilitates and promotes health and healing. These proper or optimal amounts of substances also aim to prevent disease, by providing the body with what it needs to function well. This field of study is also known to some as megavitamin therapy.
Perhaps the most popular substance that has received more attention than any other within this field of medicine is Vitamin C. Everyone knows a little about Vitamin C, however, its true power can be seen when fully understanding the wide range of functions that this vitamin has within the body. It is useful for over 300 metabolic functions in the body and is critical for maintaining health. I first was turned on to this in particular by the work of Dr. Linus Pauling. After becoming convinced of its worth, Dr. Pauling dedicated much of the rest of his life to working with it. He wrote a couple of books including, “Vitamin C and the Common Cold” and “Cancer and Vitamin C”, among others dealing with various orthomolecular substances. Vitamin C is truly a wonder and when one fully begins to understand the reach, power, and force of health it carries with it, it becomes a common ingredient in ones health regimen.
Another notable that has received considerable attention due to his research with another vitamin, Niacin (b3), is Dr. Abram Hoffer. Dr. Hoffer was a canadian psychiatrist, who used Niacin to treat schizophrenia, eventually publishing a book on the subject called “How to Live with Schizophrenia”. Towards the later half of his life he also collaborated with Dr. Pauling and more recently with Dr. Andrew Saul, who has become known more or less as the spokesperson for the movement today. Dr. Andrew Saul has written a best seller called “Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing that Works”, and his website, which is free to all, is an amazing resource for finding help for many ailments (www.doctoryourelf.com).
Orthomolecular medicine is a powerful tool for any Naturopathic Doctor and to my knowledge is used in some form by most, if not all Naturopaths. The body is what does the healing, we simply use different ways to find out what a client will need in terms of supplementation and works towards seeing lasting results. Each client I see is evaluated for more than 40 different substances to see which one(s) may be added to work towards achieving greater health. Not all companies are created equal that make supplements, so I rely on hard scientific evidence that tests various products in certain companies that have proven to have products that are what they say they are.