The name comes from the Greek orthós (right) and the Latin molecular (building block) and refers to substances that are also known as so-called radical scavengers or antioxidants. These nutrients are essential for normal, healthy cell function. Since our organism can not produce them themselves, they must be supplied externally.
Two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling introduced orthomolecular therapy as a new branch in medicine.
Orthomolecular medicine maintains health and treats diseases by altering the levels of vitamins, trace elements, minerals and other micronutrients in the human body. As a rule, oral supplements are sufficient for prevention. However, treating diseases often requires high doses of micronutrients. In order to bring appropriately effective (therapeutic) doses into the organism, an oral dose is then no longer sufficient. Vitamin C is e.g. administered in viral infections in the range of several grams. The intake of higher doses of vitamin C via the intestine is limited by so-called absorption limits. In this case, the vitamin C must then be administered by infusion.
A healthy and balanced diet is undoubtedly the basis for good health. Unfortunately, for most people, such a diet remains a wishful thinking. Only in the rarest cases does the diet really cover the daily requirement of vital substances. By consumption of stimulants such as industrial sugar or tobacco, etc. and especially in case of illness, the demand increases several times. For example, even in the area of vitamin C, smokers have a 70% higher demand than non-smokers. The lack of vital substances leads to disturbed metabolic processes. Recovery processes are delayed or illnesses become chronic.
Also, the ever-increasing pollution of heavy metals, pesticides and a host of other toxic substances causes our organism to be exposed to more strain and damage.
All of these pollutants enter our body via the food chain or through the air, where they promote the formation of so-called free radicals.
Free radicals are particularly reactive atoms or molecules that arise when overloading combustion processes in the cell. Radicals play an important role in a variety of biological processes, but can also cause cell damage if they are not effectively “intercepted” by “antioxidants.”
Orthomolecular medicine specifically targets such antioxidants in the form of micronutrients, effectively inhibiting the formation of free radicals. In doing so, it not only prevents cell damage, but also gives the cell or organism the opportunity to recover from damage already suffered.