Call Mon-Sun:
1 (800) 301-3753

Orthomolecular Medicine

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Orthomolecular medicine, as modeled by double Nobel Prize winning Dr. Linus Pauling, aims to recover the optimal environment of the body through correcting deficiencies and imbalances based on the unique biochemistry of each individual.

Orthomolecular medicine aims to correct health problems through creating balance and targeting underlying causes.

15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Up to 87 ½% Long-Term Success Rate.
Click to Call7 Days a Week

  • By completing this form, you will be added to our mailing list. You may opt out at any time.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Restoring Balance With Naturally Occurring Substances

Restoring balance and correcting underlying causes is accomplished by using substances familiar to the body such as minerals, vitamins, trace elements, fatty acids and amino acids. A primary concept in orthomolecular medicine is that hereditary factors can affect more than just the physical characteristics of a person. Biochemical settings are also found to be hereditary.

Biochemical pathways in the body (the chemical chain reaction of enzymes and other factors) are of interest in studies of illnesses such as cancer, schizophrenia, atherosclerosis, and even depression; it has been shown that specific biochemical abnormalities can be isolated as contributing or causal factors of illness.

“I believe all complicated phenomena can be explained by simpler scientific principles.” ~Linus Pauling, Proponent of Orthomolecular Medicine

Importance of Diet and Nutrition

In today’s Western society, the food industry has convinced many people to eat foods which are modified from their raw and original state into nutritionally dead, highly refined, processed food. Therefore, even when one eats these processed foods until they feel full, they are still undernourished. To persuade us into eating these foods; processed food manufacturers add artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and chemically alter nutritionally dead products, which would taste horrible without all of the artificial modifications.

“As long as the processing of food continues to take out essential nutrients, mental health will continue to decline.” ~Abram Hoffer

dr abram hofferDr. Abram Hoffer was right it seems. Since the brain utilizes the most blood, oxygen, and nutrients over any other organ, the brain, and the entire central nervous system start to feel the effects of biochemical deficiency long before any obvious physical symptoms manifest.

We realize that for true health to occur, the body and brain need to be stabilized and well-fed. These are aims that guide and inform orthomolecular therapy for mental health.

At Alternative to Meds Center, orthomolecular medicine is a founding principle of our program. We deliver personalized nutrient, mineral, amino acid, and supplement therapies based on the results of lab tests and medical assessments.

Residents consume natural and whole organic foods and simultaneously eliminate their consumption of processed foods such as white rice, dairy, wheat, sugar, soy, and caffeine. Residents may additionally participate in sauna therapy, exercise, counseling, and other healing treatments. This is truly a holistic approach that impacts every level of physical and mental health.

Education Components

Our educational series covers very diverse subject matters. We are teaching graduate-level clinical nutrition and environmental medicine and demonstrate the research that supports the view that nutritional imbalances and toxic accumulation break down the neurochemistry and manifests as addictive cravings, medication use, and mental health issues.

Our educational courses help equip our residents with lifelong tools for health and happiness.

Collectively, this is called Orthomolecular Science. We inform what foods to avoid, such as allergens, or farm-raised fish, sugars, and processed foods. We teach the participant the exact nutritional precursors that provide balance for their own particular case, and how to read their lab tests so they may truly become self-health care savvy. Even some hygiene products may be contributing to the toxic profile that has chipped away at their ability to find balance.

We are also administering learning modules such as anger management, trauma clearing, stress reduction, life skills, art, family dynamics, and tools for the participant to succeed in life. By learning what was done to establish balance, clients can then understand and apply the skills to maintain it.

Fundamentals of Orthomolecular Mental Health Therapy

All orthomolecular psychiatrists are medical practitioners and most have received psychiatric training. However, orthomolecular psychiatrists reject the “psychiatric model” for treating mental health issues.

Rather, a “medical model” is used, that searches for biochemical or organic, instead of psychological causes of conditions. Orthomolecular psychiatry is a division of orthomolecular medicine, a phrase that was coined by Dr. Linus Pauling.

Dr. Pauling defined the principles of orthomolecular therapy as preserving good health and preventing disease through changing the concentration within the body of molecules of substances that are naturally occurring in the body and necessary for life, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and essential fats.

The human brain is healthy when it is chemical-free and properly fed.

Orthomolecular medicine offers a viable alternative to psychiatry. According to orthomolecular psychiatry, also known as OP, the human body is a biochemical factory.

When that factory doesn’t receive an adequate amount of raw materials (nutrition), or receives polluted or impure materials, malfunctioning occurs.

