How does an orthomolecular therapist work?

Through the eyes of Yvonne van Stigt, Master of Clinical Psycho Neuro Immunology

In contemporary orthomolecular therapy, this practitioner examines where the client’s biochemistry gets stuck. Then he or she will look for solutions to get the biochemical processes back on track. This is possible with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, herbs, amino acids, fatty acids, but also with lifestyle interventions.

In order to have any insight into the biochemistry of the client, the practitioner will have to study the physiology, pathology and biochemistry of the body. He/she will not only need to understand mechanisms of action, but also the relationship between the different systems and biochemical processes. And I assure you, that is far from easy.

Doctors flabbergasted

I often get regular working, but “open minded” doctors in my classes. These doctors all go home flabbergasted and wonder why they never heard this information in their training. Because even though Wikipedia calls orthomolecular treatment a pseudoscience, the knowledge we use is just as scientific as that in mainstream medicine. According to Wikipedia, the scientific consensus is that the usefulness of high doses of vitamins and minerals has not been sufficiently demonstrated.

The Dutch Nutrition Center also sees no benefit in the orthomolecular approach because they assume that few deficiency diseases exist. With this view they show that they simply have not understood the paradigm. It is not about deficiencies such as scurvy, but about an imbalance in biochemistry, often caused by subtle deficiencies.

Let’s compare it to baking a cake. The amount of baking powder, sugar, salt, flour and eggs used is very precise. With an egg less, it may become a cake, but not a fluffy cake. With less sugar, it also becomes a cake, but less tasty. It works the same way in the body with subtle nutrient deficiencies. You do not immediately fall down, but functioning well becomes a challenge.

Orthomolecular medicine is tailor-made

Scientific research into the usefulness of high doses of vitamins and minerals examines whether the average person benefits from such (general) high doses. And that’s just where the shoe pinches. We deliver custom work in orthomolecular medicine. Just as the average person will not benefit from the prescription of a specific antidepressant, the average person will not benefit from a high dose of vitamins and minerals.

In medicine, patients are prescribed medication that (hopefully) matches their complaints. And then it’s trial and error to see if it works.

In orthomolecular medicine, clients are prescribed specific nutrients, at a dose appropriate to the observable biochemical disturbance of the body. This disturbance manifests itself in various complaints, in a complaint pattern, so that the practitioner knows in which biochemical process the disorder is located.

Example

We humans are not all born with the same DNA and in the same circumstances. That may seem like an open door, but in medicine too often we overlook the fact that we are all different.

Suppose you are born with a mutation in the BCO1 gene. That gene makes the enzyme beta carotene oxygenase to make vitamin A from beta carotene. If you cannot make up that enzyme, you have a high chance of a vitamin A deficiency.

This mutation is quite common, but the complaints usually develop very gradually. When you go night blind, it is clear to many doctors that you are bothered by this. But if you develop other complaints, it is usually not so clear. These people do not benefit from a daily dose of beta carotene, they will become sicker with a vegetarian diet, while this may be beneficial for others.

With a marginal vitamin A deficiency complaints of the mucous membranes, of immunity, or problems in the thyroid function, the connective tissue build-up, intestinal complaints or iron household problems arise. I bet that very few doctors will have vitamin A status checked for these types of complaints. Provided they do, they will not see a marginal shortage as the key to many complaints.

And this is just one example, due to a mutation of one gene! And of course there are many more genes, but just as many conditions that influence the functioning of those genes. You can imagine that stress combined with a vitamin A deficiency (or B, C D, E or whatever) causes many more problems. And it is so easy to blame the stress. (It’s stuck between the ears.) you may be surprised that there are masses of people sitting at the psychologist who may be bothered by a biochemical disturbance.

An Orthomolecular approach

An Orthomolecular Therapist will look for what is missing in the basic biochemistry in people with chronic conditions, so that the body can no longer do what it should do. That is the reverse approach to mainstream medicine, in which certain biochemical derailments are stopped or blocked with medicines.

The orthomolecular approach is based on prevention and support of the body’s biochemistry and the regular approach focuses on acute relief and symptom suppression.

Now it is not a competition between the two paradigms. I think that both forms of medicine add something to human well-being. The art is to see and appreciate that of each other. It would be nice if both paradigms, respectfully next to one another and in collaboration with each other, can contribute to a healthier society.

Source: OPFG

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