Fact or Fiction: Orthomolecular Medicine

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You may have never heard of it, but you’re probably familiar with some of its basics, like taking vitamins and minerals. No harm there, right? Not necessarily. Test your smarts about orthomolecular medicine with this quiz.

Taking lots of vitamin C can prevent you from catching the common cold.

Some studies show that taking vitamin C during a cold can keep it from lasting as long, but there’s no proof that you can stop the common cold.


Orthomolecular medicine was named by Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling.

In 1968, Dr. Pauling published a paper calling the treatment of disease through nutrition “orthomolecular medicine.”


“Orthomolecular” means “big molecules.”

“Ortho” means “right’ in Greek. Dr. Pauling said that the word means “the right substances in the right amounts.” We’re presuming that those “substances” are vitamins and minerals.


Orthomolecular medicine is a branch of mainstream medicine.

Most people consider it to be in the family of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), along with homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic and others.


It can be difficult to find a doctor who practices orthomolecular medicine.

There aren’t many doctors out there who are orthomolecularists as well, but it’s not entirely impossible to find them. They usually practice other types of CAM.


Orthomolecular medicine is a new field of medicine.

Therapies fitting the definition of orthomolecular medicine have been around since the late 19th century.


If you're deficient in vitamin D, that’s known as having scurvy.

Vitamin C deficiencies, once common among sailors who didn't have access to fresh fruits or vegetables, are called scurvy. The connection between the two is sometimes considered the basis for orthomolecular medicine.


Orthomolecularists have claimed to treat cancer through dietary changes and the use of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Many orthomolecularists prescribe a regimen of vitamin C and antioxidants to cancer patients, used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments.


Orthomolecularists follow the USDA’s Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) when prescribing vitamin and mineral supplements.

The claim is that the RDAs are for healthy people, not sick ones, so the megadoses of vitamins often prescribed by orthomolecularists are necessary to become healthy.


Treatment in orthomolecular medicine depends on the person because each one has a unique biochemistry.

Practitioners believe that it's necessary to personalize regimens and adjust them if needed because each of us have very different requirements.


Orthomolecular psychiatrists believe that some mental illnesses are caused by allergies.

Some claim that testing shows levels of substances in the blood that can indicate a food allergy, so treatment involves eliminating the allergen once you’ve figured it out.


Orthomolecularists have generated names for conditions that have not yet been recognized by the medical community.

Conditions like pyroluria, which is related to abnormal processes in blood production, have been named by orthomolecular psychiatrists but not acknowledged as valid by anyone else.


Orthomolecularists advise their patients to immediately stop their traditional medications in favor of orthomolecular treatment plans.

With a few exceptions, most practictioners believe that both treatment plans can function well together to ensure a healthy patient.


It’s not possible to overdose on a vitamin.

While it’s very rare that anybody overdoses on a vitamin (and even rarer to die from an overdose), some vitamins and supplements are still considered dangerous in large amounts.


Orthomolecular medicine is 100 percent safe and has never harmed anyone.

Some people have died after following the advice of orthomolecular practitioners, although it's rare.


Orthomolecularists are criticized by mainstream medicine for not providing scientific proof of their results.

Critics of orthomolecular medicine claim that practitioners have not submitted their research for independent study and scientific trials.


Practicing orthomolecular medicine can be illegal.

It’s illegal in some cases. Depending on your location, it can be illegal to treat cancer with anything other than surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.


Orthomolecular medicine practitioners claim that they had to create their own journal because mainstream medical journals wouldn’t accept their articles.

Although many orthomolecularists have had articles published in traditional medical journals, some claim that the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine was founded because they were being turned down.


You can follow the basic tenets of orthomolecular medicine on your own.

You can, but that doesn’t mean you should. You can buy most supplements over the counter, but most practitioners believe that you need a personalized treatment plan.


Orthomolecular medicine therapies are expensive compared to mainstream medicine.

It depends on what your condition and treatment plan entails since supplements can be pricey, but they're still generally cheaper than prescription medication.


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