The History of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine

In 1967, shortly after the formation of the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation, and in the USA, the American Schizophrenia Association, we published the first issue of a journal called the Journal of Schizophrenia. We had to create our own journals because it was impossible to obtain entry into the official journals of psychiatry and medicine. Before 1967 I had not found it difficult to publish reports in these journals, and by then I had about 150 articles and several books in the establishment press. The subsequent difficulty, therefore, did not arise from the quality and style of my writing since it has probably improved since then.
It was pretty obvious to those of us practicing nutritional psychiatry, later orthomolecular psychiatry, that it was the content of our material which was found to be not acceptable. This was proven by the attempt of the American Psychiatric Association to censor our work even several years after papers had been published. Dr. Osmond and I appeared before the Committee of Ethics of the APA to answer why we were publicizing a treatment not acceptable to standard psychiatry called xenobiotic psychiatry by Dr. Bernard Rimland. One of the assistant editors of the American Psychiatric Association Journal announced that he would never allow any article from our group to appear in his journal. He had been the chairman of the task force which had out of hand condemned any of this work.
This new journal was to become the forum available to practitioners of the new psychiatry which official psychiatry found so unacceptable. The peer reviewed journals did their job very effectively, ie. they prevented any of these new ideas from appearing in their journals. Even today the Medical Index will not abstract our journals using the excuse that they do not have enough money. Peer reviewed journals do not protect the public from research reports of inferior quality, nor do they protect the public from dangerous ideas they protect the establishment from ideas that run counter to their own.
After two years we shortened the title to "Schizophrenia" for three years. In 1972 the title was changed to the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry to reflect the widening use of nutrition in the treatment of many physical and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Linus Pauling in 1968 had proposed the term orthomolecular psychiatry which we recognised as the the correct word to define the total interest in nutrition, clinical ecology, and the use of supplements. There were 14 volumes.
In 1986 the name was changed to the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, to reflect the growing interest by physicians in this approach, and the fact that psychiatrists remained singularly disinterested in anything having to do with nutrition and psychiatric disease.


All the pioneers in orthomolecular medicine have reported their findings in this journal. It thus represents a unique source for these earlier and current studies which provide a basis for the increasing growth of nutritional medicine. These papers are original contributions with very little repetition. I can not refer to all of the contributers but they are listed in the total list of contents. Each paper is counted once, whether the author was the sole author or one of the co-authors.

Dr. E. Braverman originally worked closely with Dr. C.C. Pfeiffer. He has become very productive in reporting his work. His first paper appeared in 1979 and he has contributed 14 papers.

Dr. R. Cathcart has more experience with the use of high doses of ascorbic acid than any of other single physician. He developed the test to determine optimum dosages using the sub-laxative level His first of two papers appeared in 1980.

Dr. E. Cheraskin first appeared in 1972, contributing 26 excellent reports to date. His papers, usually brief, are models of scientific clarity and productivity. His surveys of the ascorbic acid literature are most valuable.

Dr. Allan Cott first reported in 1967. By 1984 he had published 12 papers dealing with children, adults, fasting treatment, the use of pyridoxine and so on. Allan Cott was one of the original members of the Commitee on Therapy of the American Schizophrenia Association. He has a school for severely disturbed children in Birmingham named after him.

Dr. H. Foster presented very valuable studies dealing with the geographical distribution of disease and its relationship to mineral and other chemicals in the soil. His first paper was published in 1988; so far 8 have been published.

Dr. R.Glen Green was one of the early general practitioners to embrace orthomolecular medicine, and for that he lost his licence to practice in Saskatchewan. He first published in 1970, producing 10 papers dealing primarily with the treatment of children he described as subclinical pellagrins.

Dr. D.R. Hawkins, founding member of the committee on therapy of the American Schizophrenia Association, prepared ten papers between 1968-1989. They were clinical papers dealing with the treatment of schizophrenics, and alcoholics, and with the absence of tardive dyskinesia in schizophrenics treated with orthomolecular methods.

Dr. A. Hoffer. I had an advantage since I submitted my reports to an editor who could not refuse to accept them. Between 1966 and today I published 131 reports including 48 editorials. I tried to cover the whole field in a systematic manner while maintaining my interest in schizophrenia, for which this journal had been fashioned in the first place. I am one of the founding members of the Huxley institute of biosocial research and the Canadian Schizophrenia Association.

