Mike's Book Reviews

Nutrition and Mental Illness


Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D.

Subtitle:   An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry

Click here. Classification: Nonfiction

What it's about:   In   Nutrition and Mental Illness: An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry  Dr. Pfeiffer discusses the critical role vitamins (especially the B-vitamins) and some minerals (copper, zinc) play in helping our complex brains operate properly.

He discusses various types of schizophrenia and relates nutritional supplements that seem to be highly effective in returning patients to proper functioning again.

He gives many case histories to support his conclusions. He and his staff have developed broad general guidelines regarding which vitamins and minerals are likely to cure various mental functioning problems. His examples are quite convincing -- and often very moving when a very troubled patient is brought back to a normal existence again.

Something I found quite interesting is his approach of giving patients increasing doses of Vitamin B6 until they can remember their dreams. When asked, he tells his patients: "Dream recall is normal. We want you to be normal."

Main facts or viewpoints I got from this book:   Powerful psychotropic medicines are, AT BEST, short-term "fixes" for mental problems.

And they frequently make a patient much worse in the long term. Giving the brain the vitamins and minerals it needs -- even it that sometimes means much larger doses than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) doses -- improves brain functioning much more safely. Without the long-term damage that powerful mind-affecting drugs can and often do cause.

My evaluation of Nutrition and Mental Illness:   It really opened my eyes to the critical importance of getting adequate levels (very different for different people) of certain vitamins for proper mental functioning, particularly the B-vitamins. As soon as I read the book I immediately started taking a strong (multi-RDA levels) full-spectrum B-vitamin supplement every day. In addition to the lower levels I was getting from a standard daily multivitamin tablet.

Why read this book:   Many reasons! To learn what to do to be able to think more clearly; to help improve sleep problems and insomnia; to be emotionally more stable and happier; to understand possible causes for mental limitations that bother you; and to give yourself the knowledge to help yourself feel and think better.

It seems to me if large doses of the vitamins discussed in the book can cure severe mental function problems, somewhat smaller doses can help a great many of us just plain think and function better. And vitamins are MUCH cheaper, available, and safer than powerful psychotropic drugs. Cheaper and safer -- I like that.

Read the book, see the case histories. Decide for yourself.

To give you a better feel for its contents, here are the book's chapter titles:

We all want our emotions to be more stable and our thinking to be clearer.
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Here are two other health-related pages I've found useful for myself and family members:
Sleep Problems Resources -- How to sleep better and be happier.
Back Pain Resources -- Relief for everything from nagging backaches to severe back pain.

And this may be of interest:

Many people believe that first aid training should be an integral part of the education system. First aid training also provides basic information about the drug system and helps in detecting problems earlier. Some people are of the view that the problems caused by the growing use of the abs diet and other weight loss supplements can be minimized this way. However, this idea falls flat on the issue of cosmetic surgery and other surgical solutions for weight loss and other problems.

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(C) Copyright 2002 - 2007 by M. O'Gara -- all rights reserved.

Definition of Schizophrenia:
My Webster's dictionary says: "A mental disorder characterized by indifference, withdrawal, hallucinations, and delusions of persecution and omnipotence, often with unimpaired intelligence: a more inclusive term than dementia praecox, avoiding the implications of age and deterioration."

This is a *very* easy word to misspell! Some of the more common misspellings of the word are: skitzoprenia, schitzophrenia, scitzophrenia, skitzophrenia, scitzofrenia, schitzofrenia, skitzofrenia, scitzofrenya, schitzofrenya, skitzofrenya, and schizofrenya, shitzofrenia, schitzofrenia, and shitzophrenia.