Because the brain is a part of the body, its cells may also be affected. Nutrient deficiency and/or the stress of toxicity can cause mental disturbances according to the orthomolecular model.

Mentally disturbed individuals may be out of touch as they can’t perceive reality. Their biochemically chaotic brains may view the world abnormally. In many cases, mental disturbances only cease when the nutritional setting of the brain is changed to correct the situation.

Prescription Drugs Are Not the Only Solution

If you have been told that the only solution for psychiatric problems is prescription drugs, orthomolecular psychiatry practitioners are available to help you.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we know that prescription medications are not a long term solution for psychiatric problems. We use orthomolecular medicine models to identify the originating causes of psychiatric symptoms. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction and other mental health issues can be treated holistically. We offer an alternative answer that educates people about how to cope with mental health naturally. Don’t get trapped in a non-stop routine of doctor visits and medications.

Orthomolecular psychiatry is practiced by orthomolecular psychiatry practitioners to treat mental illness. Our orthomolecular mental health center is the only one of its type in the United States.

prescription-grade supplementsThe approach uses lab testing, and individualized diagnosis to determine an etiology for each client’s specific symptoms and tailors treatment accordingly, utilizing a combination of dietary changes, nutrients and prescription-grade supplements that can enhance functionality and quality of life as well as decrease or eradicate symptoms and the use of prescription drugs, or cravings for recreational substances.

Our underlying assessments and ideas are that wholesome food and proper nutrition equals mental health.

With Orthomolecular Medicine, you can nourish your mind, eliminate the toxic burden, and become mentally and physically healthier.

Dr. Abram Hoffer was the first serious orthomolecular medicine practitioner in the 1950s. His therapies included niacin, and other nutrients, to address acute schizophrenia. Dr. Humphry Osmond, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, and Dr. Linus Pauling continued the work that was started by Dr. Hoffer. Orthomolecular psychiatry follows “Pfeiffer’s Law”:

“For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect.”

Possible Causes of Mental Health Disorders

Allergies are believed by many orthomolecular psychiatry practitioners to be one highly overlooked cause of mental illness.

Industrial development fills our air, food, and water with numberless substances that may be chemically damaging.

Hypoglycemia is another one of the most frequent nutritional issues associated with emotional symptoms. Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, is an interruption in sugar metabolism that is implicated in several mental and physical problems. Potential symptoms include alcoholism, insomnia, irritability, decreased sex drive, nightmares, violent behavior, crying spells and nervous breakdowns. Hypoglycemia appears to be easily overcome with the professional help of orthomolecular psychiatry practitioners.

We are a professional team that works to find and correct the underlying causes of your psychiatric symptoms.

See All Mental Health Issues

What We Consume Does Impact Our Health and Mental State

food is medicineNutritional pharmacology is no longer on the outside of medicine.5 Food affects the brain. Food affects behavior. In order to address this pervasive problem, our orthomolecular psychiatry program offers clients orthomolecular nutrition and dietary therapy including organic, whole and natural food, we also recommend that sugar, caffeine, white flour and white rice are eliminated from dietary regimens. Since modern food processing strips most of the nutrition, an individual eating these foods often develops a vitamin and/or nutrient deficiency. Psychiatric symptoms are frequently associated with a lack of proper nutrition and supplementation.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we create personalized treatment plans to meet the needs of each client.

heavy metal toxicityWhen a person becomes symptomatic in a mental health way, they are almost always given psychiatric medication. Most of the time, medication is the length and breadth of traditional treatment. It is not uncommon for there to be no investigative efforts made in conventional treatment. At Alternative to Meds Center, we have found more and more people with accumulated environmental toxicity, and these toxins disrupt the chemical relationships that are essential for mental health. These toxins include heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead, aluminum, pesticides, and organic toxins.1, 2

You do not have to suffer from psychiatric symptoms or the ineffectiveness of traditional medicine. We offer a safe, holistic, drug-free approach.

We know how to stabilize the neurochemistry in a comfortable, effective way.

Our orthomolecular medicine practitioners discover which toxins a person has and eliminate them with methods of removal and correction.

Counseling Components

Alternative to Meds Center additionally provides counseling with cognitive-behavioral therapists along with numerous other genres of one-on-one therapy and peer-based therapy. Some of these include Trauma Release, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Reality Therapy, Adventure Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Art Therapy, and more.

The center provides a restful, safe atmosphere with plenty of outdoor and indoor spaces for contemplation and relaxation in which to reflect and rest.

