BiPolar, Schizophrenia, Mental Health Cure Since 1952

In Atypical_Antipsychotics Yahoo Group one member writes:


Mother of B.J. – Effexor-induced suicide victim

In further research on this subject I found this article:

Review by Andrew Saul, PhD

The United States Patent Office delayed issuing a patent on the Wright brothers’ airplane for five years because it broke accepted scientific principles. This is actually true. And so is this: Vitamin B-3, niacin, is scientifically proven to be effective against psychosis, and yet the medical profession has delayed endorsing it. Not for five years, but for fifty.

In 1952, Abram Hoffer, PhD, MD, had just completed his psychiatry residency. What’s more, he had proven, with the very first double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in the history of psychiatry, that vitamin B-3 could cure schizophrenia. You would think that psychiatrists everywhere would have beaten down a path to Saskatchewan to replicate the findings of this young Director of Psychiatric Research and his colleague, Humphrey Osmond, MD.

You’d think so.

In modern psychiatry, niacin and schizophrenia are both terms that have been closeted away out of sight. And patients, tranquilized into submission or Prozac-ed into La-La Land, are often idly at home or wandering the streets, where either way it is highly doubtful that they will get much in the way of a daily vitamin intake. Those in institutions fare little better nutritionally. For everyone “knows” that vitamins do not cure “real” diseases.

But Dr Hoffer dissents. For half a century Dr Hoffer has dissented. His central point has been this: Illness, including mental illness, is not caused by drug deficiency. But much illness, especially mental illness, may be seen to be caused by a vitamin deficiency. This makes sense, and has stood up to clinical trial again and again. If you do not believe this, Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia will provide you with the references to prove it. And remember that it was Dr. Hoffer who started off those clinical studies in the first place. In 1952.

I personally should have first became aware of a food-brain connection during those all-night, cookie-fired mah-jongg marathons I all-too-regularly indulged in while attending Australian National University. Though arguably somewhat less than psychotic, my mind was nevertheless pretty whacked out on sugar, junk food and adrenalin by 3 am. My mood was destroyed; my mind agitated; unable to sleep, sit still, or smile. Of course, I never entertained even the thought of a nutrition connection. For we’ve all been carefully taught that drugs cure illness, not diet.

And certainly not vitamin supplements!

But the truth will out eventually. Three years later, I first saw niacin work on somebody else. He was a bona-fide, properly-diagnosed, utterly-incurable, State-hospitalized schizophrenic patient. I did not see niacin work in the hospital, of course; the only vitamins given there are what you can filter out of your Jell-O and your Tang. No, the patient was a fellow whose parents were desperate enough try anything, even nutrition. Perhaps this was because their son was so unmanageably violent that he was kicked out of the asylum and sent to live with them. On a good day, his Mom and Dad somehow got him to take 3,000 milligrams of niacin and 10,000 mg of vitamin C. Formally a hyperactive insomniac, he responded by sleeping for 18 hours the first night and becoming surprisingly normal within days. I’d seen him before, and I saw him after. I’d talked to his parents during the whole process. It was an astounding improvement.

Sometime afterward, I tried niacin to see if it would help my own touch of sleeplessness. I found it worked nicely, and it only took a little to do so, perhaps 100 milligrams at most. Any more and I would experience a warm “flush.” But then I found that when I ate junk food or sugar in quantity, I could hold 500 mg or more without flushing a bit. And when I took all that niacin, instead of flipping out, I was calm. In Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia, Dr. Hoffer explains why this is so:

1) As a rule, the more ill you are, the more niacin you can hold without flushing. In other words, if you need it, you physiologically soak up a lot of niacin. Where does it all go? Well, a good bit of it goes into making nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD. NAD is just about the most important coenzyme in your body. It is made from niacin, as its name implies.

2) Niacin also works in your body as an antihistamine. Many persons showing psychotic behavior suffer from cerebral allergies. They need more niacin in order to cope with eating inappropriate foods. They also need to stop eating those inappropriate foods, chief among which are the ones they may crave the most: junk food and sugar.

3) There is a chemical found in quantity in the bodies of schizophrenic persons. It is an indole called adrenochrome. Adrenochrome (which is oxidized adrenalin) has an almost LSD-like effect on the body. That might well explain their behavior. Niacin serves to reduce the body’s production of this toxic material.

