Hall of Fame 2006



by Andrew W. Saul, Master of Ceremonies and

Assistant Editor, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine


(from the Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 29, 2006)


WELCOME to the Third Annual Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame inductions, what some like to call the “Orthomolecular Oscars.” Tonight, once again, we shall see who will take home the “Orthie.”


Orthomolecular nutritional therapy has sometimes been called “complementary” medicine. Might that therefore make conventional pharmaceutical-based therapy “insulting” or “rude” medicine? Orthomolecular medicine is the only segment of the healing arts to be given its name by a double Nobel prize winner. Linus Pauling stated that orthomolecular means the “right molecules.” In time, I think allopathic medicine will be more widely known as toximolecular. Since a drug-based approach introduces molecules that are foreign or “wrong,” perhaps even “naughty-molecular.”


The old paradigm of medicine is represented in a story Mark Twain tells of a doctor at the bedside of a very sick, elderly lady. The doctor told her that she must stop drinking, cussing and smoking. The lady said that she'd never done any of those things in her entire life. The doctor responded, "Well, that's your problem, then. You've neglected your habits." Twain added: "She was like a sinking ship with no freight to throw overboard." Perhaps some of that “freight” would be an old-fashioned ignorance of nutritional medicine.


Now let’s consider another and quite different elderly woman: a woman taking niacin for 42 years, and still cross country skiing at the age of 110. This is a real person, an actual long-time patient of Dr. Abram Hoffer. Clearly, here is a new paradigm. How very different from the Henny Youngman story: “So this guy’s doctor told him he had six months to live.  The guy said he couldn’t pay his bill.  The doctor gave him another six months.”


One of the purposes of the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame is to educate the professions and the public about the pioneers of high-dose nutritional therapy. (All previous inductees are profiled at http://orthomolecular.org/hof/index.shtml ) To take this even further, the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service was started in March 2005. OMNS issues press releases spotlighting the safety and effectiveness of vitamins and other nutrients. Now, after just over one year, nearly 6,000 subscribers, including 3,000 broadcast and print news media, regularly receive OMNS press releases. You can read them all at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml and subscribe for free at http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html


Here’s more good news: the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine is now archived online at http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/  Everyone may now access back issues of JOM free of charge.


Eubie Blake, centenarian composer of the famous Charleston Rag, said, “It’s not what we don’t know that harms us; it’s what we do know that ain’t so.” All of tonight’s inductees know that no cell in the human body is made from a drug. Not one.


William Griffith Wilson (“Bill W.”)
(1895 – 1971)


Bill Wilson’s birthplace, East Dorset, Vermont, is not far from where I used to live. I was in Londonderry, on the other side of the mountains from where Bill was born and where Bill and his wife, Lois, are now buried. The 1852 house, still the largest building in town, was originally a hotel. Local groups still hold A.A. meetings right there, every week. Another nearby house, across the churchyard, is where Bill grew up with his sister and grandparents. In 2005, it was dedicated as the Griffith Library, and now holds the Alcoholics Anonymous archives.


An alcoholic since age 22, Bill made, and lost, a fortune in stocks. His descent from riches to rags eventually drove him in 1935 to found, with Dr. Bob Smith, what is now known as Alcoholics Anonymous.


2005 marked the 70th anniversary of AA, and the 25 millionth copy of Alcoholics Anonymous’ now-famous “Big Book.” Aldous Huxley had once called Bill W. "the greatest social architect of our century." In 1999, Bill W. was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century. In their feature article about him, there is not a single mention of the word niacin, or vitamin, or even of nutrition. Interestingly, decades earlier, Bill W. had been offered the opportunity to have his picture on the cover of Time magazine. He declined. To this day, selective history records AA’s 12-Step Program, but has forgotten, or deliberately purged, what Bill wanted to be AA’s 13th step: orthomolecular therapy with vitamin B-3.


Tonight, we correct the omission. Welcome, Bill W., to the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.


Arthur M. Sackler, M.D.



