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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reading for laypeople, disappointing for scientists, Jan. 6 2003
By 
Richard C. Jensen (San Diego, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition (Paperback)
There are two kinds of books that deal with bio-medical issues: those that have reputable scientific references located within the book, and those that don't. This book does not. If this book had the hundreds of journal articles needed to back up Dr. Hoffer's claims, I would have given it a 4 or 5 star rating. The bottom line is that if a scientific book does not have any references, they may as well be telling you that the world is flat. Time and time again Dr. Hoffer says that he has evidence about the effectiveness of this vitamin or that. Put in the references, Dr. Hoffer!
Part of the book is good---it recommends a balanced diet with no processed foods. This mantra reminds of the conversation I once had with a German exchange student in my laboratory. I was walking by him and his German ladyfriend, who was smoking, and I joked "Hey, how come you Germans smoke and drink, but still live as long as us Americans do?" Well, the German student thought long and hard about my "joke", and came up with an answer. He said that in Europe, there are hardly any fast-food restaurants and no supermarkets. All food is much more fresh and has a much shorter shelf life, and since its located in small stores, the inventory is quickly rotated. So his conclusion is that the processed foods shortened the American life span to that of Germans, who smoke and drink much more than we do. In other words, if someone does not smoke, drink, or eat processed foods, they should live to at least 90 years old, not 75.
Some other parts of the book are not very good. Dr. Hoffer claims that all vitamins are safe---they are not!!! He recommends megadosing with vitamins B3, B6, and vitamin C. Of these three vitamins, only C is safe to megadose with. B3 megadosing can cause liver damage and panic attacks, and if someone is also on psychiatric medication, they could die from the serotonin syndrome, the same syndrome that kills some users of the illegal drug Extasy. B6 may also cause the serotonin syndrome if mixed with psychiatric medication, and even by itself, megadosing with B6 can produce permanent peripheral nerve damage. For a more detailed analysis of vitamin side effects, the book The Failures of American Medicine is an excellent reference.
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Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition
Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition by Abram Hoffer (Paperback - Nov. 1 1998)
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