Dr. Abram Hoffer – Treatment of Schizophrenia


Dr. Abram Hoffer on the Treatment of Schizophrenia
Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD (Medical Doctor), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), RNCP (Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner), founder of The Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre.

I have a PhD from the University of Minnesota, a Medical Degree from Toronto. I’m a Fellow Neuropharmacology Physician in Canada. I became Director of Psychiatric Research in the Province of Saskatchewan of the Department of Public Health in 1950 until 1967. I was Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan; at that time I was in charge of very large research programs and we became known for our work in psychedelic drugs.

Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia. COMBAT SCHIZOPHRENIA WITH THE MEGAVITAMIN AND NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES OF ORTHOMOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY – Schizophrenia is a disease and syndrome with biochemical origins that has the hallmarks of debilitating perceptual disorders and thought disturbances. Orthomolecular psychiatry, a treatment strategy that uses megadoses of vitamins B-3 and C in conjunction with correct nutrition, yields a 90 percent recovery rate in acute cases and up to 50 percent in chronic patients. This guide by the cofounder of orthomolecular therapy offers a step-by-step approach so that patients and their families will get the maximum benefits from treatment.

From the Publisher
THE MAGIC OF ORTHOMOLECULAR TREATMENT – Orthomolecular treatment of schizophrenia is a comprehensive approach that includes megavitamin therapy, nutrition, and counseling of both patient and family members. This guide, written by a cofounder of orthomolecular psychiatry, outlines the strategies you will need to get an informed diagnosis, proper treatment, and appropriate, flexible follow-up for the schizophrenic patient.

In fact, there’s a film called Psychedelic Pioneers, which on the first 10 years of our research, when we made our major discoveries about Schizophrenia and about the use of vitamins as a potentially good treatment.

In 1967, I resigned from my two jobs. They were nice cushy jobs. I didn’t have to do anything. I could have stayed there forever until I retired when I turned 65, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to help patients.

I opened a private practice in Saskatoon, moved to Victoria in 1976. At the end of that year, I surrendered my medical license for many reasons. I opened up a new business, The Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre. That year I was sitting in the office of OVIC (Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre).

Can you explain what orthomolecular is?

It was a term developed by Dr. Linus Pauling who was a good friend of mine. “Ortho” means correct. Molecule, molecule, we know what that is. [ Molecule: The smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms; a group of like or different atoms held together by chemical forces. ]

Dr. Linus Pauling implied that the human body would function normally as long as it was able to obtain the right natural molecules that it needed in order to survive. As long as the body had the right number of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, hormones, and all these other things [nutrients], it was okay. Orthomolecular Medicine meant that we would emphasize the use of these natural components to provide treatment on the assumption that in most cases there was something wrong in these different elements [vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids, hormones, enzymes, etc.].

Dr. Linus Pauling published the term “Orthomolecular Medicine” in 1968 in an article in Science Magazine. It was a very major article. The term, Orthomolecular Medicine, was accepted with hostility, fantastic hostility and the medical community became extremely hostile to Dr. Pauling. They hadn’t heard about me so I didn’t get any of that hostility. But Dr. Pauling was a double Nobel Prize winner so he stuck his foot out. They said he was a mere PhD, in fact he had 48 of them. He also had many DSEs, Doctor of Science. But they [the medical community] said he ought not to be making any statements about the use of vitamins. In fact, it was Dr. Linus Pauling’s work with the structure of molecules and the reactions of molecules within the body that created the basis for modern medicine today.

Orthomolecular Medicine means we emphasize proper nutrition; the use of vitamins in adequate quantities, which may mean large or small. Minerals, we use everything we can to help our patients get well. We are not against drugs. We are against the ways in which drugs are used today. We are in favour of the proper use of drugs. That is, in minor quantities and get the patient off as soon as you can. So, that’s Orthomolecular Medicine.

What sort of results have you found using orthomolecular medicine?

The main difference is that our patients get well. Now, the term “cure” does not exist in psychiatry. You didn’t know that, did you? If you look in the standard psychiatric dictionary, the word “cure” has been deleted because the average psychiatric point of view is that you cannot cure anyone. You cannot cure them, you can help them. You can relieve them of some of the symptoms but you cannot cure them. So that’s why they are contend ??? with some of the schizophrenic patients, who are placed on heavy medication so he’s no longer hallucinating, he’s not longer hearing voices, and seeing visions. The fact now that he can’t function; he’s sitting at home salivating and watching television all day, psychiatrists think that’s great. After all, that’s all they’re expected to do, they’re expected to merely get them out of the hospital so they can stay at home and let their family worry about them.

