Â An old joke is that neurologists know everything and do nothing, neurosurgeons know nothing and do everything, and psychiatrists know nothing and do nothing. This is not a kind joke, but there are some elements of truth to it. I feel that it is a bit pessimistic. It is unfair to say that psychiatrists do nothing.
Â In 1908 Clifford Beers wrote a book that exposed poor conditions in a mental hospital he was kept in. He became a famous advocate for the mentally ill.
The Rise of Orthomolecular Medicine
Â “Orthomolecules come first in medical diagnosis and treatment. Knowledge of the safe and effective use of nutrients, enzymes, hormones, antigens, antibodies and other naturally occurring molecules is essential to assure a reasonable standard of care in medical practice.” orthomolecular.org
Â I pretty much agree with the above statement except that I do not feel that antigens are useful as treatments. Also there are food allergies which need to be considered. Some people are allergic to phenylalanine. Some are allergic to sugar.
Â “Orthomolecules have a low risk of toxicity. Pharmacological drugs always carry a higher risk and are therefore second choice if there is an orthomolecular alternative treatment.” orthomolecular.org
Â I don’t know who wrote the above quote, but I feel that it is valuable. In other words, nutrition is safer than drugs.
Â Dr. Abram Hoffer is President of the Huxley Institute. It has a website at schizophrenia.org.
Â “This may well be a statement you’ve heard before, but because it still applies to millions of Americans, I think it bears repeating: one of the greatest American tragedies is the neglect much of the medical world continues to exhibit towards suffering from schizophrenic and other biochemical related mental disorders, especially those patients who are poor, and thus unable to afford often exorbitant physician’s fees. At the Huxley Institute-American Schizophrenia Association, we have been trying a way to bring effective and low cost treatment to these people who will otherwise waste away in the barred rooms of institutions, or spend their entire lives suffering in an agony they don’t understand and can’t escape from because no one can find the time or the resources to help them.” Hoffer
Â “Orthomolecular psychiatry, a treatment that costs substantially less than the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars on psychotherapy and other related “classical” treatments, has already cured, or greatly aided in the recovery of over 30,000 patients who were previously given up as “hopeless” cases, not worthy of any further effort on the part of a physician or psychiatrist. Yet the benefits of this therapy are often questioned by those who refuse to admit the possibility that, in the decades “accepted” treatment techniques have been in use, they have failed, for the most part, to afford even minimal relief to those who have been crippled for years with the many forms of mental disease.” Abram Hoffer M.D., Ph.D.
Â Hoffer is in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Â In 1902 Wilhelm Wundt of Germany wrote the book “Physiological Psychology”. It was translated into English in 1904 by a British scientist. This book is a good introduction to work on the brain done in the 19th century. Wundt would often copy drawings by other scientists, but he gave the other scientists credit.
Â I have spent a great deal of time reading Wundt’s book because I wanted to learn all that I could about the brain, neurons, and glial cells. Unfortunately he doesn’t discuss glial cells, which were neglected in the 19th century.
The Tryptophan Theory
Â There are two tryptophan theories, and perhaps more. One theory is that there is a deficiency of tryptophan leading to a shortage of serotonin in depression. This theory was based on a paper by Coppen of England who found tryptophan to be low in the CSF of depressives. However, I feel that this theory is wrong even though Coppen’s data was correct. My theory is that the reason tryptophan is low in the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) is that a transport error is causing tryptophan to flood the brain cells. The result of this is that it is low in the CSF. The opposite is true of glucose.
Â My original theory was that amino acids were flooding the brain cells. I got this from the fact that the Nissl bodies were being destroyed, which would be explained if amino acids were flooding the cells. Also there were fat deposits, which would also be explained by the same theory.
Â However, I experimented with the PKU diet, which is very low in amino acids. The results were not as good as I had hoped. The PKU diet allows sugar and candy. I knew that sugar causes tryptophan to flood the brain cells. I then did an experiment on myself, which I do not recommend to others. I took a massive amount of sugar to see what would happen.Â This would be very bad for a diabetic, but I am not a diabetic.
Â I very relaxed for a short time. Then it hit me. I started to sweat. I started to get very nervous. I became exhausted. After this very bad experience I decided that sugar is bad, and the reason may be that it is causing tryptophan to flood the brain.
Â This same theory may also be valid for alcoholics.Â Alcoholics who are not drinking may have too much tryptophan in the brain.
Â For more details on this theory, consult the references.
Â I felt that orthomolecular psychiatry was correct. Therefore I decided to modify the PKU diet by restricting sugar and candy and cake. Sweets are bad. I decided to cross the PKU diet with the Harris diet, which was recommended by Adelle Davis in the book “Let’s Get Well”.Â There is a theory that Davis was a quack. I feel that she was a prophet. She advocated the use of nutrition to fight cancer. This was criticized, but was later backed by Linus Pauling. New studies support Pauling’s view.
Â The Harris diet is unusual because it favors three small meals with snacks in between. Harris devised it to treat hypoglycemia. The idea is to minimize the secretion of insulin. This worked for hyperinsulinism, also called hypoglycemia.
Â Some may think that I am jumping from field to field like a grasshopper. Pauling was criticized for doing this. However, I believe in looking at a problem from as many angles as I can.