What About Genetic Factors?

Some people have one or more genetic polymorphisms,3, 5 meaning they have a genetic predisposition to detox poorly. Accordingly, people with certain of these genetic expressions will be unable to effectively detox everything from mercury, lead, and pesticides, to street and psychiatric drugs.

Those, for instance, who are less able to metabolize antipsychotic medications, are more likely to develop tardive dyskinesia, especially if the polymorphism behind this inability came from both parents (called a homozygous SNP).

Using lab testing, we can discover certain genetic factors that help in forging a treatment plan that will garner the very best results for the individual.

What About Heavy Metal and Chemical Toxicity?

Brain chemistry is the most sensitive to chemical toxicity. This toxic load interferes with the way neurotransmitters are synthesized. Neurotransmitters are our chemical expressions of emotion; therefore, their disruption can manifest a wide array of mental health issues including depression, psychosis, anxiety, addictive behaviors, even chronic pain.

We commonly see mercury toxicity causing insomnia and anxiety.4 Arsenic toxicity has been known to contribute to pain killer abuse due to its effects on endorphin synthesis, and mercury-lead or mercury-aluminum combinations have been demonstrated in psychosis as they bind to neuronal receptor sites generally reserved for neurotransmitters.

Other signs of heavy metal toxicity and chemical toxicity include:

  • Frequent unexplained headaches
  • Tingling in the hands & feet
  • Lethargy, sluggishness
  • Memory failure, psychotic behavior, unexplained seizures, irritability
  • Chronic respiratory problems, sinus problems, or asthma *
  • Abnormal body odor, bad breath, or coated tongue
  • Environmental sensitivities, sensitivity to odors
  • Food allergies, nausea, poor digestion, constipation, intestinal bloating, and gas
  • Unusually poor memory, learning disability, chronic insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue
  • Brittle hair and nails, psoriasis, adult acne, unexplained weight gain

Each toxin has its own hold on the body and needs to be treated in a specific way.

* NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases) states that dental hygienists and others working with mercury should be aware that brain damage, asthma, pneumonia, and other health conditions have been found linked to breathing in mercury vapors.

We facilitate chemical and heavy metal toxin removal based upon toxicity testing and provide treatment via customized chelation and targeted neurotoxin detox protocols. The detoxification protocol used by Alternative to Meds Center was designed for people who have accumulated toxins and is tailored to specifically remove those toxins.

Chelation agents are proteins that can bind heavy metals. Chelation means “claw-like.” A chelator is a protein that has a higher affinity for the heavy metal than does the fatty tissue and will grab the toxin like a claw. A protein chelate, such as DMPS, binds the heavy metal toxin and allows it to be escorted out of the body via the elimination pathways.

Conjugation means “with joining.” In order for fat-soluble toxins to be eliminated via sweat, defecation, and via urinary routes, they must be converted to a water-soluble form. This is done by adding something to the toxin such as a sulfur group, methyl group, or acetyl group. This addition is chemically termed conjoining. The specific elements in our detoxification process take full advantage of this process so that the toxins can be liberated from the fatty tissue and safely eliminated.

By identifying which toxins a resident is burdened by, chelating those toxins, and conjugating them so that they can then be safely eliminated, we consistently help some truly broken people get healthy and remain so.

If you would like to determine if you have one or more genetic polymorphism factors, we can help you find out. Please contact us today for more information on this or any other aspect of the Alternative to Meds Center natural mental health treatment.

1. Flora S, Pachauri P, “Chelation in Metal Intoxication.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [Internet] 2010 Jun 28 [cited 2020 Nov 2]

2. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Drug-Gene Testing.” [Internet] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 2]

3. Kitzmiller JP, Groen DK, Phelps MA, Sadee W, “Pharmacogenomic testing: Relevance in medical practice.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine [Internet] 2011 Jun [cited 2020 Nov 2]

4. NORD, “Rare Disease Database” [Internet] 2006 [cited 2020 Nov 2]

5. “Nutritional Pharmacology- Regulation of Drug and Hormone Metabolism by Components of the Human Diet.” The Rockefeller University Hospital [Internet] N D [cited 2020 Nov 2]

Originally Published Jan 12, 2021 by Lyle Murphy, Founder

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

Social Profile: LinkedIn

View Bio

Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

We Accept Most Major Insurance Providers.

Call Now to Verify BlueCross BlueShield Cigna Aetna

Holistic Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Articles

News, media and up to date information on medications, symptoms and side effect, addiction and treatment for substance abuse from our expert staff.