By Dr. George Goodheart
Summary: In spite of nearly a century of medical investigation, schizophrenia remains a baffling disease in both its cause and treatment. While pharmaceutical drugs have long been the backbone of conventional therapy, such drugs tend to simply mitigate symptoms of the illness while often inducing severe side effects. In this fascinating article from 1970, acclaimed chiropractor and nutritionist Dr. George Goodheart—the father of Applied Kinesiology—presents an alternative therapy for the disease that combines upper spinal adjustments with dietary supplementation with niacin and/or niacinamide (aka “vitamin B3”). In a wide-ranging discussion, Dr. Goodheart details the characteristic responses of schizophrenics to muscle testing along with the origins of the “adrenochrome hypothesis” of schizophrenia, which proposes that the disease is caused by psychopathological metabolites of adrenaline that are degraded in normal individuals but remain unmetabolized in schizophrenics (and can be broken down by niacin). While medicine currently discredits the adrenochome hypothesis, over the years many healthcare professionals—both alternative and conventional—have reported positive results in treating schizophrenia with niacin, suggesting that while the mechanism originally proposed by adrenochrome hypothesis may not be entirely accurate, the therapy suggested by the theory is effective nevertheless. From The Digest of Chiropractic Economics, 1970.
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The Schizophrenic Pattern
Many patients have a variant of the schizophrenic pattern of mental illness. Many doctors fail to recognize that the schizoid type of symptomatology is not a mental problem per se, but [rather it] is a purely physical phenomenon. The mental symptoms naturally predominate, but the cause is purely physical and can be shown to be so easily and demonstrably. The patient with schizophrenia may be depressed, fatigued, and listless and may have very poor muscle tone. These people have trouble judging time, distance, and sounds. Some may have fears that they are being listened to in a very secret way and feel they are being persecuted or plotted against. They may feel that they have unusual authority or abilities and attempt to act the part of the false position they feel they have assumed.
Notice here that the word “feel” is used repeatedly, for this is what the schizoid mental process is all about. [Schizophrenics] do feel the sensations that they experience are real, for they have no other way to judge their experiences except by their senses. When these senses play them false, they are forced to act on these false feelings. Therefore the problem is to determine what produces these false feelings and what will normalize them and reorganize them into a more acceptable pattern of human behavior.
The incident of schizophrenia is no greater or less than it has been for the past decade, and there is no great geographical difference [with respect to its distribution]. There are a variety of theories as to the cause of schizophrenia, but none hold water in therapeutic application, particularly the mental—commonly psychiatric counseling—type of approach.
If the psychiatric treatment of schizoids is such a failure, what could be the basis for the opinion that this illness is a physical and not a mental condition?
1. Lucy and Lea, two researchers, found that schizophrenics could [tolerate] enormous quantities of histamines, which produce allergies in most people.
2. Arthritis and asthma were practically nonexistent in [schizophrenics according to] repeated surveys of the psychiatric patient population. Out of 3000 autopsies, not one patient showed any evidence of arthritis in their bony structure.
3. Diabetes is a rarity in mental hospitals, the level being far below the average for a random sample of the general population.
4. Schizophrenics can suffer and endure extensive burns, fractures, heart attacks, and a variety of other shocking illnesses with abnormal lack of shock and with great detachment.
5. When the blood of schizophrenic patients is fed to a certain type of spider, the spider weaves an abnormal web. When the blood of normal individuals is fed to the same type of spider, the spider weaves a normal web.
The evidence is overwhelming for a physical cause of this perplexing mental disease, which accounts for much of the caseload of the typical mental hospital and of the typical physician who treats mental illness.
The well-known hereditary pattern of schizophrenia would indicate that there is chromosomal imbalance that allows schizophrenic individuals abnormal biochemical departures from normal body chemistry. Here is the key factor to understanding and to the therapy of schizophrenia and related disorders.
We are all familiar with the pattern of the adrenal glands in a flight or fight situation. Additional quantities of adrenaline and adrenaline-like compounds are released by the adrenal medulla during these stress situations. As mentioned in previous articles, these produce a rather typical response that has allowed man to outrun the saber-toothed tiger and to survive to this day. Man has survived, and the saber-toothed tiger has not. It was man’s superior adrenal system that allowed this survival. These additional adrenaline or adrenaline-like substances are lysed, or destroyed, once the crisis is over by a substance appropriately called adrenlysin.
