Carl C. Pfeiffer, MD, PhD



Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame

Inducted 2004

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

Carl C. Pfeiffer made his first contribution in 1974, contributing 22 papers by the time he died in 1988. He made major contributions to the understanding of trace element and mineral metabolism in the schizophrenias; made a rational division of the schizophrenias into three biochemical groups, and discussed amino acids in medicine. His contributions were of the greatest value. Carl Pfeiffer was one of the original members of the Committee on Therapy of the American Schizophrenia Association.

“If there’s a drug that can alter the brain’s biochemistry, there’s usually a combination of nutrients that can achieve the same thing without side-effects,” said Dr. Pfeiffer, founding director of the Brain Bio Center in Princeton, New Jersey (1973). Dr. Pfeiffer spent most of his life researching for the causes and cure of mental illness. He found that biochemical imbalances in the body were the blame for many psychological problems. His study on more than 20,000 schizophrenic patients enabled him to divide schizophrenia into 3 biochemical groupings called histapenia, histadelia and pyroluric 2, 3.

Lendon Smith, MD, a supporter of the Pfeiffer approach, wrote: “Carl C. Pfeiffer, in his book, Nutrition and Mental Illness, listed well-known causes of schizophrenia. . . He said, ‘All of these are chemically-induced metabolic disorders, which suggests the strong possibility that the “true” schizophrenias left in the “wastebasket” might also be due to biochemical abnormalities.'”

Dr. Pfeiffers other books include Mental and Elemental Nutrients, The Healing Nutrients, Dr. Pfeiffers Total Nutrition, Nutritional Science and Cookery, and Neurobiology of the Trace Metals Zinc and Copper. His contributions to orthomolecular medicine live on through his writings, the clinics he inspired, and the annual Society of Ortho-molecular Medicine lecture that bears his name. A bibliography of Dr. Pfeiffers work is posted at