October 22, 1932 – February 23, 2021
Educated at the University of Minnesota, Richard Kunin received his MD degree in 1955. Following psychiatric residency training at New York Hospital, which he completed in 1959, he served for two years in the United States Army Medical Corps. Dr. Kunin maintained a private practice since 1963, in San Francisco.
Inspired by Dr. Linus Pauling’s work with vitamin C and antioxidants in orthomolecular medicine, his 1973 discovery of manganese as a cure for drug-induced dyskinesia (muscle-movement disorder caused by drug therapy) was the first orthomolecular research to verify the efficacy of mineral therapy for a disease (other than simple deficiency). His studies on the effects of niacin (1975) were the first to identify prostaglandins in the niacin flush and aspirin as an antidote.
He co-founded the Orthomolecular Medical Society with Dr. Michael Lesser and Dr. Linus Pauling in 1976, and served as its President from 1980-82. Dr. Kunin’s clinical research led to the “Orthocarbohydrate Diet”, the first diet plan based on individualized carbohydrate- protein-fat effects on mood, energy, and weight. The “Listen To Your Body Diet”, popularized in his best-selling books Mega Nutrition (1980) and Mega Nutrition for Women (1983) remains one of the most user friendly, safe and effective diet-energy plans.
In 1986, Dr. Kunin began a 12-year stint as a columnist for the San Francisco New Fillmore. His column, “Putting Nutrition First,” was a big hit with its readers. He achieved the first measurement of EPA in snake oil in 1989, substantiating its anti-inflammatory benefits (published in JOM, 1989, Vol 4, no 3). Dr. Kunin demonstrated that snake oil is not quackery after all!
In 1994, he founded the Society for Orthomolecular Health Medicine (OHM) in San Francisco, and has organized its annual scientific meetings for 14 years. In the same year, Dr. Kunin became the first Interim President of the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine. Dr. Kunin was also director of research of Ola Loa Products.
Dr. Kunin served on the Board of Governors of the National Health Federation, and was on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, since 1982.
Richard A. Kunin was inducted into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame in 2008
Photos: Richard Kunin with Linus Pauling (L); and Steven Carter, ISOM Director (R)