The Annual International Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference is presented by the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine. The 51st Conference, held online May 13-14, 2022, featured 10 presentations from leading orthomolecular clinicians and researchers – on the topics of detoxification, immunology, pain medicine, and nutritional intervention.
Abram Hoffer Memorial Lecture
COVID-19: Nutraceuticals as Adjunctive Therapy
Paul E. Marik, MD, FCCM, FCCP
Throughout the history of modern medicine, numerous clinicians and researchers have sought to improve patient outcomes with nutritional intervention. The use of non-patentable molecules in medicine remains highly-controversial, despite our scientific understanding of the physiologic and metabolic roles of vitamins and other essential nutrients.
With the ongoing politicization of COVID-19 treatments and public health recommendations, Dr. Marik and his colleagues have been censored, marginalized, and maligned for their commitment to developing protocols that save lives. This presentation will review the virology of SARS-CoV-2, the pathophysiology and stages of COVID-19, and provide an overview of nutraceuticals as adjunctive therapy.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: Focus on Vaccine-Induced Myocarditis
Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH
The mRNA and adenoviral DNA vaccines have resulted in record numbers of vaccine injury reports and confirmed cases of both fatal and nonfatal syndromes. There are now >1000 peer reviewed and preprint papers describing COVID-19 vaccine injury syndromes. Most of these fall into one of four organ system categories: neurological, cardiovascular, immunologic, and hematologic. The US FDA has product warnings for Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for myocarditis or heart inflammation and autopsy confirmed fatal cases have been published. The FDA and foreign regulators have warnings for neurological thrombosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome for the adenoviral vector vaccines (Janssen and AstraZeneca). There are no prospective studies concerning screening, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of COVID-19 vaccine injury syndromes. As more cases accumulate with booster programs, there is a great need for research and clinical care for those who have been negatively impacted from indiscriminate COVID-19 vaccination.
Arsenic Exposure: Mitigation and Detoxification
Joseph Pizzorno, ND
Arsenic is the number one toxin in North America and a primary cause of many chronic diseases. Although humans are good at eliminating arsenic (half-life typically 2-4 days), virtually everyone is constantly exposed though drinking water, foods (especially rice and chicken), cigarettes, some residential areas, old wooden climbing toys, occupational exposure, and cosmetics. Approximately 1/3 of the population suffers levels known to induce disease in humans. The main diseases are surprisingly diverse, such as the major cancers, diabetes, gout, herpes zoster and cardiovascular disease. Average levels are increasing and flavonoids protective against arsenic are leaving the food supply due to chemical farming techniques.
This presentation provides clinicians with research documenting the problem and clear guidance on assessment of arsenic toxicity and ways to decrease exposure and support safe elimination.
Detoxification in the Restoration of Brain Health
Bill Code, MD
Many health care practitioners deny the concept of detoxification, or make it difficult to achieve – often due to a heavy reliance on commercially available detoxification products. The cornerstone and primary approach to detoxification is a minimization or discontinuation of the intake of toxins contained within our diets, environment, and medications.
The brain is 60-70% fat and thus has a similar challenge of toxin release from compounds that dissolve in lipids. Unfortunately, most drugs, herbicides, pesticides, and some heavy metals concentrate in lipid tissues such as the brain. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is literally our endothelium, and found to be ‘leaky’ in most of us parallel to our intestinal permeability. The microbiome of the gut, brain and even skin, can be a powerful factor in assisting detoxification. Many bacteria and fungi can help breakdown the complex molecules created by man. Optimizing mitochondrial function also provides the energy for the high requirements of detoxification.
In addition to these considerations, two important but less well-known, powerful contributors to cell recovery will also be discussed – namely hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) and photo bio modulation therapy (PBMT). This presentation aims to simplify the concept of detoxification and provide a roadmap for all to follow, which includes addressing diet, environmental factors, and recovery from the long-term effects of disease and medical interventions.
Candida, Diet and Health: A New Twist on an Old Controversy
Aileen Burford-Mason, PhD
Conventional medicine considers Candida species to be harmless commensal organisms present in the normal gastrointestinal tract that can occasionally overgrow and cause invasive disease, mainly in immunocompromised individuals. In the 1970s the concept that colonization of the gut with Candida could cause an array of physical and neurological symptoms in non-immunocompromised patients, known as the yeast syndrome, gained popularity with integrative physicians but was dismissed as pseudoscientific and unproven by mainstream medicine.
Today, gut colonization with Candida is receiving renewed attention as a cause of Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS) or gut fermentation syndrome, in which the ingestion of carbohydrates results in endogenous alcohol production. The overproduction of endogenous alcohol in colonized individuals may explain many of the physical and neurological symptoms previously attributed to Candida, but generally dismissed. This talk will discuss diet and the use of selected natural health products to control the gut fermentation syndrome.
Dr. Rogers Prize Lecture
Non-Pharmaceutical Pain Management with Acupuncture, Magnesium and Vitamin D
Linda Rapson, MD
The neurophysiology of acupuncture analgesia has been researched since the 1970s, beginning with the work of Professor Bruce Pomeranz at the University of Toronto. Seventeen different lines of research strongly support the hypothesis that acupuncture analgesia (AA) is achieved by raising levels of several endorphins.