There is, I can confidently assure you, only one inductee tonight that has his own wing at the London Royal Academy of Arts, a museum at Harvard, a gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, a museum in Beijing, and a wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And that, of course, could only be Dr. Arthur Sackler. Widely known for his passionate and generous patronage of the arts, Dr. Sackler, to us, is best known as the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of the Medical Tribune. For that, I am personally grateful to Dr Sackler. It was in the Tribune where I first learned about Dr Ruth Harrell, another of our inductees tonight. Thanks to Dr Sackler, on Wednesday, January 21, 1981, her vitamin research got the front page along with the headline, “Vitamins, minerals boost IQ in retarded.


Before there was a Tribune, Dr Sackler was editor of the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Psychobiology from 1950 to 1962. It was there that Dr. Sackler published the Hoffer-Osmond schizophrenia studies in 1957. We are forever indebted to Dr. Sackler for that alone, and he did far more.


Truly a farsighted man, Dr Sackler said: "Bridges must be built to unite peoples in mutual respect and reciprocal esteem. . . I believe that the arts, sciences and humanities can best create those bridges of understanding essential for a world in which all people can link their aspirations to achieve their potentials.”


Arthur Sackler decided to become a doctor when he was a young fellow: four years old, in fact. And throughout his life he enjoyed his work. "Art is a passion pursued with discipline and science is a discipline pursued with passion. Passion is the engine that drives creativity. At pursuing both, I have had a lot of fun."


Dr. Sackler’s philanthropy attracted the attention of the popular press. His histamine research attracted the attention of the professional press. Such was not the case with his advocacy of vitamin therapy, of orthomolecular medicine. Tonight, we get to set that aright, as we proudly induct Dr Arthur M. Sackler into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.


Max Joseph Vogel, MD 

(1915 – 2002)


Dr Max Vogel was a Calgary orthomolecular medical pioneer who served for five decades as a beloved, and very busy, family doctor. He was a friend of Linus Pauling. The Calgary Herald eulogized him as “a devoted father and husband.” Dr. Vogel's wife Vera said that he asked her to marry him 49 years ago af­ter only three dates. She agreed on one condi­tion: That he still take me dancing I when I was 70. He said yes.” The newspaper added: “Dr. Vogel’s son Victor, a Calgary lawyer and eldest of the five children, said he began to understand his father's influence when he visited his own doctor and asked about the effectiveness of vitamin therapy. He said, “Ask your dad. And tell me what he says", said the doctor. Researcher and journalist Harold Finkleman says that Dr. Vogel saved his life twice. "So many people went to him. He saved so many lives,” said Finkleman.


Dr. Max Vogel made house calls until he retired in 1997 at age 82. Abram Hoffer has distinguished Dr. Vogel in a way that is hard to beat: “Max became so skillful in treating schizophrenic patients that I would refer to him all the Alberta patients who approached me.” We are very pleased tonight to add another honor to Max Vogel’s life and work, as we proudly induct him into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame. (S. Carter)


Ruth Flinn Harrell

(1900 – 1991)


Dr. Ruth F. Harrell spent her life demonstrating that "megavitamin" doses are safe and remarkably effective, even offering improvement in Down Syndrome children. Her trials were successful because her team gave LD kids much larger doses of vitamins than other researchers: over 100 times the ADULT (not child's) RDA for riboflavin; 37 times the RDA for niacin (given as niacinamide); 40 times the RDA for vitamin E; and 150 times the RDA for thiamin.  Dr. Harrell anticipated that her use of megadoses would result in "controversy and brickbats."  She was right. A number of well-publicized studies conducted to "replicate" Dr. Harrell's work seemingly could not do so. Yet Harrell's "replicators" failed to adhere to her protocol, and consequently but not surprisingly, failed to get her results. F. Jack Warner, MD, writes: "Even today many medical professionals scoff at the validity of Dr. Ruth Harrell's study with nutritional supplements and the important addition of thyroid medication. Dr. Harrell pleaded with her replicators to use exactly the same chemical values of supplements and medications. To date, this still has not been accomplished."