That Dr. Hoffer can compress a lifetime of research experience into one readable and surprisingly short book is a tribute to how clearly he teaches both layman and physician the essentials of niacin treatment. I have taught nutritional biochemistry to high school, undergraduate, and chiropractic students. To most, it is not an especially gripping subject. But when even a basic working knowledge of niacin chemistry can profoundly change psychotic patients for the better, it becomes very interesting very quickly.

Dr. Hoffer has treated thousands and thousands of such patients for nearly half a century. At 83, he still is in actively practicing orthomolecular (megavitamin) psychiatry. He has seen medical fads come and go. What he sees now is what he’s always seen: that very sick people get well on vitamin B-3.

Review copyright c 2000 by Andrew Saul

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17 Responses to “BiPolar, Schizophrenia, Mental Health Cure Since 1952”

  1. barbouyukon Says:

    Thank you for an informative article.I too can attest to the effects of niacin.Diagnosed 4 years ago as bipolar I was given toximolecular pharmaceutical drugs and told I HAD to take them.Fortunately I discovered Hoffer, Pauling, Pfeiffer et al and orthomolecular.Having no access to a practitioner knowledgeable in Orthomolecular Psychiatry I devised a treatment based on internet gleanings (collected bit by bit). B3 is first and foremost among the vitamins I use to good effect.

  2. Your Friend Says:

    Thank you for your comment.

    I am so glad to hear that you are no longer on toximolecular drugs (involving the uses of standard SSRIs like Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Serzone, etc.)

    So that my readers understand, Orthomolecular Medicine is a theory that mental diseases or abnormalities from various deficiencies of vitamins or minerals in the body and can be cured by restoring proper levels of same. A natural alternative is always the best.

    I applaud you in your solution. Everyone should know though, that mega doses of vitamins and minerals can do some harm if not taken in correct doses, so you should thoroughly research what the toxic levels would be. I myself take tons of vitamins and minerals. That helps me keep even-keeled. You really have to make sure when you take B Vitamins that you also increase other B vitamins otherwise you will end up with a deficiency in other vitamin Bs. I just don’t want to see everyone out there doing themselves any harm. There are plenty of knowledgeable people out there that will warn you of how much to take. Everyone just has to do research as you did.

    Safe Harbor is an organization that tests people for deficiencies and more, just like Pfeiffer, et al. suggests. Often one can have allergies, toxic conditions, nutritional imbalances, poor diets, lack of exercise, or other treatable physical conditions. There are a number of similar centers around the world. You just have to be really careful who you go to because some say it is all natural and then they end up giving you other drugs. If you are still trying to find such a doctor Safe Harbor has “Find a Doctor” on their website.

    Well thank you again. I will have to do an article on Vitamin B3 and attribute it to you! 🙂

  3. skeptic Says:

    You’ve been debunked

  4. Your Friend Says:

    Hi Skeptic!

    I took a link at the link that you provided. It states that if there was a cure we would all hear about it. This is quite the opposite from what I read all over the internet. Big Pharma keeps things like this under wraps, just like they keep all of their side effects a secret; and why they use sponsor research labs and lobby. I had done extensive research and found that most of them are in bed together, the politicians and the pharmaceutical companies. They even have pharmaceutical company executives on FDA committees. Speaking of conflicts of interest!

    If I had been diagnosed with any of the above disorders I sure would rather give niacin a try rather than to go the Rx route. It may work for some.

  5. alia Says:

    I just did my senior project on the effects of mega doses of vitamins on bipolar patients. I have been diagnosed bipolar and although I am still taking small doses of prozak and depakot I am also taking megavitamins from true hope and others. I am going to try the niacin for sure as my doctor says I need to take it for high cholesterol. I am so hopeful that it will work for me. I do flush with even 150 mg and I heard I should take up to 1 gram a day. We will see how things go.

    • unityemissions Says:


      Try taking the inositol-hexanicotinate version of niacin. It’s 6 molecules of niacin bonded to a molecule of inositol. It doesn’t cause the flushing effect for most people. I’ve been on this for nearly two years now without any difficulties. I also take ascorbic acid with bioflavinoids along with it. 1 gram of INH, and two grams of vit-c. You can find the INH usually labeled as flush-free niacin. Just make sure to look on the back label to confirm it’s INH and not niacinamide.