Here again we see the wisdom of the body’s innate intelligence and the master hand of the creator at work. But when this finely balanced system is disturbed by faulty structural relationships, certain other changes take place. Adrenaline normally breaks down to a highly toxic substance called adrenochrome, which in turn breaks down into a harmless leucoadrenochrome and a highly toxic adrenolutin compound. The leucoadrenochrome, with characteristic evidence of innate intelligence, is the balance wheel against any excess of adrenochrome or adrenolutin. In schizophrenics, for some reason, this neutralizing substance is not formed, and the two highly toxic substances are formed with literally no antidote.
Dr. Hoffer and Dr. Osmond are two men who have been singularly responsible for the adrenochrome hypothesis. By accident a patient of theirs who had occasional asthma took by inhalation some adrenaline compound that had changed color. Normally, as you know, adrenaline as commonly supplied is colorless. The toxic substance adrenochrome, which can be made easily in the laboratory, is pinkish in color. The druggist who supplied the discolored adrenaline was hesitant to sell it to the patient, but it was purchased because of the immediate needs of the patient.
After inhalation, which had its usual effect on the asthma temporarily, the patient felt extraordinarily alert but had difficulty in judging distance and time and also had bizarre thoughts. This was the start of a recovery from his asthma but the beginning of a mental state that thoroughly frightened and disorganized this previously very normal individual. He suffered anxieties, compulsions, bizarre thought patterns, depressions, and a host of other schizophrenic symptoms. He became very free of his asthma but so disoriented that he could no longer participate in ordinary family life.
He happened to mention the discolored adrenaline solution to a friend who was familiar with its toxic effects and who warned him against its use. He discontinued the prophylactic inhalations of the discolored material, which he had maintained despite the unusual absence of symptoms. It should be clear by now that adrenochrome and adrenolutin are true hallucinogens, similar to the widely known mescaline and LSD.
Since the substances adrenochrome and adrenolutin are toxic, and since the normal antidote, leucoadrenochrome, is not produced in sufficient quantities, the conclusion should be obvious: increase the production of leucoadrenochrome and/or neutralize the two toxic substances adrenochrome and adrenolutin by some natural antidote or method.
The obvious additional pattern of reducing adrenaline production is not worth considering since adrenaline’s production is vital to survival, even in this day of “paper” saber-toothed tigers. Naturally, avoiding life situations that stress the individual is wise, but [it is] often impossible.
There are other incidental factors that increase adrenaline production that can be reduced, such as smoking. Copper increases the oxidation of adrenaline and should not be loosely or supplementally used.
Up to this point, the discussion has been mainly biochemical, [about] the alteration of normal biochemical changes in the breakdown of the adrenaline molecule. If, as it has been said, schizophrenia is a physical condition and not a mental one, what are the physical clinical signs?
The use of muscle testing has been particularly invaluable in testing schizophrenics. Every patient with a previously validated diagnosis of schizophrenia had a variety of muscle imbalances, with the usual weakness causing hypertonicity of the opposite, or contralateral, antagonistic muscle. Coincident with each patient there was weakness of the anterior flexors bilaterally and, occasionally, unilaterally. This weakness responded to the usual neurolymphatic and neurovascular reflexes, but the response was not permanent, as is usual, and further research showed there was a specific response to niacin and also to niacinamide.
This was reported earlier in the ’68 research manual and has been further documented in terms of direct oral absorption by the Mellon Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. The immediate clinical response to the oral absorption without swallowing is an interesting phenomenon in that it occurs within ten seconds.
The result is long-lasting and, when combined with the previously mentioned neurovascular and neurolymphatics, produces an excellent response in the weak neck flexors. The niacinamide or niacin produces a steady and progressive response in the physiology of schizophrenia. An interesting sidelight is the unique ability of the body’s innate intelligence to telegraph its nutritional needs. In a weak neck flexor problem involving both anterior scalene and sternocleidomastoid, the response is to niacinamide, niacin, or niacinamide with B6.