What a loss for children. May I share with you the story of one Down syndrome child:


This seven year old child was still wearing diapers, didn't recognize his parents, and had no speech. In forty days, after some of the supplements were increased, his mother telephoned. . . saying, "He's turned on, just like an electric light. He's asking the name of everything. I think he saw us for the first time." This little boy went on to do very well in his learning, and eventually tested with an IQ of ninety, which an average IQ." I have seen a beautiful photo in Medical Tribune of Dr. Harrell being hugged by one of the study group children. The kids noticed their own improvement.


Dr. Harrell noted that “when there was a ten point rise in IQ, the family noticed it. When there was a fifteen point rise in IQ, the teachers noticed it. When there was a twenty point rise in IQ, the neighborhood noticed it.”


Perhaps Harrell's dramatic IQ gains were merely due to the placebo effect. If so, I want every school district on earth to lay in a stock of sugar pills. Harrell colleague Dr. Donald Davis writes, "No amount of matching or variable control with Harrell's subjects could change their large IQ gains which are the crucial and so far unexplained difference between the Harrell group and others."


Ruth Flinn Harrell's approach yielded smarter, happier children. Ruth Harrell found IQ to be proportional to nutrient dosage. This may simultaneously be the most elementary and also the most controversial mathematical equation in medicine. Tonight, we honor Dr Harrell, a truly great woman of courage, brilliance, and compassion.


Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD

(b. 1917)

I have been looking forward to this moment for months, in fact, for years. This time, we get to induct the boss.


When I had the great honor of inaugurating the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame three years ago, I and many others would have liked Abram Hoffer to be our first inductee. He would not consider it. Therefore, I will honor Dr. Hoffer here tonight, and as our guest and the program pre-printed, there is absolutely nothing he can do about it.


Abram Hoffer writes: “I was born on a farm in Southern Saskatchewan in 1917 in our first wooden house. My three older siblings were born in a sod shack. Public and high school education was completed in single room schools.” With frontier flair, so writes the founding father of orthomolecular medicine, Dr. Abram Hoffer.


Another famous frontiersman from the lower 48, Davy Crockett, said “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”


Honors are not new to Abram Hoffer. He has received many. Still, there is one honor that you may not already be aware of, one that Abram only recently told me about: Abram Hoffer is an honorary Maori Chief. 


“It was a complete surprise to me, too,” he said. “Many years ago Rose and I were on a speaking tour. In New Zealand we were staying in a hotel where there were many guests. One afternoon, I was asked whether I would like to be made an honorary Maori chief. When I discovered that all I had to do was to be there, I agreed. Later in the afternoon, in the large lobby with Rose and a swarm of hotel guests, the doorman, who was a Maori, started the solemn ceremony. I stood in front of him very respectfully. He began to talk to some one, silently, using his facial expressions and contortions. I was then told that he was cleansing me of any evil spirits. He did not tell me that he had seen any, and I was too cowardly to ask, but this was an important precaution as no one with evil spirits was going to be given that honor. After he had cleansed me, he stepped forward and threw a rather large, and, I hope, dull sword which fell in front of me.


He must have had ample practice with this. Then he came forward and did something with it and lo and behold, I was a Chief. I have always taken this honor seriously especially since, as you now know, I am free of all evil spirits and I would hate to have them come back. Someone should tell the American Psychiatric Association.”

It was fifty-five years ago that Dr Abram Hoffer and his colleagues began curing schizophrenia with niacin. While some physicians are still waiting, those who have used niacin with patients and families know the immense practical value of what Dr. Hoffer discovered. Dr. Hoffer was right, and his work has benefited millions of people worldwide.


Abram Hoffer's life has not merely changed the face of psychiatry. He has changed the course of medicine for all time. His twenty books and over 500 scientific papers have yet to convince everybody, but they have well taught all of us here. We who have seen the benefits will tell everybody. Such momentum is unstoppable. Tonight, I speak for everyone here when I say that we will not rest until nutritional medicine is the healing system available for all.