  6. kim Says:

    son diagnosed with par. schizophrenia. not open to any alternatives, doesnt think he has problem, but i am looking everywhere and know that if/when son is ready, hope to have the info to help him.
    good luck to all in my shoes.
    please if anyone has info to share or like to see if our loved ones share anything that may bring light to this “imbalance” i would love to here from you.

    • Your Friend Says:

      Thanks for your comment Kim!

      This site is all about alternatives to psychiatric medication. Have you had a bad experience with alternatives of any kind?

  7. Chris Says:

    Mental illness is a real drag. It makes you feel like you are the only person in the world who has it, you know? I have tried a variety of different things, but nothing works over the long term. My problem is not psychosis, but more an extremely depressed, agitated, excessive thought type frame of mind.

  8. Hamish Says:

    Hi There,

    first of all Id say from what I’ve read there is no basis to saying niacin is unsafe in high doses… andI have had a very positive experience trying it as an alternative to the standard meds every doctor is convinced are the only answer.

    in 2007 I was diagnosed with Schizo-phreniform Psychosis, I couldnt tell the difference between dreams and reality and was hospitalised for 2 weeks.

    I have been on over many different meds since, most I could not tolerate the side effects.

    in the end I was on dose ‘200mg’ of amisulpride for over 4 years.. this was meant to prevent a relapse of illness.

    I found overall I still dealt with a certain amount of paranoia, depression, lack of energy and mood instability along with the occasional delusional though process or hallucination despite my medication.
    I could not go on a higher dose as the side effects would make me almost unable to work.

    So after Reading Dr Abram Hoffer’s Book titled ‘Healing Schizophrenia’ I decided to begin to try vitamin B3 treatment.

    I experimented with nicotinic acid at first, trying a dose of up to 3 grams, split up (4 250mg tablets 3 times a day)

    with nictonic acid there is a harmless ‘flush’ reaction you should know about, but the most interesting thing about the B3 was it actually worked wonders for my breakthrough psychotic symptoms.

    within a week I found myself feeling no paranoia, no strange delusional thoughts, I had more energy, actually I may have been a little hypermanic (this may be due to my illness sitting somewhere in between Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia… something referred to as schizo-affective disorder.) So sure… maybe it doesn’t stabilise my moods and prevent my slightly manic behaviour (something I’m still working on) But for the negative symptoms like paranoia and depression I had almost instant results.

    After a few more months trying a few other things, including a mood stabiliser (lamictal) than landed me in hospital and off work way too many days due to it making me violently ill for 1.5 months… I have had enough of the psychiatric drugs.

    I decided soon after watching the food matters dvd and realising my diet is more likely the key to my overall and mental health… to stop the amisulrpide alltogether and find a GP who supports me in taking the nutrition based approach to my mental health issues.

    So I have now got a holistic GP, I have sourced something called Naicinol Forte (slow release niacin) which I am taking 4 Grams a day with no flush reaction.. And so far, I am feeling pretty sane and no longer feel ‘dosed’ like I have all these years on the amisulpride. now the focus is on learning more about food and cooking and other healthy routines.

    I’m happy to reply with more info or answer any specific questions you have, for now I’ll leave you with a link to my webcomic which explores this whole situation since 2007:

    and heres a few cool niacin/nutrition based therapy related links I’ve found:

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I just started taking 300 mg a day for my self-labeled schizoaffective. The shrink says borderline, but she would not know the difference, since we disagreed a lot.

    I feel high as a kite and ready for almost anything.

  10. Savannah Lauren Says:

    I’m excited to try out this niacin! I’m bipolar, and I have borderline personality disorder (BDP). Even though no drug treats BPD, therapy does. I’m praying that with this niacin, I can be healed of my bipolararity!

  11. Ashlee Says:

    I beg to differ. Borderline and other “personality disorders” are just systemic illnesses like all other mental disorders. I was diagnosed as BPD, but it turned out I had mercury poisoning from my dental fillings and niacin is working wonders for all my mental problems.

  12. aiysha Says:

    has anyone tried it for BPD and if so what dose and what happened?Ive just started taking 500mg since yesterday.

  13. Weaverdreams777 Says:

    Wow, thanks – I know this was published many years ago but thank you very much for putting it up. Unfortunately Dr. Hoffer passed away in 2009.

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