In the anterior scalene syndrome by itself, the response to niacinamide or niacin or niacinamide-B6 combinations is only fair. But when high B6 and low niacinamide combinations are given, the response is as spectacular as with the niacin product in the combined problem. The patient’s progress is steady and progressive, and barring temporary emotional upsets from unavoidable life situations, the patient returns to normal in a perceptive way and becomes a useful, productive member of society.
Frequency of treatment should be twice weekly, at first with an approximate daily level of 300 mg of a natural source of niacin or niacinamide-B6 combination. In the severely aggravated, highly acute problem, a temporary use of a very high level of synthetic niacin or niacinamide is occasionally required, [followed by] an eventual rapid return to the more balanced lower level of niacin intake.
The adrenal [glands] make adrenochrome or adrenolutin in certain individuals in a vain effort to balance body equations but with the tragic effect of disturbing biochemical balance more severely. It is as though [the individual] enters a cabin from the bitter cold and attempts to build a fire in a fireplace that has a closed flue. The resultant heat from the fireplace warms the individual, but the resultant smoke drives the occupant outside to get away from the smoke that the fire is producing, and the individual is back in the cold again. The heavier dose of niacin is occasionally necessary to get rid of the accumulated “smoke.” Once the flue is opened mechanically, the lower level of niacin will be adequate to allow the fire to draw properly. This crude analogy points up the need for immediate treatment as well as the long-term maintenance program.
There are a variety of cranial faults in schizoid patients, but they vary from one patient to another. The unvarying, constant element in each patient with a previous diagnosis has been the weakness of the anterior neck flexors. Naturally, not every patient with weak anterior neck flexors has schizophrenia, but each time, every time, the schizoid exhibits this constant factor. This factor diminishes with treatment and proper nutritional management and provides a useful barometer of progress.
Your attention is directed to the superb monograph by A. Hoffer and H. Osmond entitled The Chemical Basis of Clinical Psychiatry. This book is published by Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, and can be obtained from your usual book source or from your college library. Another source is Niacin Therapy in Psychiatry by A. Hoffer, by the same publishers.
We have a duty to be physician to the whole man, not only to the sum of his parts, and the factors that produce mental disease are as much a part of our responsibility to the patient as any other factor producing disease. The immediacy of the patient’s problem may be such as to require protective custodial care, but this cannot be continued forever, any more than continued avoidance of fats will therapeutically clear up a gallbladder problem.
The answer is obvious: remedy the basic problem rather than avoid the precipitating factors. Niacinamide therapy—along with appropriate structural corrections of cranial and spinal faults—offers definitive therapy that is basic to the problem.
In some resistant cases or in a particularly difficult behavior problem in an older individual, the addition of ribonucleic acid (RNA) is one of great advantages in restoring the literal “cell memory” that is needed for total recovery. An interesting fact in this regard is that failure of cell memory following proper adjustment of the patient’s structure does not mean faulty technique but [instead] faulty nutritional background on the part of the patient’s previous pattern. In any resistant chronic disease pattern, regardless of symptomatology, it is a good policy to consider that the innate intelligence of the body may have a temporary “hysteria” or perhaps a “lapse of cell memory” that can be stimulated by proper adjustment. But in the event of a lack of proper response, addition of RNA (the cell memory raw material) is good therapy.
Many patients with schizoid problems may require long-term care and perhaps lifelong intake of niacin factors since they have a congenital chemical imbalance. The patient is rewarded by normal behavior, and society is rewarded by a proper citizen, in all his productive ability.
Further information regarding therapy and niacin-RNA intake patterns is available from the author without charge. Kindly enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request to: Dr. George J. Goodheart, 542 Michigan Buildng, Detroit, Michigan, 48226. [Note: Address retained for historical purposes only.] [Photo showing Dr. Goodheart.] (See original for image.)
By George J. Goodheart, DC, 542 Michigan Building, Detroit, Michigan, 48226. From the Digest of Chiropractic Economics, Vol. 13, No. 1, July/August 1970. A Digest magazine science original.
The above article is reported as a professional service by Standard Process Laboratories. Certain persons considered experts may disagree with one or more conclusions and opinions expressed by the author, but the same are considered nevertheless to be of current interest to chiropractic physicians. Reporting of such article shall not be construed as a recommendation concerning use of any specific product or products, nutritional or other procedures employed being a matter for the doctor’s professional knowledge and judgment, depending on his evaluation of the individual involved.