Health Guide

Orthomolecular medicine

What is it?

Orthomolecular medicine is a type of medicine that uses nutrients that are naturally occurring in the body to correct or normalize a person's health. Orthomolecular medicine is mostly geared toward the use of a whole food diet and high dosages of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to prevent and treat diseases.

Linus Pauling, PhD, originated the term orthomolecular medicine. Pauling promoted the use of high-dose vitamin C (up to 15 grams/day) for preventing heart disease and other illnesses.

Orthomolecular medicine doctors do not follow the government minimum standards or the recommended daily allowances for supplementing nutrients. Orthomolecular doctors find that each individual has an individualized need for nutrients based on their genetics, nutritional habits, and current condition.

Although most nutrients are provided through foods and vitamin pills, some doctors will prescribe intravenous nutrients to provide a more effective and quicker initial response to treatment.

Orthomolecular doctors make their nutritional recommendations based on a number of factors. They perform a detailed medical history and examination, blood tests, urine analysis, and specialized tests for nutrient levels in the cells.

There are a variety of practitioners providing orthomolecular medicine. These include medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors, nutritionists, and naturopaths.

  • Society of Orthomolecular Health Medicine (415) 922-6462
  • International Academy of Nutrition & Preventive Medicine (704) 258-3243


1. Burton Goldberg Group: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Publishing, Puyallup, WA; 1994.

2. Lopez DA, Williams RM & Miehlke K: Enzymes the Fountain of Life. Nevel Press, Charleston, SC; 1994.

Last Updated: 4/4/2018
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