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Taking into account our modern life, one that is moving at a fast pace, working long hours in contaminated environments can make our physical and mental body age prematurely and cause the rise of free radicals in our blood. There is generally a certain element of orthomolecular medicine in conventional medicine, as well; most patients is advised to eat a good diet and to get their daily RDA of vitamins and minerals, but orthomolecular medicine goes much further, applying these principles of daily living to major diseases and extending vitamin intake radically past the RDA's paltry amounts.

Though by no means the first to investigate the properties of the nutrients contained in foods, or the first to consider the medical application of nutritional supplements, his contribution to our understanding of how nutrients work in our bodies and how supplements can affect our health, has not been matched, either before or since.

A recent study at Boston University found that patients with coronary artery disease, given 2 grams of vitamin C per day (which is approximately thirty times the RDA), had clearer arteries by the end of the study. In his seminal article titled Orthomolecular Psychiatry," Pauling synthesized the science linking brain functioning with brain concentrations of diverse vitamins and nutrients (Pauling, 1968).

While the most common "treatment' associated with orthomolecular medicine is with megavitamins or megaminerals, the original idea conceived by Pauling was that mental and physical health are both a matter of having the "right" (ortho) balance of molecules, which would vary from person to person.

Orthomolecular medicine can be used therapeutically to help treat numerous diseases such as arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cancer. This is the treatment of diseases of the mind by providing optimum nutrients, thus enhancing the "chemistry of the brain." It has been found to be very effective in the treatment of mental illness, even schizophrenia.

There are particular combinations of supplements that are used to help the body return to health from the abuse of specific substances. It is not only the job of nutrition to prevent diseases caused by a deficiency of specific nutrients such as scurvy (lack of vitamin C) or rickets (lack of vitamin D) in healthy people.

Undaunted, Pauling continued to push his interests in developing orthomolecular medicine at Stanford and, in May 1973, proposed that the university consider building a new laboratory dedicated to the topic. In the years that followed, Pauling published many research papers and books detailing his findings in the field of orthomolecular medicine until his death in 1994.

People benefit from dietary supplements because of genetic physiological and biochemical variation, exposure to environmental contaminants, free radical damage from normal metabolism, exposure to ultraviolet light or ozone, and specific medical conditions.

The institute later became the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. Much of the research into nutrition has focused on the minimum requirements of nutrients to avoid overt deficiency diseases. It is also important to note that orthomolecular medicine is not a cure for the treatment of all diseases, but they can be an important prerequisite for good health and the treatment of disease.

This article reviews orthomolecular psychiatry's history, current status and possible future, both as a field of scientific and clinical endeavour and as a grassroots movement to increase awareness of the role that proper nutrition can play in the prevention and treatment of serious mental diseases.

This book, written by two leading experts with more than eighty years of experience between them, explains the basics of orthomolecular nutrition: simple rules for eating a healthier diet and effective nutritional supplementation. The final ingredient to Pauling's interest appeared the next year, when Dr. Irwin Stone introduced Pauling to the potential health benefits of large doses of Vitamin C.
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