Dr. Hoffer has said that it takes about two generations before a truly new medical idea is accepted. Perhaps in the case of megavitamin therapy, maybe its three generations. Great ideas in medicine, or anywhere else, are never self-evident. At least not unless a brilliant mind sees more than others have seen, and has the courage to speak out in the teeth of some often surprisingly bitter professional adversity. As a college lecturer, I learned some years ago that if you want to clear the department's lunch room in a hurry, just say something positive about megavitamin therapy.


If I were to pay one especially high compliment to Dr Hoffer, it would be this: By experience, I have found everything he has written to be true.


If I had one wish for the Nobel Prize committee, it would be for them to do something they should have done a long time ago: select Dr. Hoffer for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.


Tonight, it is the honor of honors for me to induct our very own Chief, Dr Abram Hoffer, into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.


Lendon H. Smith

(1921 – 2001)

I raised my children into adulthood without their ever requiring a single dose of any antibiotic, and I have Dr. Lendon H. Smith to thank for it. A student came up to me one day after lecture and placed a slim paperback into my hands, saying “You have to read this!”  The little book was Lendon Smith’s Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C: The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. Since Dr. Klenner’s work had previously been hard to find, Dr. Smith did the world a service in collecting and summarizing it into a mere 57 pages of astounding reading.


Lendon Smith was perhaps among the most courageous of physicians, as he was one of the first to unambiguously support high-dose vitamin regimens for children. Such a position did not endear Smith to every one of his fellow members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it is therefore further to his credit that he boldly stepped forward and, in the best traditions of Linus Pauling, took orthomolecular therapy directly to the people.  In this he was particularly successful, achieving renown by way of his newsletter entitled The Facts, and his many popular books, articles, videos and primetime television appearances.


And yet it was not until over 20 years of medical practice that Dr. Smith first began to use megavitamin therapy. A patient “wanted me to give her a vitamin shot,” he writes of an alcoholic woman from 1973. “I had never done such a useless thing in my professional life, and I was a little embarrassed to think that she considered me to be the kind of doctor who would do that sort of thing.” (Feed Yourself Right, 1983, xiii-xiv)


“That sort of thing” consisted of an intramuscular injection of 0.5 cc of B-complex, which, Smith reported, proved successful enough such that “she walked past three bars and didn’t have to go in.”  This was the beginning of his evolution from conventional pediatrician to orthomolecular spokesperson. 


Dr. Smith couldn’t have cared less about his critics. By 1979, he was a New York Times bestselling author, and by 1983 an advocate of four-day water fasts, 1,000 microgram injections of B-12, and megavitamins for kids. Specifically, he urged “an intake of vitamin C of about 1,000 milligrams per day for each year of life up to 5,000 mgs at age five. A baby should get 100 mg per day per month of age.”  He was an outspoken critic of junk food. Among his trademark phrases were, “People tend to eat the food to which they are sensitive.” And: “If you love something, it is probably bad for you.”  And: “If we continue to eat store-bought food, we will have store-bought teeth.”


Here are two more of my favorite Lendon Smith zingers:


“Soap and peroxide seems to be safer than tetanus shots.”


And, of course:


“There is no evidence schizophrenia is caused by a deficiency of any modern drug.“


Dr. Smith’s exceptional visibility has done a great deal to educate and encourage fathers and mothers to use vitamins to prevent and cure illness. For this, Lendon Smith ranks as one of the most influential pediatricians of our time, and one of the true pioneers of orthomolecular medicine. Tonight, he joins the Hall of Fame.

Sister Theresa Feist

(b. 1942)


As a young man in Vermont, I lived only minutes from Weston Priory. I used to go there on my day off and help the monks with their cider pressing. Years later, I taught in two parochial secondary schools, alongside Catholic sisters. There was one I recall in particular: the junior high school music teacher. She was a short person, devout, modest and kind. She also had a wonderful sense of humor. At a rather serious Catholic educators’ AIDS conference (this was the early days of AIDS publicity, and fear was high), she said, “I have an AIDS joke.” And then, she told it. “By a condo, and avoid the intersection.”


