The late Dr Abram Hoffer*, who started successfully treating schizophrenic patients with large doses of niacin (Vitamin B3) in the 1950s, always said that it took 50 years for the medical profession to take a new treatment seriously. And we were, indeed, into the 21st century before Dr Hoffer’s approach to schizophrenia started to gain genuine traction. Dr Hoffer may have become resigned to this state of affairs, but not all pioneers have!
Heather Fraser is a historical researcher whose son, Woody, was part of the ‘first wave’ of peanut allergic children which hit the US and Canada in the 1990s. Over 20 years the number of children (many of whom have now grown into adulthood) suffering from life threatening peanut allergy alone has grown to around 4 million.
In 2009 Heather wrote The History of the Peanut Allergy Epidemic linking the epidemic of peanut allergy with the massive ramping up of the vaccination programme since the 1980s. More powerful vaccines, administered in ever larger combinations with ever more powerful adjuvants at ever earlier ages. She believed not only that her evidence was irrefutable but that the medical profession was perfectly well aware, and had been for over 100 years, that an inevitable result of increased vaccination was in increase of the number of people who would develop allergies. So even though she did not expect an immediate change in policy, she thought that her book would at least trigger a conversation and, hopefully, an investigation into this potentially lethal link. But…. nothing.
Heather blames both the current legal situation in the US where vaccine makers cannot be held liable for any injury related to the use of their products and the vested interests of the medical allergy ‘industry’ but there is no doubt that the mental inertia of the medical fraternity, which for so long resisted Dr Hoffer’s suggestion that schizophrenia could be dramatically helped with niacin, also plays its part.
In not quite the same vein, but equally frustrating, was a recent email exchange I had with Dr Janice Joneja, a world expert on histamine intolerance who we are lucky enough to have running a Q&A on histamine for us on the Foods Matter site. I had mentioned to her that her original article on histamine intolerance on the FM site get 10-15,000 hits per month, by far the highest for any individual page on the site. (The second highest, you might be interested to know, is for the late Dr Harry Morrow Brown’s article on potato allergy.)
‘Reading,’ she said, ‘the information available on histamine intolerance on the internet I realise that most of it is based on my work. I developed the histamine-restricted diet more than 25 years ago after translating the DAO material from Germany. It was of great help for my patients in the Food Allergy Clinic that I headed in Vancouver General Hospital at the time. Before that it seemed that no-one had recognised that by restricting histamine in foods the total body histamine could be reduced sufficiently to afford symptomatic relief. This was before DAO as a supplement was developed and available. Now the material I developed has become ‘received wisdom’ but I am rarely recognised as the original author. Such is fame!’
‘Much more frustratingly’, she added, ‘it seems that many practitioners have added their own foods to my original list, many of which (e.g. gluten, sugar, caffeine) are not contraindicated on a histamine-restricted diet. So now people are faced with much longer lists of foods to avoid than they should be and find the whole process unnecessarily tedious.’
- If you want to know more about Dr Hoffer’s theories, see here.