Orthomolecular specialists such as the Pfeiffer Treatment Center in the US and the Optimum Nutrition Institute in the UK offer highly individualised treatment programmes based on nutrition and supplements. At these centres, diagnosis is the key to helping people. It is not uncommon for patients at the Pfeiffer to undergo as many as 150 different lab tests to determine nutritional status vis-`a-vis depression. Such comprehensive testing can be difficult and time-consuming but, according to the Center, it can lead to an improvement in as much as 92 per cent of patients. Their own records show that two-thirds of those using this approach for rebalancing body chemistry no longer require medication.
To illustrate the need for careful diagnosis and supplementation, the table below shows the frequency of each biochemical class of depression and the supplements that are likely to help as well as harm.
(high histamine) (low histamine) Pyroluria
Subtype patients 35 per cent 25 per cent 18 per cent
Potentially harmful Folate, choline, DMAE, Methionine, SAMe, inositol, Histidine,
supplements copper, histidine tryptophan, phenylalanine, copper, omega-3
St John's wort, tyrosine, fatty acids
copper, TMG, DMG
Potentially helpful Methionine, SAMe, Folic acid, niacinamide, DMAE, Zinc, vitamin
supplements calcium, magnesium, choline, manganese, zinc, B6, primrose
omega-3 fatty acids omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA), or borage oil
(DHA, EPA), inositol, vitamins B12, C, E
vitamins A, B6, C, E
SAMe = S-adenosylmethionine; DMAE = dimethylaminoethanol; TMG = trimethylglycine (betaine); DMG = dimethylglycine