Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD
Three hundred years ago, when the major disease was smallpox, Sir Thomas Sydenham [1624-89] developed a new treatment that reduced the death rate from about 50 percent to 1 percent or 2 percent. His reward was being challenged to a duel. The English medical association wanted to drive him out. He wrote: "A new idea is like a sapling in the middle of a road, and if it's not fenced in, it will be galloped over by the trampling hordes." That's a really great statement, and it's also my view of what happens to medical discovery. Abram Hoffer MD, PhD Interviewed by Peter Barry Chowka On Orthomolecular Medicine
"To this day I have treated about 800 cancer patients. But I got into working with cancer patients by a fluke. I have a referral practice in Canada, and general practitioners decide which of their patients should be sent to a psychiatrist like me. In 1978, a woman with pancreatic cancer who started taking 10 g a day of vitamin C on her own was told by her family doctor, "Why don't you see Dr. Hoffer, he's an expert on vitamins." (By this time I had been so identified in Canada.) I simply modified her program and suggested she take as much vitamin C as she could. She went up to 40 g a day. Then I added some other nutrients. She came back a month later and said she was feeling fine. Six months later she phoned me with the good news that she had just had a CAT scan and it couldn't find the tumor. She said her doctors didn't believe it--they thought something had gone wrong with the machine, so they ran the test again. But the tumor was gone. It's one case. But single cases mean something. They indicate trends. By the way, the woman is still alive and well today, almost 20 years later. -----Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD 1997 Interview by Peter Barry Chowka.
"The next case was a man with prostate cancer that had spread and was invading the pubic bone. The cancer clinic told him it was untreatable. He came to see me and I put him on a nutritional program including injectable vitamin C. Six months later I got a call from the man's doctor. He said, "Hey, the cancer is gone. On the X-ray, we can't see any tumor." I said, "Great. You can stop the injections and just carry on with the oral C." The patient died nine years later of a coronary when he was 80. -----Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD 1997 Interview by Peter Barry Chowka.
"I don't think there's been any major shift in the medical profession's general approach to new ideas. I don't think there ever will be that kind of wholesale change. Three hundred years ago, when the major disease was smallpox, Sir Thomas Sydenham [1624-89] developed a new treatment that reduced the death rate from about 50 percent to 1 percent or 2 percent. His reward was being challenged to a duel. The English medical association wanted to drive him out. He wrote: "A new idea is like a sapling in the middle of a road, and if it's not fenced in, it will be galloped over by the trampling hordes." That's a really great statement, and it's also my view of what happens to medical discovery." -----Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD 1997 Interview by Peter Barry Chowka.
"Pharmaceutical companies are very annoyed with niacin because their products have to compete with it. Some of their cholesterol-lowering drugs cost up to $150 a month while niacin costs about $10." -----Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD 1997 Interview by Peter Barry Chowka.
"I tell patients that tranquilizers alone never cure anyone. They merely reduce the intensity of the symptoms and make life slightly more endurable. They create a better behaved, chronic dependent person. Only with orthomolecular treatment can the majority of schizophrenic patients hope to become well and normally independent."---Abram Hoffer, M.D.
"Orthomolecular treatment does not lend itself to rapid drug-like control of symptoms, but….patients get well to a degree not seen by tranquilizer therapists who believe orthomolecular therapists are prone to exageration. Those who’ve see the results are astonished."---Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Drs. Wilfred and Evan Shute of Ontario who showed that large doses of vitamin E given for adequate periods of time were very helpful in treating coronary disease, burns, and were useful in prevention. They were not ignored. They were almost destroyed by a medical profession which was completely unaware of the importance of their work, did not believe vitamin E was a vitamin and knew with absolute certainty that their work was useless. The Vitamin Paradigm Wars by Abram Hoffer
In the early Fifties, Dr. Fred Klenner ..... used doses up to 100 grams per day ..... ... He reported.... that patients given vitamin C would suffer no residual defects from their polio. A controlled study in England on 70 children, half given vitamin C and half given placebo showed that none of the treated cases developed any paralysis while up to 20 percent of the untreated group did. This study was not published because the Salk Vaccine had just been developed and no one was interested in vitamins. Dr. Klenner's work was ignored.
Dr. A.G. Brox and colleagues at McGill University found that two grams of ascorbic acid daily, successfully treated 7 out of 11 patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). They had all been sick more than two months and had not responded to adrenocorticosteroids. Three had had splenectomies. Four had failed additional treatment including the current usual treatments.
The American Psychiatric Association called Humphry Osmond and me before their Committee on Ethics because I had published the California paper. After a vigorous half-day debate over 20 years ago in Washington they told us they would let us have their decision in a few weeks. We are still waiting. However, they effectively killed interest in the use of vitamins for treating schizophrenia when they issued their irresponsible and flawed report . The APA bears major responsibility for preventing the introduction of a treatment which would have saved millions of patients from the ravages of chronic schizophrenia. Just as the APA was once captured by psychoanalysis, it is now captured by tranquilizers.
In USA about 25,000 babies are born each year with spina bifida. In Canada it has been estimated that each of these children will have cost about $40,000 by the time they are 14 years of age. Giving women folic acid early in their pregnancy would have avoided perhaps 3/4 of these births. Over ten years, while the cautious scientists were discussing whether folic acid was safe enough and was effective, 250,000 children were born at a total cost of 10 billion dollars (over ten years). Folic acid for pennies per day could have saved the United States public 7.5 billions dollars over this ten year period. The saving in public health dollars will be enormous. The waste in this long delay is inexcusable, since folic acid is totally safe and could have been given to all pregnant women over ten years ago. This is the costs of inactivity, of the conservative stance of the profession when it comes to the super safe vitamins.
A physician friend and colleague lost his medical licence in Saskatchewan. One of the charges against him was that he gave a patient intravenous ascorbic acid.
The man who would co-found Alcoholics Anonymous was born to a hard-drinking household in rural Vermont. When he was ten, his parents split up and Bill was raised by his maternal grandparents. He served in the Army in WW I, and although not seeing combat, Bill had more than ample opportunities to drink. In the 1920's, Wilson achieved considerable success as an inside trader on Wall Street, but a combination of drunkenness and the stock market crash drained what was left of his fortune and his capability to enjoy life. Hard knocks, religious experience, and a growing sense that by helping other alcoholics he could best help himself led Bill to create one of the world's most famous introductions: "My name is Bill W., and I'm an alcoholic." Even as Alcoholics Anonymous slowly grew, many of Bill's financial and personal problems endured, most notably depression. Abram Hoffer writes: "I met Bill in New York in 1960. Humphry Osmond and I introduced him to the concept of megavitamin therapy. Bill was very curious about it and began to take niacin, 3,000 mg daily. Within a few weeks fatigue and depression which had plagued him for years were gone. He gave it to 30 of his close friends in AA. Of the thirty, 10 were free of anxiety, tension and depression in one month. Another 10 were well in two months. Bill then wrote "The Vitamin B3 Therapy." and thousands of copies of this extraordinary pamphlet were distributed. Bill became unpopular with the members of the board of AA International. The medical members, who had been appointed by Bill, "knew" vitamin B3 could not be therapeutic as Bill had found it to be. I found it very useful in treating patients who were both alcoholic and schizophrenic. —From Vitamin B3: Niacin and Its Amide, by A. Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.; Wilson B: The vitamin B3 therapy: The first communication to AA's physicians (1967); A second communication to AA's physicians (1968).