Nutrition no cure for schizophrenia

Note: The following professional opinion story on nutritional approaches (specifically vitamin C, and other supplements) is repeated because the issue seems to come up on a regular basis on the discussion boards. As much as I wish that these vitamins had curative properties with regard to schizophrenia, the fact is that they were long ago proven to have no effect (or minimal effect). Please be aware of this information. There have reports on how Omega 3 fatty acids may be valuable in helping some people with schizophrenia - but I've only seen it recommended as a complementary therapy, and never as a replacement for anti-psychotic medications. We will cover these developments as we hear about them and as they are covered in reputable news sources- editor.

For further information about alternative treatments that may be used IN ADDITION to medication and psychiatric therapy, please see


I was disappointed to read Dr. Carolyn DeMarco's column promoting high dose vitamin treatments for schizophrenia. At a time of real progress in treatment of schizophrenia, Dr. DeMarco has written about an approach which Dr. Abram Hoffer and others developed in the 1950s, but which by the 1970s was proven to be fruitless. The work of Dr. Hoffer and others is discussed in detail in the American Psychiatric Association Task Force Report, July 1973, which points out methodological flaws in the early work and reviews later studies which failed to show any benefit for such treatments.

In recent years, new medicines, with improved side-effect profiles and techniques to overcome problems with social and occupational functioning, have been well proven advances for the treatment of schizophrenia. Early intervention programs should prevent some of the serious dysfunction of the disease.

Serious illnesses like schizophrenia require proven treatments. Vitamin treatments as "alternative" therapy for schizophrenia should not be recommended.

David Irwin, MD

Department of Psychiatry

Vancouver General Hospital

Source: The Vancouver Sun, January 23, 1998




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