On the other hand, we don’t have that view. My friends and I, in the field of orthomolecular psychiatry, we are aiming at recovery. A young patient I saw in 1973, I think it was, when he was 15 or 16, he was schizophrenic. I started him on the orthomolecular approach which meant paying attention to the right nutrition. Getting him off junk food, getting him on the right vitamins which in his case was vitamin B3, niacin. I think it was niacin. I only saw him once or twice because at that time I left Saskatoon to come here [Victoria, B.C.], so I couldn’t see him anymore. Today he is on the Professorial Staff at Oxford University in England. He’s normal, he’s been normal ever since.

I’ve seen over 5,000 schizophrenic patients. I know 17 men who were Schizophrenic in their teens, who recovered and became doctors. One today heads up a Pediatric clinic; he’s a graduate of Harvard University. One today is the head of a large psychiatric department in an American University. The third one became the head of the Canadian Psychiatric Association; he had been a patient of mine. These were young men who were seriously sick and who became doctors and who were able to practice.

[With orthomolecular medicine] We are aiming toward recovery. We can’t always get there, but we try. There are 4 things you have to do to help people get well.

1. You have to give them shelter. You never get the homeless well. You cannot treat the homeless and half the homeless are schizophrenic. They’ve been very shabbly treated. There are no shelter.

2. Secondly, you have to have good food. You have to have really good food, as we all agree with that.

3. They have to be treated with civility; they have to be treated with respect. They have to be treated as humans. Today, unfortunately, in psychiatry, too often the patients are not treated that way at all. They’re badly treated, mistreated. They’re forced to take injections against their will, even though that’s against the law in Canada.

4. The fourth aspect of treatment is what I call orthomolecular. They have to be given the right combination of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and medication if necessary. But the medication has to be used carefully and all to make sure the medication is not damaged in that process.

The main message has to be that we have to change the system. The system is sick and corrupt. We have to change the system. Eventually we have to make the medical profession accountable. Someone has to ask the medical professional, “Why do you tolerate this?” We have to ask them that. What we need in Canada is an independent commission headed by a Judge, broad-sweeping commission to actually examine the whole issue, “Why is the medical profession not being held accountable?”

If you blame anyone, who do you blame? You blame the drug companies? You blame the hospitals? You blame the government for not putting enough money in the system? You blame the food supply? Have you ever heard of anyone saying to the medical profession, “How come you don’t do a better job?” Have you ever heard that? Well, I think this has to be examined.

If you go to a hospital and you say, “Why don’t you do better job?” They’ll say I will, give me more money, give me more staff, more doctors, more nurses. They don’t give a damn. You can give them 10 times more doctors. If you have the wrong treatment, the patients still won’t get well.

Big Pharma controls medicine today. They give huge grants to the medical schools. Often times, these medical schools don’t have time to do any other studies. They just obediently work for the drug companies. Big Pharma controls everything. In the United States alone, in [2006] they spent $19 billion dollars, $19 billion dollars a year advertising to doctors. They claim the advertising doesn’t persuade doctors, which is kind of funny. If the advertising didn’t persuade doctors, why would Big Pharma spend $19 billion trying to do that? They control the journals. Any medical journal today that you pick up, at least half the pages are drug ads. You’ll never find an ad for good food, you won’ find an ad for vitamins, you won’t find an ad for holistic health. You won’t find an ad for these things.

We are really in a terrible situation. The system is really sick. You can quote me literally. I think the system is absolutely sick and it has to be changed. I’m not the only one who says that. The Province of Ontario said the same thing. The latest Senate Committee by Senator Kirby said the same thing. If you read his report, he says [the healthcare system] is dysfunctional. He called the Canadian Health Care system dysfunctional. That means it’s sick. All these people who have looked at it, studied it, written books about it, all maintain that the healthcare system is sick. And I agree. We have to do something about it.

What do you think we should do?

We have to do what you’re doing. We have to inform the public. We have to let the public know exactly what is happening. Because right now, they don’t know.


