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The Future Of Nutritional Pharmacology

Jeffrey Bland, PhD, FACN, FACB

Abstract
As the basic science of nutrigenomics unfolds in the 21st century, a significant question remains as to how it will be applied to improve health outcomes. The field was born of the observations made by Sir Archibald Garrod at the turn of the 19th century that there are innate errors in metabolism, such as acidurias, that could be modified through dietary modifications.1 In 1949, Roger Williams, PhD, whose group at the University of Texas was credit- ed with the discovery of pantothenic acid, advanced the concept of genetotrophic disease, the origin of which is characterized by the inadequate intake of a specific nutrient or group of nutrients to meet the genetically determined needs of the individual.2 Also in 1949, 2-time Nobel Laureate in chemistry and peace, Linus Pauling, PhD, coined the term molecular disease from his pioneer- ing work on the discovery of the origin of the nutrient-related genetic metabolism disease phenylketonuria.3 In 1967, Pauling extended this concept with the term orthomolecular medicine, which he defined as the therapeutic use of substances native to human physiological chemistry to support functional health.4 During this time, psychiatrist and organic chemist Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, following Pauling’s concept, described the successful clinical application of therapeutic doses of specific B vitamins such as niacin and pyridoxine for the management of certain forms of schizophrenia, resulting in the birth of the field of orthomolecular psychiatry.

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