Following an orthomolecular treatment plan may mean changing your diet; many doctors use the paleolithic diet, which emphasizes meat, fish, produce and nuts while excluding dairy, sugar, fats and grains. Orthomolecularists claim that our ancestors did not suffer from the same types of degenerative disease that modern humans do because they ate unprocessed food, free of chemicals, additives and other toxins. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may also suggest other dietary changes to eliminate potential food allergens (which some believe can cause diseases like asthma and arthritis).
You may also be prescribed a regimen of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, probiotics, hormones or other supplements, depending on your condition and the results of your blood tests. This is often known as nutrient therapy, and it may include taking supplements in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) set forth by the USDA, known as megadoses. Orthomolecular medicine claims that these values are for healthy, normal people, and that people who are ill may need larger doses to get healthy.
Orthomolecularists often treat by titration, meaning that they adjust the amount and frequency of the therapy as necessary to fine-tune the treatment plan. Treatment will also vary from person to person, because advocates contend that we each have unique biochemistries that are influenced by genetic variability. The perfect level of a nutrient for one person, for example, may be too low in another. One person may lack the ability to absorb or effectively process a specific vitamin or mineral.
An orthomolecular treatment plan may also include undergoing detoxification, such as chelation therapy, which is supposed to remove heavy metals from the body. Advocates believe that high levels of copper, for example, are associated with behavioral and learning disorders in children as well as schizophrenia. Treating mental illness is actually considered a separate speciality within orthomolecular medicine. Read on to discover how practitioners claim to be able to treat or even cure psychiatric disorders.