The orthomolecular treatment is an alternative treatment with nutrients in doses that often far exceed the recommended daily amounts, which the practitioners call “optimal”. The treatments are based on the assumption that higher doses of vitamins and minerals can help the human system.
The scientific consensus is that the usefulness of high doses of vitamins and minerals has not been demonstrated. The treatment is seen by experts as quackery, it is unnecessarily expensive and not without dangers.
The origins of orthomolecular nutrition
Orthomolecular nutrition is part of orthomolecular medicine. The founder of orthomolecular medicine, and therefore of orthomolecular nutrition, is the physician and double Nobel Prize winner Professor Linus Pauling. He introduced the concept in 1968.
“Ortho” means “straight” or “healthy” in Greek and molecular refers to our molecules, the smallest particles of a cell. Orthomolecular nutrition is aimed at obtaining a healthy body by eating the right food and, if that is not enough, using food supplements on a natural basis.
In ancient Greece, scholars such as Hippocrates were already convinced of the beneficial effect that our food can have on our health. Linus Pauling followed this line and drew up a nutritional theory based on healthy food, possibly supplemented with extra vitamins.
What is orthomolecular nutrition?
According to orthomolecular nutrition doctrine, health and nutrition are inextricably linked. Varied, healthy food can keep our body healthy and make it healthy. The orthomolecular diet restores the disturbed balance in the body and, if necessary, uses vitamin supplements on a natural basis.
Orthomolecular nutrition is based on the conviction that in our modern society we have lost the ability to feed ourselves with the substances our body demands. Essential fats, acids, flavonoids, amino acids and vitamins are no longer ingested at all or in too little quantities.
Orthomolecular nutrition returns to the basics, to those substances we need. Of course, the orthomolecular diet does not work overnight. It takes some time for the body to get used to the new fuel and only then will there be positive effects. If necessary, the orthomolecular diet can be supplemented with extra vitamins and minerals.
Is orthomolecular nutrition a diet?
Orthomolecular nutrition is not a temporary diet. It is a change in lifestyle. Patients are guided by a practitioner in switching to a more conscious and responsible diet, in which harmful, artificial substances are banned as much as possible.
According to orthomolecular nutritionists, sugar is the biggest poison in our modern diet. Apart from sugars and sweeteners, according to orthomolecular nutritionists, colorings and flavourings are all sickening ingredients.
How does an orthomolecular treatment plan work?
The therapist will have an extensive conversation with the patient prior to drawing up a diet. In the first instance, this will relate to the physical and/or mental complaints that the person in question is experiencing.
The diet and lifestyle will of course be discussed. Possibly the orthomolecular therapist will ask to keep a kind of diary, in order to get a better picture of the patient's eating habits.
Orthomolecular nutritionists draw up a treatment plan based on personal circumstances, with concrete indications regarding daily eating. In most cases, this involves a total change of raw materials in the diet: no refined sugars, no white flour, no pork, no saturated fats, and lots of vitamins.
An example of an orthomolecular breakfast can look like this:
Wholemeal or sourdough bread possibly with some butter,
Skimmed meats (not pork), goat's cheese, reformed cheese, farm cheese in moderation, nutmeg, tahini, soya paste, carob paste, tofu spread, fruit spread, spiced curd cheese or Hüttenkäse.
Herbal tea without sugar.
Or: muesli with organic garnish, cottage cheese or low-fat yoghurt, without sugar, with some fruit.
Or: possibly fresh fruit.
Furthermore, the orthomolecular nutritionist prescribes additional vitamins and other supplements, depending on the patient's symptoms.
For whom is orthomolecular nutrition suitable?
Orthomolecular nutrition is basically a change of lifestyle and not therapy in the usual sense of the word. It is a lifelong change of lifestyle and a more conscious way of eating.
In case dietary supplements are prescribed, it is advisable to discuss this with a doctor. Overdose can lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Is orthomolecular nutrition suitable for children?
Both adults and children can eat and drink according to orthomolecular guidelines. Those guidelines provide a healthy, balanced and varied diet and such a diet is healthy for young and old.
Where can I find a good orthomolecular practitioner?
On FloridaHealthNews' directory, you can look for a practitioner in your area.