Orthomolecular medicine is the practice of restoring the nutritional and chemical balance of the human body to treat or prevent illnesses from influenza and colds to schizophrenia and epilepsy. The medical community is divided on this method of treatment. Some believe that the health benefits are illusory, while practitioners and many patients claim it is effective.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Computer with Internet access
Know that this treatment originated in the 1950s when doctors developed this method to treat mental disorders with vitamins.
Discover the involvement in 1968 of Linus Pauling who popularized the idea of introducing 'the right molecules in the right amounts' to treat sicknesses related to psychiatry.
Study the claims that orthomolecular medicine can treat diseases like acne, cancer and clinical depression. You can purchase 'Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition' through Amazon.com (see Resources below).
Find answers about the treatment online. The Orthomolecular.org Web site has a detailed historical timeline, as well as medical data and other resources (see Resources below).
Learn the History of Orthomolecular Medicine
Realize that many in the medical community classify orthomolecular medicine as 'alternative medicine'. Practitioners believe that Orthomolecular Medicine is not an alternative to conventional medicine, but rather a complement. The use of insulin to regulate blood-sugar levels is an example of orthomolecular medicine, yet no one considers it to be 'alternative medicine.'
Appreciate this treatment's commitment to natural health. It only manipulates the levels of nutrients that occur naturally within the body, whereas pharmaceuticals introduce foreign or synthetic chemicals into the body.
Speak to a practitioner by finding one online. The American College for Advancement in Medicine has a Web site that allows you to locate orthomolecular doctors in the United States (see Resources below).
Learn About Both Sides of the Debate
Tips and warnings
- Cost for orthomolecular medicine varies, but is generally moderately priced. You may have to purchase massive doses of vitamins or insulin, depending on what your practitioner prescribes.
- Many in the medical community regard orthomolecular medicine as a last resort after conventional medicine has failed. This practice is not advised for primary care nor should it be used as exclusive treatment. Consult your physician before undergoing this treatment.
- Visit an emergency room right away if you run a dangerously high fever. Have someone drive you or take a cab.
- Before you start any alternative medical technique, be aware that many have not been scientifically evaluated. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and discipline has its own rules about how alternative medicine practitioners are licensed. If you decide to visit one, choose one licensed by a recognized national organization. Consult your primary health care provider and keep your doctor informed about the alternative medical technique you undertake.