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Orthomolecular Medicine: Megavitamin Therapy

In 1968, Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Ph.D., coined the term orthomolecular, which he used to describe a nutritional therapy which involves the use of naturally occurring substances, normally present in the body in large doses, to treat disease. The idea was to try to correct nutritional compound imbalances, which are the root of biological dysfunction. The use of nutrients in therapeutic doses still sparks considerable debate, although evidence is mounting that these compounds can act as powerful medicines. Moreover, they advocate the notion that each person is different; therefore, their nutrient requirements can vary according to their particular biological type. Moreover, orthomolecular physicians believe that biochemical individuality can play a crucial role in health maintenance and that RDA levels of nutrients are not adequate when disease conditions are present.

Although meeting the RDAs for nutrients may prevent the occurance of deficiencies that lead to disease, orthomolecular physicians believe that these levels do not provide for optimal health. In other words, people need much more than the suggested RDA levels to maintain health or fight disease. Animal studies have shown that vitamin C needs in animals can vary as much as 200 percent in different members of the same species. When it comes to humans, evidence suggests that older individuals need more vitamin B12, that women may need more folic acid than previously thought and men need more zinc. Orthomolecular medicine is based on the notion that nutrition must be the first variable considered in coming to a diagnosis before attempting to treat the disease. If the disease is linked to a nutrient imbalance, it can be cured nutritionally. This discipline also advocates the idea that no one set standard of nutritional amounts applies to everyone universally. Genetics, personality, stress, environmental factors, age, sex, etc., all determine individual nutrient needs. In addition, drugs should be used judiciously, and blood tests to determine nutrient levels are not always accurate.

Information provided in the Education section is provided by Woodland Publishing, Inc. and/or other independent third parties that are unaffiliated with Nutraceutical Corporation, and is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in the Education section are the views of the authors and have not been independently viewed or confirmed by Nutraceutical, and are not necessarily the views of Nutraceutical Corporation. © 1998-2003 Woodland Publishing, Inc. and/or the respective copyright owner. For more information call Woodland Publishing at 800 877-8702.

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