Dr. D. Horrobin published one paper in 1979 descibing the omega 6 essential fatty acids. He has been the most influential scientist in promoting these essential fatty acids into the field of medicine and psychiatry.

Dr. H. Huggins published one paper in 1982 which opened up the very important question of mercury toxicity from silver amalgams. Since then ten reports have been published. Only now is there a flicker of interest in the orthodox medical journals.

F. H. Kahan was the capable managing editor of the Journal for many years, and contributed four excellent detailed reports on the relationship between the law and criminal behaviour in schizophrenic patients in 1972-1973. She contributed four more briefer articles before she died in 1979.

Dr. R. Kunin presented his first paper in 1976. he had four additional articles published, including a good one of the principles of orthomolecular medicine in 1987.

Dr. S. Levine contributed 8 papers between 1983 and 1990 dealing with free radical theory and the use of antioxidants. This has since become a hot topic in the field of medicine.

Dr. A. E. Libby contributed 6 reports dealing with the use of orthomolecular treatment for alcoholics and addicts, along with papers on the chemistry of behaviour between 1977 to 1982.

Dr. M. Marlow gave us 8 reports between 1983 and 1992. These dealt with the connection between nutrition and behaviour particularly the trace elements using hair analysis as a way of determining the concentration of these minerals.

Dr. H. Osmond as co-editor of this journal has the same advantage I have in writing his material published here. He is a superb reporter and writer, as well as a clinician and scientist, and his articles would grace any medical journal. His first paper appeared in 1967, the most recent in 1990. He presented 39 papers including 4 editorials. Humphry is the other founding member of the American Schizophrenia Association, The Huxley Institute of Biosocial Research and the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation.

Dr. Linus Pauling in 1968 in his famous paper in Science formulated the term "orthomolecular" and provided a rational basis for the use of optimum, even if large, doses of nutrients. His theory explained how evolution was shaped by the loss of the chemical machinery required to make essential nutrients. His first paper appeared in 1970, his last one in 1992. He contributed 9 reports. I was co-author with him for the two vitamin C / cancer reports. Until his death in 1994, Dr. Pauling contributed perhaps his his most important clinical contribution, the work showing the important relationship between vitamin C levels and cardiovascular disease. If everyone were to take optimum amounts of this vitamin, many of the world's major diseases would vanish. The National Acadamy of Sciences refused to accept Dr. Pauling's valuable reports.

Dr. C.C. Pfeiffer made his first contribution in 1974, contributing 22 papers by the time he died in 1988. He made major contributions to the understanding of trace element and mineral metabolism in the schizophrenias; made a rational division of the schizophrenias into three biochemical groups, and discussed amino acids in medicine. His contributions were of the greatest value. Carl Pfeiffer was one of the original members of the Committee on Therapy of the American Schizophrenia Association.

Dr. W.H. Philpott first reported in 1973 and contributed 17 papers by 1991. His main contribution was the introduction of ecological concepts into orthomolecular psychiatry following Dr. M. Mandell with whom he co-authored one report. Since then, the role played by allergies in causing psychiatric disease has become well established.

Dr. M. Rath is a co-author with Linus Pauling on six important papers om vitamin C and cardiovascular disease, beginning in 1991. He has also recently published four papers as the sole author.

Dr. C. Reading wrote four papers between 1979 and 1988. His work dealt with the use of family studies in determining the best treatment for patients using the orthomolecular approach. The psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand have been trying to supress his work and practice for many years.

Dr. Bernard Rimland was a member of the first Committee on Therapy of the American Schizophrenia Foundation, and has been a powerful supporter of orthomolecular medicine and psychiatry. He is founder of the American Autism Society and directs the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California. He is one of formost workers in the field. He published three papers between 1971 and 1984.

Dr. H Riordan had three papers in our journal beginning in 1987. he is now a regular contributer and presents individual case histories and reports several times each year.

Dr. H. Ross is one of the early pioneer psychiatrists of orthomolecular psychiatry. His first paper appeared in 1974 and the last of four appeared in 1990. his main field of interest is the use nutrition and supplements in the treatment of depression. -Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD