What is Orthomolecular Nutrition?

Orthomolecular nutrition has its supporters as well as its opponents. It has been described as fraudulent and unscientific by some medical industries. However, its therapists defend its validity because it is based on the basic principles of universal health.

Orthomolecular nutrition is a treatment based on the supply of nutrients to the body to compensate for deficiencies caused by diseases. These nutritional supplements must come from natural sources.

In the words of AENTOC, the Spanish Association for Orthomolecular Nutrition, orthomolecular nutrition aims to “promote the absence of disease in the patient and to ensure that individuals live in good health”.

How does orthomolecular nutrition work?

Based on this discipline, diseases are caused by a biochemical imbalance of our body that affects our cells and causes imbalances. By supplying the cells with the right micronutrients, we achieve an optimal balance and proper functioning.

This is achieved by treating existing diseases as we saw above. But it can also improve non-specific ailments such as migraines, lack of energy, and digestive issues.

The micronutrients necessary for our cells are:

  • Vitamins of group B, such as vitamin C or vitamin E.
  • Minerals such as calcium, magnesium or potassium.
  • Trace elements such as lithium, copper or manganese required in very small quantities.
  • Amino acids, among which we can count L-glutamine, L-arginine or L-carnitine.
  • Essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6.

What does orthomolecular nutrition therapy consist of?

Treatment based on orthomolecular nutrition is always individualized. A specialist doctor or therapist is responsible for assessing the patient’s nutritional status.

From some analytical testing, experts can determine where the biochemical imbalance is, what nutritional deficiencies are present and what needs to be corrected. In general, the use of nutritional supplements is necessary.

The first treatment tool is diet. These diets aim to provide optimal nutrition to the cells. They usually rely on the intake of quality proteins, unsaturated fats, and complex carbohydrates.

These diets specifically avoid added sugars, dairy products, and saturated fats. Experts also often recommend healthy lifestyle guidelines. For example, they complement treatment with physical exercise and good rest, avoidance of stress, and, if necessary, other alternative therapies.

As in many cases, these tools have their proponents and detractors when we talk about diets and therapies. Let’s see how they occupy a position in orthomolecular nutrition.

Limitations of this type of feeding

Critics of orthomolecular nutrition do not consider it reliable enough, especially since it is not based on proven scientific studies. They also question the use of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

They are sometimes prescribed in amounts well above the official recommended amounts by organizations such as EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) or the US Institute of Medicine. In addition, according to these organizations, such high doses can cause adverse effects in the short and long term.

Some organizations and voices from the medical and nutrition industry, such as the Royal Spanish Academy of Medicine, the Spanish Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists, or the American Cancer Society, claim no evidence of its effectiveness and describe it as “para-scientific, misleading and potentially dangerous.”

Benefits of orthomolecular nutrition

On the other hand, nutritional supplementation as a therapeutic tool is a reality for proponents of this discipline. In fact, even traditional medicine uses combined treatments.

According to professionals dedicated to orthomolecular medicine, there is evidence and medical practice to support positive outcomes in the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Moreover, the use of orthomolecular medicine and nutrition has accompanied conventional treatments with good results.

Orthomolecular nutrition arouses interest

In general, orthomolecular nutrition seeks to balance the body’s biochemistry to keep all the body’s systems functioning properly. Some medical and food experts describe it as pseudoscience. But as time goes on, it is gaining attention as a tool for curing and preventing diseases.


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