Carlton Fredericks, PhD

(1910—1987)

Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame

Inducted 2008

“Carlton Fredericks repeatedly kicked the shins of public health officials because of their failure to protect the nutritional health of the public.”
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– Michael Barbee, Politically Incorrect Nutrition

Carlton Fredericks, born Harold Carlton Caplan, grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama in 1931, and received a master’s degree in 1949 and a PhD in 1955, both in Public Health Education, and both from New York University. He wrote over twenty books, lectured widely, and was associate professor of public health at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Fredericks became famous, and in some circles infamous, for his pioneering use of the media to educate people about vitamin and nutrition therapy. On the radio for nearly half a century, his most famous thirty years began in 1957 at New York City station WOR. Fredericks’ call-in “Design for Living” program, broadcast six days a week and syndicated nationally, resulted in literally millions of letters to a man whom many considered to be “America’s Foremost Nutritionist.” KABC Los Angeles presented his program “Living Should Be Fun” saying that “Dr. Fredericks presents interviews with doctors and nutritionists (and) examines the fact or superstition in certain nutrition beliefs.” In one such 1978 interview, he interviewed orthomolecular niacinamide pioneer Dr. William Kaufman.

Dr. Fredericks, a colleague of Drs. Robert Atkins and Linus Pauling, was heavily criticized as a vitamin “promoter” and food “faddist”. Today, he might be seen more as an orthomolecular version of Paul Harvey. The New York Times described Fredericks’ voice as having “crisp diction and authoritative delivery.” Fredericks constantly made fun of junk foods, and brought his listeners many a memorable moment. He quipped that if you lack the time to learn what you ought to know about healthy eating, just follow the average grocery store shopper and purchase only what she doesn’t. When callers asked about white bread, he replied that it “makes a wonderful way of cleaning off your counter tops. You can dust your furniture with it.” The irrepressible Fredericks appeared on the Merv Griffin Show, and was a columnist for Prevention and Let’s Live magazines.