Abram Hoffer started as part of a team with Humphrey Osmond, who is now deceased. Hoffer & Osmond started megavitamin treatment for schizophrenia. In the process of treating schizophrenics they discovered a beneficial side effect of the treatment. It lowered the cholesterol levels. Megavitamin niacin treatment is now used as a cholesterol treatment. The statins have been recently criticized. It seems that they deplete the body of coenzyme Q10. Also there are allegations that they can cause memory loss as a side effect. ECT also causes memory loss. Nevertheless statins do lower cholesterol.
The book that I am reviewing, one of many books by Hoffer, was published in 1996. Some of his previous books were written with Osmond. The book is not obsolete. On the contrary, recent research supports nutritional approaches. The Readers Digest book "Fight Back with Food", published in 2002, presents views very similar to those of Hoffer, although Hoffer is not mentioned.
"Beta carotene inhibits the formation of tumors in animals, and in human subjects the more beta carotene there is in the body, the less risk there is of getting cancer." Hoffer (1996)
The book was read and endorsed by Linus Pauling just before he died. Hoffer & Pauling had similar views.
"Cataracts also are found more frequently in people with lower beta carotene levels. The low beta carotene group had five to seven times the risk of getting cataracts." Hoffer (1996)
Hoffer is against "junk food". He favors a high fiber diet. My own view is that a vegan diet is highest in fiber, although I also take fiber supplements.
Hoffer recommends the avoidance of high salt foods including canned or frozen vegetables, cured; smoked; or canned meats, commercial peanut butter, potato chips, corn chips, processed cheeses, luncheon meats, salted nuts. packaged spice mixes, etc.
He favors the use of high potassium foods including dulse, kelp, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, raisins, parsley, etc. Unfortunately kelp is also high in sodium.
Hoffer started out as a psychiatrist in the Fifties, but later he became interested in nutrition in general. He favors the avoidance of sugar in hyperactivity. His book is favorable to bioflavonoids, which are in grapes, black currants, peppers, rose hips, plums. papaya, prunes, parsley, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, lemon juice, cabbage, cherries, and apricots. Note that all these foods are plants. Bioflavonoids are only found in plant foods. Again this favors the vegan diet.
Hoffer favors the use of vitamin C, which he considers "remarkably safe". He feels that it fights against aging, cancer, and other problems. He favors "orthomolecular nutrition".
Another interesting similar book is "Fight Back with Food" by Reader's Digest. I have discussed that book in another article.
This is a very interesting book, but I disagree with Hoffer about tryptophan. I agree with him on beta carotene. Hoffer favors tryptophan, but I feel that it is a brain allergen in mental illness. I feel that tryptophan floods the brain in mental illness.
The vast majority of the foods that Hoffer favors are plant foods. It seems that many meats are high in salt, which he feels (correctly) is bad. Hoffer supports Pauling's view that vitamin C fights cancer as well as other diseases.
Hoffer is editor of Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. He is in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
"It is amazing how few people get even the ridiculously low RDAs recommended for vitamin C." Hoffer M.D., Ph.D. The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 16, 2nd Quarter 2001
Unfortunately cooking can destroy vitamin C.