Quackery Exposed: OrthoMolecular Medicine

OrthoMolecular medicine is a form of alternative or integrative medicine. “Ortho” means straight or correct. Just like an orthodontist corrects teeth. It literally means the correct molecule. Its supposed to maintain human health through nutritional supplements. The concept builds on the idea of an optimal nutritional environment. People who practice orthomolecular medicine believe that disease is a reflection of nutritional deficiencies.

It is pseudo science. There is NO EVIDENCE that high doses of vitamins prevent or fight disease. Studies that have been done have had serious flaws found.

Origin of OrthoMolecular Medicine

The term orthomolecular medicine was coined by Dr. Linus Pauling. He defined the principles of orthomolecular therapy as preserving good health and preventing disease through changing the concentration within the body of the molecules of substances that are necessary for life, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fats.

Pauling described it as “the preservation of good health and treatment of disease by varying the concentration in the human body of substances that are normally present in the body.” He said that the adjective orthomolecular is used to express the idea that the right molecules in the right concentration. He firmly believed that daily supplements in high amounts, in addition to a healthy diet, was the most important step that anyone can take to live long and healthy.

Racist Beginings

Pauling identified sickle cell anemia as the first molecular disease. Sickle cell anemia is predominately a disease of black people. He targeted black people with his quackery. This is blatantly racist.

What OrthoMolecular Medicine is Supposed to Do

Orthomolecular medicine is supposed to restore ideal and beneficial environment of the body by correcting molecular imbalances. They use this approach for cancer, infections, depression, atherosclerosis and many others. They use substances that are familiar to the body such as minerals, vitamins, trace elements, fatty acids and amino acids for this purpose.

Biochemical pathways in the body interest orthomolecular doctors. These pathways are the chemical chain reaction of enzymes and other factors.

The treatment of diseases involves attempts to correct these imbalances or deficiencies based on laboratory tests. These test measure to see how much of each nutrient or mineral is in the body. This approach is called the megavitamin therapy. This is a very high dose of vitamins in attempt to cure disease. An example of this is extremely high intravenous (IV) doses of vitamin C. The doses are exponentially higher than the daily recommended dietary intake.

Side effects of Treatment

  • vomitting
  • increased pressure to the brain
  • swelling in the bones
  • jaundice
  • respiratory infections
  • hair loss
  • bone pain
  • kidney problems

Beliefs of OrthoMolecular Practitioners

All orthomolecular psychiatrists are medical practitioners and many have received psychiatric training. Orthomolecular psychiatrists reject the psychiatric drug based model for treating mental health issues. They believe that a long term drug therapy can worsen mental health.

They believe that psychiatry specializes in suppressing symptoms, orthomolecular medicine offers a viable alternative therapy of correction of the root cause of the symptoms. They believe mental health issues are cause by poor nutrition and allergies.

Many orthomolecular practitioners believe that mental health issues come from allergies. They say that allergies are the most overlooked cause of mental illness.

Another cause of mental illness they believe is hypoglycemia, high glucose. They say this is because there is an interruption in sugar metabolism that is implicated in several mental and physical problems. These symptoms are anxiety, heart palpitations, alcoholism, insomnia, irritability, decreased sex drive, nightmares, violent behavior, crying spells and nervous breakdowns.

Orthomolecular medicine believes that the body is a biochemical factory. This factor doesn’t receive adequate amount of raw materials (nutrition) or receives polluted or impure materials, malfunctioning occurs and symptoms appear.

The people who are deemed to be malnourished have extremely high costs. Orthomolecular medicine says that these people have a grater risk of drug toxicity and increased rates of morbidity and mortality compared to patients with “normal nutritional status.”

Origin of Autism Pseudoscience

Megavitamin therapy is where the idea came from that autistic children are just lacking certain nutrients. If someone looks at the supplements at different companies such as MaryRuth Organics, one will notice that the amount of nutrients in these supplements are exponentially higher than the daily recommended dose. These people are the ones that should be thanked for pumping autistic children with supplements.

Richard Kunin gave a lecture at Defeat Autism Now 1999 conference on just this.

Autism is not cause by poor nutrition.






3 thoughts on “Quackery Exposed: OrthoMolecular Medicine

  1. Love the article! Can you please write an article on an orthomolecular quack named Abram Hoffer at some point in the future? That crazy “doctor” claims to have “cured” a teen girl’s schizophrenia solely through the zinc found in oysters. He actually thinks a zinc deficiency causes schizophrenia!


  2. Pingback: Quack Exposed: Dr. Richard Kunin → Fierce Autie

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