In her book, “Schizophrenia Cured,” Ursuline Sister Theresa Feist has presented all who wish to know with the way out of schizophrenia. Until I read her book, I had never seen an appreciation of orthomolecular medicine illustrated with prayerful line drawings and Biblical quotes. May I say that I like the presentation very much. Here is the testimony of a woman who has chosen a life of selfless service. In the early 1970’s, she experiences the depths of mental distress. Then, after a no-sugar diet and niacin supplementation three times a day, she experiences cure in 19 days flat.  She publishes her story, and then proceeds to write a second book, “Spirituality and Holistic Living.” Then she goes on to found and operate a residential facility which, in the good Quaker tradition that Dr Abram Hoffer has often mentioned, offers compassionate care and good food to those most in need. It is called the Flaman-Morris Home, Inc, and is located in Lebret, Saskatchewan. With a small but dedicated staff, it offers up to eight people at a time nutrition for body, mind and spirit. Think of it as an orthomolecular retreat house. Sister knows something about managing a retreat house, she being one of twelve children.


Abram Hoffer has written, “The “Sister Teresa Feists” of the world are the people who move mankind.”  Sister writes directly to the heart, saying: “There is no reason why information should be withheld from the public. There is no reason why government support should not be swift in coming. There is no reason why I should not tell my story. Read it, please, and pass it on.”


The history of Christianity is has long celebrated the contribution of mother foundresses, religious women who have created a physical place for spiritual restoration. Sister has not only done that; she, at the Flaman-Morris Home, has created a spiritual place for physical restoration.


Sr. Teresa exemplifies, even personifies, what is probably the highest of all religious virtues: selfless service.


It is my great pleasure to now introduce you to the youngest-ever inductee into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame: Sister Teresa Feist.


David R. Hawkins, M.D.

(b. 1927)


Dr. David Hawkins authored articles with Bill W. of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, and co-edited with Linus Pauling. He received the Huxley Award, 1979, for “Inestimable Contribution to the Alleviation of Human Suffering.” This year, he was honored as an American Psychiatric Association’s 50-Year Distinguished Life Fellow. Given all this serious and well-deserved accolade, I cannot help but delight in one more aspect of Dr. Hawkins: he has a singular dislike of scorpions.


He confessed this to all the world in 1996, when he wrote “Goodbye, Scorpion; Farewell, Black Widow Spider.” In this book, he returned to his boyhood hobby as an amateur entomologist, producing what one reviewer called “a colloquial and often humorous relation of his battles with and eventual triumph over these dangerous arachnid pests.”

Hawkins writes: ”One day I reached into the kitchen sink to pick out what looked like a rubber band. Just as I was about to grab it, the rubber band suddenly came alive, and that arched tail, poised to strike, got my attention. . . . Over the next ten years, I talked to many people and read a lot of books. Nobody could suggest much of anything. So I decided to do it myself. In this book you will learn how to capture your own local monsters. If you are a "scorpiophile" and want to cart them off to a safe refuge somewhere, that is up to you - be my guest. In my opinion, the best place for scorpions is encased in plastic paperweights. As you can see, I am a true scorpiophobe!”


In recent years, and on other topics, of course, Dr. Hawkins has been praised by Wal-Mart Founder Sam Walton, former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. Even Blessed Mother Teresa has written of Hawkins, stating that he has “[A] beautiful gift of writing... [You] spread joy, love and compassion through what you write. The fruit of these three is peace.”

Dr. Hawkins says, “We change the world not by what we say or do but as a consequence of what we have become." Tonight, we honor Dr. Hawkins’ many contributions to psychiatry and to the world as we rightfully add his name to the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.

(These profiles were written by Andrew W. Saul, except for “Sister Theresa Feist” and “Max Joseph Vogel,” which were written by Steven Carter. Reprinted with permission from J Orthomolecular Med, 2006. Vol 21, No 2.)

For more Hall of Fame inductees’ biographies, please go to http://www.orthomolecular.org/hof/index.shtml


Andrew Saul, PhD


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