Acupuncture’s successful use in suppressing withdrawal symptoms that are triggered by abstinence of alcohol, heroin or cocaine in individuals with substance use disorders can be explained by its ability to raise levels of dopamine, which is the final common pathway for all three very different substances. This phenomenon is observed after 20-30 minutes of treatment. However, acupuncture can also calm the sympathetic nervous system within minutes, often producing dramatic improvement in neuropathic pain, suggesting a different mode of action that is likely independent of endorphin release.
The combination of acupuncture with optimized therapeutic vitamin D and magnesium levels as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to improve diet and nutritional support has potential to treat chronic pain well.
The Efficacy of Multidisciplinary Approaches in the Management of Chronic Pain
Naoko Hitosugi, MD, PhD
Management of chronic pain is complex and often accompanied with challenges. Particularly, when there are no more options of the tool to propose, it is stressful for both clinicians and patients who suffer from it. Up to date, nerve blocks and opioid use are the main conventional therapies to reduce and treat severe pain or symptoms. However, complete elimination of pain is hardly achieved.
Recent pain management has adopted multiple interventions such as orthomolecular medicine, oriental herb medicine, acupuncture, hyperthermia, ozone therapy, photoimmunotherapy, and regenerative medicine. In addition to those therapies, rehabilitation is the significant factor to maintain or stabilize the range of motion for the patients. The choice of those treatments can provide psychological benefits for the patients and high quality personalized medical care.
This presentation will focus on evaluating the efficacy and the necessity for multidisciplinary approach in chronic pain. Clinicians and patients should discuss treatment goals that include reducing pain, maximizing function, and improving quality of life. The best outcomes can be achieved when multiple interventions are combined and augmented to treat the symptoms and target the underlying etiology.
Endocannabinoids for Pain, Sleep, and Deprescribing Opioids
Caroline MacCallum, MD, BSc Pharm
Cannabinoids have multimodal mechanisms of action producing analgesia and may also provide relief for symptom clusters which accompany chronic non-cancer pain via effects on the endocannabinoid system.
The evidence from existing clinical studies provides important preliminary data to show that there may be synergistic effects between cannabinoids and opioids (cannabis-opioid mutual potentiation) wherein cannabinoids interact and sensitize opioid receptors in anti-nociceptive brain regions. An adjunct trial of cannabis with opioid therapy in individuals with chronic non-cancer pain has been proposed for symptom improvement, and potential opioid tapering, through these synergistic effects. Studies have demonstrated benefits for cannabis in the management of insomnia through improvements in sleep quality and sleep disturbances. Data on the effects of cannabinoids on sleep in medical conditions such as chronic pain and PTSD are also reviewed.
This presentation will review the available evidence and summarize practical steps for initiating the safe use of medical cannabis in patients with chronic pain, insomnia, and for those who wish to discontinue opioid use.
Psychiatric Medication: Adverse Effects and Withdrawal Strategies
James M. Greenblatt, MD
While psychiatry continues to adhere to a largely psychopharmacologic model of treatment, training clinicians how to prescribe psychotropic medications, it remains steadfast in its apparent insistence on minimizing – and effectively denying – its own responsibility for teaching clinicians how to safely stop psychotropic medications.
Given the scope of antidepressant prescribing practices in the U.S. and abroad, it would seem a matter of immediate concern that the medical establishment should develop clinical guidelines for safe antidepressant discontinuation. Unfortunately, the literature on antidepressant withdrawal best practices is sparse and, at best, confusing. This presentation will review an Integrative approach to the management of antidepressant medication side effects, focusing on withdrawal syndrome.
Evan Shute Memorial Lecture: Controversies in Nutrition
Medico-Legal Strategies for Orthomolecular Treatments
Thomas Levy, MD, JD
Most orthomolecular treatments for diseases and medical conditions remain ignored by the practitioners of conventional medicine. Indeed, some of the most significant and highly effective orthomolecular therapies are actively suppressed by these practitioners and the hospitals in which they practice. During the COVID pandemic in particular, examples of such therapies, as well as highly effective and inexpensive non-orthomolecular therapies, being prohibited by law and/or banned by the state Board of Medicine have highlighted the extent of opposition to such therapies. The only orthomolecular treatments that are able to be utilized regularly are those considered to be adjunctive, but never to displace an accepted and expensive pharmaceutical therapy. And even these adjunctive therapies are almost uniformly banned from being administered in the hospitalized setting, leaving them to be given only in a clinic or an at-home setting.
Much of the focus of the presentation will center on the suppressed applications of intravenous vitamin C over the last 80 years. Literally millions of patients, especially in the intensive care unit setting, have perished during this time by the intentional and/or negligent avoidance of this therapy. Practical approaches aimed at achieving the administration of this agent (and other agents) for a given patient will be discussed. Approaches on how deal with physicians, hospitals, and medical or dental boards will be presented. Some exemplary cases highlighting these approaches will also be analyzed. Suggestions will also be made to orthomolecular practitioners on how best to initiate and maintain the implementation of such therapies.