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Natural remedy for schizophrenia

Posted Oct 23 2008 6:33pm
Could megadoses of Vitamin C and niacin help schizophrenia? I read an article of how one psychiatrist successfully treated the son of a frantic couple who suffered from schizophrenia and was sleeping only one hour per day. Unfortunately I am unable to find that website where it was reported again. His treatment was based on the studies and recommendations of Dr. Abram Hoffer.

Dr. Abram Hoffer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan in 1938, a Masters Degree in Agriculture (agricultural chemistry) in 1940 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1944. His Ph. D was based on research into vitamin content in cereals. Dr. Hoffer got interested in human nutrition and entered medical school. He graduated with an MD from the University of Toronto in 1949 and completing his psychiatric training in 1954.

Books by Dr. Abram Hoffer

From 1955 to 1967, Dr. Hoffer was a faculty member of the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and also served as the Director of Psychiatric Research for the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health in Regina from 1950-67. He observed that half the patients housed in the mental hospital were diagnosed as schizophrenics. He noted that the conditions in the mental hospital and the treatment of these patients were poor. He thus applied himself to looking for better answers to treat the mentally ill. He used biochemistry and human physiology as an emergent psychiatric research paradigm, and was critical of psychosomatic psychoanalysis and the lack of adequate definition and measurement in psychiatric methodology. Hoffer's theory is known as the adrenochrome hypothesis, which states that schizophrenics lack the proper ability to remove the hallucinogenic metabolite adrenochrome from their brains. He speculated that by using vitamin C to reduce adrenochrome back into adrenaline and using niacin as a methyl acceptor to prevent the conversion of noradrenaline into adrenaline that this would lead to a decrease in the concentration of hallucinogenic adrenochrome in the brain. His advocation of megadoses of niacin for treating schizophrenia launched the orthomolecular psychiatry movement forty years ago.

Today, such treatment remains controversial, as both positive [1] and negative [2] double-blind studies have appeared in the scientific literature. Although the consensus of mainstream academicians is that niacin therapy is ineffective, [3] Hoffer notes that niacin is primarily effective for early and acute schizophrenics, while it is ineffective -- especially when given alone -- for the chronic schizophrenics who were included in the negative trials. [4]

(1.) Osmond H, Hoffer A. Massive niacin treatment in schizophrenia: Review of a nine-year study. Lancet i:316-20, 1962

(2.) Wittenborn JR et al. Niacin in the long-term treatment of schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 28:308-15, 1973

(3.) American Psychiatric Association, Task Force on Vitamin Therapy in Psychiatry. Megavitamin and Orthomolecular Therapy in Psychiatry. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1973

(4.) Hoffer A. The vitamin paradigm wars. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June, 1996:56-60

Books by Dr. Abram Hoffer
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