"No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them! And we are running to big stomachs.

No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or a fixed proportion of starches, proteins, and carbohydrates. We now know that it must contain, in addition, something like a score of mineral salts.

It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives."

-Dr. Charles Northen, physician and biological farming pioneer, 1936 United States Senate Document (No. 264)

Because modern agricultural practices strip the soil of minerals and essential microorganisms, humans are severely malnourished. Minerals make vitamins, and they are necessary for every function of life. According to the USDA's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, published in 1998, the majority of Americans are not consuming enough vitamins and minerals in their diet.

In his seminal 1968 article, Orthomolecular Psychiatry, two-time Nobel prizewinner Dr. Linus Pauling coined the term “orthomolecular.” This term originates from a combination of the Greek word ortho, meaning “right” or “correct,” and “molecule,” the smallest unit of a compound that takes part in chemical processes. Orthomolecular literally means “the right molecule.”

Orthomolecular medicine, also known as “megavitamin therapy,” “megamineral therapy,” “biochemical intervention,”or simply “nutritional medicine,” is the practice of treating and preventing disease by giving the body ideal amounts of the substances it naturally produces. It is scientifically based, and it makes use of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients through diet or supplements to create a biochemical balance in the body.

According to Dr. Richard A. Kunin, author of Principles That Identify Orthomolecular Medicine: A Unique Medical Specialty, the practice of orthomolecular medicine relies on several areas of scientific knowledge, including nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, endocrinology, and toxicology. There are numerous types of therapy that encompass this practice, including:

• vitamins
• minerals
• amino acids
• essential fatty acids
• fiber
• enzymes
• cell therapy
• chelation therapy

Dr. Kunin identifies seven cardinal rules of orthomolecular medicine. The first rule is that nutrition should always come first when diagnosing and treating a patient. The second is that drugs should only be used for specific indications, and that adverse effects and potential dangers should be taken very seriously.

The third rule is that food adulteration and environmental pollution are virtually inescapable in our modern society, and these issues should be a medical priority. The fourth is that everyone's biochemistry is different; therefore Recommended Daily Value (RDA) guidelines are largely unreliable. The fifth rule is that blood tests don't necessarily reflect nutrient levels in the body's tissues.

The sixth rule is that a diagnosis of nutrients in a patient's body is always justifiable because the vast majority of nutrient-related conditions are curable or responsive to treatment. Finally, the seventh rule is that hope is indispensable to the doctor and it is the absolute right of the patient.

The first individual to demonstrate a correlation between nutrient deficiency and disease was a British navy physician named James Lind. During this time, sailors commonly developed scurvy, a disease characterized by a breakdown in body tissues, which led to bleeding gums, slow-healing wounds, poor muscle elasticity, and in many cases, death. In 1757, Lind conducted one of the earliest controlled nutritional experiments. He discovered that when a group of sailors were given limes, oranges, and lemons in their diet, they didn’t get scurvy. This new revelation prompted Capt. James Cook to order that every British sailor be given limes and lemons so that they could be deployed for long voyages without getting the disease. It is now widely recognized that scurvy is caused by a deficiency in vitamin C.

In 1883, a British-trained Japanese medical doctor, Takaki Kanehiro, who was serving with the Japanese Navy, observed that the lower-ranked members of the Japanese Naval crew and the population in general showed symptoms of beriberi. Most people were often eating nothing but rice. Many of the people in the Navy and the society at large died from this disease.

With the support of the Japanese Government, Dr. Kanehiro conducted an experiment, sending out a ship where the crew was fed a diet of fish, beans, meat, barley, and rice. This crew only suffered 14 cases of beriberi, and none of the afflicted crew members died. This was enough evidence to convince the Japanese Navy and Dr. Kanehiro that beriberi was caused by diet. It was later discovered to be a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

In 1893, Dutch physician Christiaan Eijkman demonstrated that polished rice caused beriberi in chickens. Elmer McCollum, an American biochemist, later discovered vitamin B in 1916, but in 1929, Dr. Eijkman was credited for the discovery with the Nobel Prize, along with British biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, for medicine and physiology. Eijkman had spent a good portion of his career trying to prove that beriberi was caused by an infection, while his nemesis, Evart van Dieren, held the opinion that the disease was caused by a poison. These two men battled through letters and highly passionate articles. Eijkman believed that the unpolished rice was a preventative measure against beriberi.

The two scientists held their ground, making political attacks on each other, while scientists like Casimir Funk continued to study the real cause of the disease. In 1912, Dr. Funk and Sir Frederick Hopkins, a British biochemist and founding father of modern biochemistry, proposed that deficiencies in particular vitamins led to different diseases.

Many other scientists and physicians have contributed to the wealth of knowledge we now have about nutrition and disease. These people included Max Gershon, who observed that cancer can be cured with detoxification and nutrition, William McCormick, who discovered a link between vitamin C deficiency and heart disease, cancer, and a wide range of other diseases, Roger J. Williams, who founded the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, which was responsible for more vitamin-related discoveries than any other laboratory in the world.

Since Pauling’s 1968 article, orthomolecular medicine has helped tens of thousands of people to treat and prevent many of today's major health conditions, including depression, autism, cancer, bipolar disorder, high cholesterol, HIV/AIDS, schizophrenia, ADHD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and asthma.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Locklear is the cofounder of The Global Peace Project, and has served as its President since 1986. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Total Health, and he has conducted more than thirty years of research into the science of the mind, health and nutrition, human behavior, and emotional well-being. He exposes the lies propagated by the government, medical professionals, the food industry, and the media and unveils the truth about what it takes to break the hypnotic trances that block our ability to achieve total health, wealth, and happiness.

For information on Michael’s research, visit his site, www.Natural-Remedies-for-Total-Health.com, which provides well-researched and scientifically supported advice on how to achieve a balance of the mind, brain, and body, resulting in total health.