Henry Turkel, MD

(1903—1992)

Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame

Inducted 2007

“Dr. Turkel had the nerve to make his claims when everyone ‘knew’ that children with genetic defects could not possibly be treated successfully”.
-Abram Hoffer

“I know Dr. Turkel, and I can testify to his sincerity and conviction. The results that he reports are striking. There is evidence that patients would receive significant benefit.”
-Linus Pauling

V itamin therapy in Down syndrome began in 1940, when Henry Turkel, M.D., of Detroit became interested in treating the metabolic disorders of Down syndrome with a mixture of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lipotropic nutrients, glutamic acid, thyroid hormone, antihistamines, nasal decongestants, and a diuretic. By the 1950s he had devoted his practice almost entirely to Down syndrome patients, of whom he kept exceptionally detailed records, including serial photographs of their progress. Conventional medicine ignored Dr. Turkel and he eventually retired and moved to Israel. Turkel clearly demonstrated that one of the ‘worst’ genetic defects-trisomy, leading to Down syndrome-could be modified through what is largely a nutritional program with moderately high-dose supplements. The program never corrected the basic genetic defects in Down syndrome, of course, but it did correct much of the collateral biochemical consequences, leading to improvements in cognition, physical health, and appearance. Turkel was probably the first to show that nutrition could improve genetic program- ming, and that genetic predeterminism was limited. (Jack Challem) Turkel contributed four important articles to the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry, including “Medical Amelioration of Down’s Syndrome Incorporating the Orthomolecular Approach (1975), and “Intellectual Improvement of a Retarded Patient Treated with the ‘U’ Series” (1984).  Dr. Turkel’s bibliography is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/turkel.html