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2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, said to his students, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”. Moses Maimonides, the great 12th century physician, repeated the Hippocratic statement when he said, “No illness which can be treated by diet should be treated by any other means”. In essence, Hippocrates and Maimonides were insisting that their students practice nutrient therapy.
This type of medical therapy is being used by doctors today, but only by a minority. It is more likely to be applied by nutritionists who have studied the specialist subject of nutrition in depth. There is little training in nutrition at medical schools and unless a doctor has pursued the study of nutrition out of choice, he or she is unlikely to be sufficiently informed to advise about optimum nutrition.
In 1968 one of the great minds of this century, twice Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, coined the term Orthomolecular Nutrition. “Orthomolecular” is, literally, “pertaining to the right molecule”. Pauling proposed that by giving the body the right molecules (optimum nutrition) most disease would be eradicated. This Website is based on Pauling’s premise that “Optimum nutrition is the medicine of the future”.
Ortho vs. Toxic Medicine
Orthomolecular doctors and nutritionists believe that the treatment of infectious and degenerative diseases should be a matter of varying the concentration of “right molecules”(i.e. vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, hormones, etc.) which are present in the body. The optimum nutritional micro-environment of every cell in the body is vital to achieve or restore optimal health; deficiencies in this environment cause the body to be more susceptible to disease and degeneration.
The list of necessary nutrients is the same for every human being, but the relative amounts needed by each individual are as distinctly different as the shape of people’s bodies,and for this reason a “one for all” daily nutritional requirement is impossible to specify.
Why is this? Because the kind of food you eat, the physical, mental and emotional stress you experience, the environment in which you live and work, your inherited biochemical and physiological makeup, the constituents of soil in which your food is grown, the contents of water you drink, the amount of exercise you have, and many other factors, determine the fact that you are a unique individual with unique needs.
In other words, your optimum daily need is determined by your own biochemical uniqueness, which in turn relates to your mental and spiritual state. Optimum nutrition is not just about preventing or reversing disease states, to cross the line where deficiency is directly causing disease; more than that, it is about living optimally, where you have room to stretch your physical, mental and spiritual “muscles” to the full, without overstepping the threshold at which cellular health in any of the systems of the body becomes threatened.
By contrast, Toximolecular medicine, used by the majority of doctors (especially in the past 50 years) is the administration of drugs at sub-lethal levels. Drugs, of course, are alien chemicals which serve to cover-up the disease process – to mask the difficulty, not eliminate the real cause. They offer symptomatic relief but often at the cost of severe and dangerous side effects. They create dependence on the part of the patient and often complicate the doctor’s job by erasing valuable clues as to the real source of the trouble.
Of course, drugs can save the life of an ill patient, as can surgery and the other techniques at which doctors are so expert. But the paradigm is changing. As a doctor in Dublin recently said, “The evidence for nutritional therapy is becoming so strong that if the doctors of today don’t become nutritionists, the nutritionists will become the doctors of tomorrow.”
Patrick Holford, Director of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London which is at the forefront of research and education in this field, makes this very clear:
“Tomorrow’s medicine will not be about using nutrients instead of drugs. It will be about looking through a new pair of glasses which reveal the true causes of disease. In most cases these lie in faulty nutrition, pollution, stress, negativity, addiction and lack of exercise – the greatest cause of all being ignorance. The original meaning of the word ‘doctor’ is “teacher or learned man” and that is perhaps the most important role a health professional can perform”.