Sunday, September 14, 2008

Orthomolecular medicine

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(Redirected from Orthomolecular)
Orthomolecular medicine is a form of complementary and alternative medicine which aims to prevent and treat disease with substances which are natural to the body. Prescriptions typically focus on providing nutrients, either through dietary supplements or modified diets which provide proper nutrition and eliminate deleterious substances[1] such as allergens, refined foods, sugar and transfats.[2][3]
The term "orthomolecular" was first coined in a 1967 letter[4] by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling and later elaborated on in a 1968 paper[5] on micronutrients and psychiatry to express the idea of "the right molecules in the right amounts" (ortho is Greek for right[6]). In this paper, Pauling indicated that the right molecules are "substances that are normally present in the human body."
Orthomolecular medicine began with a particular focus upon mental illness, and orthomolecular psychiatry remains a major subdiscipline.[7] Proponents state that orthomolecular treatments are based on patients' personal biochemistries[8] and employ naturally-occurring or bioequivalent biomolecules, particularly nutrients such as vitamins, dietary minerals, proteins, antioxidants,[9] amino acids, lipotropes,[10] prohormones, dietary fiber, fatty acids and other similar substances,[11] as well as various digestive factors.[12][13]
Some megavitamin therapies can be classified as components of orthomolecular medicine. Orthomolecular practitioners often recommend levels beyond the Recommended Daily Allowance, especially in the prescription of vitamin C megadosage. Megavitamin therapies have become relatively popular, with a survey in 2002 finding that approximately one in twenty-five US adults use high doses of vitamins as a form of therapy,[14] with this being particularly common in people diagnosed with cancer.[15]
Nutrients may be useful in preventing and treating some illnesses,[16][17] but the conclusions of medical research are that the broad claims of disease treatment by advocates of orthomolecular medicine are unsubstantiated by the available evidence.[18][19][16] The American Medical Association stated in 1997 that "much of the dietary intervention stressed by alternative healers is prudent and reasonable", but described as a "myth" the idea that "most diseases are caused by faulty diets and can be prevented by nutritional interventions".[20] Critics have described some aspects of orthomolecular medicine as food faddism or quackery.[21][22][23] Research on nutrient supplementation in general suggests that some nutritional supplements might be beneficial, and that others might be harmful.[24][25] Continue Reading >>

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