Feed Your Head
What causes mental illness? Are we, indeed, what we eat?
A Documentary Film by Connie Littlefield
Psychiatrists Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond met in Saskatchewan
in 1951, and embarked on a quest to do what traditional psychiatry
deemed impossible: to find a cure for schizophrenia. Their work
spawned a number of directions for research, many of which are only
gaining acceptance in wider circles now.
Their primary contribution to psychiatry was a theory about treating
people suffering from mental illness using nutrition. Hoffer and
Osmond set out to prove that the symptoms of schizophrenia could
be controlled with healthy, unprocessed food and large doses of
Linus Pauling was an American scientist, peace activist, two-time
Nobel Prize winning author and educator. Pauling & Hoffer became
friends and together advocated for mega-doses of niacin, vitamin
C and other nutrients in the treatment of all kinds of disease.
Pauling came up with the name Orthomolecular for this
new, yet ancient, form of treatment. Orthomolecular means the
right molecules in the right amounts.
Hoffer, Osmond and Pauling were way ahead of their time. Their
work coincided with a general movement towards de-institutionalization
in mental health, releasing patients back into the community with
no real support system. At the same time, economic changes were
bringing budget cuts to all aspects of health care in North America.
This was also the dawn of the age of Big Pharma. Multi-national
pharmaceutical corporations sprung up in the 1950s and 60s, introducing
new anti-psychotic drugs that made it possible to control, if not
actually help, the mentally ill. Consumers put their faith in the
idea of the magic bullet and since then, psychiatry
has been largely controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.
For their efforts, Hoffer, Osmond, Pauling & hundreds of like-minded
doctors were condemned by their peers.
The tide is turning: a growing wave of consumer demand is driving
an orthomolecular resurgence. Doctors and patients are being slowly
won over by a simple idea that makes more sense every day:
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.