Alternative Medicine Review, December 2008 by Abram Hoffer, Jonathan Prousky
The article looks at the effectiveness of optimal daily doses of vitamin B<sub>3</sub> for the treatment of schizophrenia based on studies by Doctor Abram Hoffer. It cites that a combination of perceptual changes and thought disorders characterized schizophrenia. It states that vitamin B<sub>3</sub> could possibly help reduce the quantity of adrenochrome in the brain by limiting the production of adrenaline. It mentions the findings of a number of randomized controlled clinical trials conducted by Hoffer on schizophrenic patients in Canada.
Excerpt from Article:

Guest Editorial

Alternative Medicine Review Volume 13, Number 4 2008

Successful Treatment of Schizophrenia Requires Optimal Daily Doses of Vitamin B^
For over 50 years Dr. Abram Hoffer has been educating clinicians about the need to correctly (optimally) dose schizophrenics with vitamin B^ (niacin; niacinamide). For the past 10 years I have, likewise, educated numerous naturopathic and medical doctors about the very same thing. For some reason, both types of clinicians routinely treat schizophrenic patients with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other natural health products, but they never provide enough vitamin B^. In these authors opinions, schizophrenic patients cannot get well if not provided with optimal doses of vitamin B^. This prevents the real acceptance of nutritional treatment since clinicians will not observe favorable results when inadequate treatment is provided; their schizophrenic patients will continue to suffer needlessly. To understand the importance of vitamin B^ treatment, some background information is needed. Schizophrenia is characterized by a combination of perceptual changes (e.g., hallucinations) and thought disorders (e.g., delusions).’ These aberrant mental states, which can lead to psychotic behavior, cause a tremendous amount of emotional and psychological suffering. The cause of schizophrenia, the subject of much debate, is considered a biochemical imbalance, although certain genetic factors most certainly play a role. The majority of scientists and psychiatrists subscribe to the dopamine excess theory of schizophrenia; i.e., that too much dopamine is largely responsible for the symptoms of psychosis. However, since 1952, Hoffer, the founding father of orthomolecular medicine, has researched, published, and expanded on the adrenochrome theory of schizophrenia.”^ He and his colleagues, Drs. Osmond and Smythies, arrived at this theory by studying and researching the effects of substances such as mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and amphetamines – all of which can cause a clinical syndrome in normal individuals that would be clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Osmond and Smythies noted that mescaline had a similar chemical structure to that of adrenaline. Hoffer, Osmond, and Smythies concluded that since both can be converted to Indoles in the body, the potential schizophrenic toxin might be an indole derivative of adrenaline with similar neurochemical properties to that of mescaline or LSD. They eventually deduced that the schizophrenic toxin was an oxidized derivative of adrenaline known as adrenochrome. Since the early 1930s, the adrenochrome theory has been validated by the following findings:

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Alternative Medicine Review Volume 13, Number 4 2008

Guest Editorial

1. Adrenochrome and its close relatives – dopaminochrome (from dopamine) and noradrenochrome (from noradrenaline) – are present in the human brain.”^ 2. These compounds probably induce a combination of neurotoxic and mindmood-altering effects.^’^ 3. Reducing adrenochrome, dopaminochrome, and noradrenochrome is therapeutic for the treatment of schizophrenia.^ To reduce the production of adrenochrome, HofFer and his team decided on the methyl acceptor vitamin B^. This vitamin, previously used to treat pellagra (a disease clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia) had relevant biochemical properties.^’^ HofFer and his team researched the metabolism of adrenaline. They knew that the reaction involving noradrenaline to adrenaline required the addition of one methyl group. Because vitamin Bj was known to function as a methyl acceptor, HofFer’s team theorized that an optimum dose of niacin might decrease the amount of noradrenaline that would be converted to adrenaline. Since adrenochrome was thought to be an oxidized derivative of adrenaline, vitamin B^ could help reduce the quantity of adrenochrome by simply limiting the production of adrenaline. HofFer and his team also discovered an additional biochemical property of vitamin B^ that would help to explain its therapeutic efficacy. Vitamin B^ is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which is present in both oxidized (NAD) and reduced (NADH) forms in the body. In the brain, adrenaline loses one electron to become oxidized adrenaline. If enough NAD and N A D H are available then the oxidized adrenaline is reconverted to adrenaline. These back and forth processes continue to occur in the presence of sufficient vitamin B^ coenzymes. However, in the absence of sufficient NAD and N A D H , the oxidized adrenaline loses an additional electron and becomes adrenochrome. This last reaction is irreversible, and presumably occurs in much greater concentrations in the schizophrenic brain. That being said, where is the proof? Can vitamin B^ help in the treatment of acute and chronic schizophrenia? The first report on the therapeutic use of vitamin B^ for schizophrenia was presented in 1952 at the Saskatchewan Committee on Schizophrenia. At this meeting, eight cases were presented, each demonstrating favorable effects from giving 1-10 g vitamin B^, and, in the majority of cases, equal amounts of vitamin C.^ After a more involved pilot study demonstrated excellent therapeutic responses to vitamin B^,^ the first North American double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment was undertaken to assess …



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