Remarks on the Use of Megavitamins in the Treatment of Schizophrenia

  • Morris A. Lipton
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 14)


I was interested in Dr. Osmond’s opening statement that he conceived of the vitamins which he uses in megadoses as pharmacological agents, not as nutrients. If this is the case, it may be an error to link Dr. Hoffer and Dr. Osmond on this point because despite their long association they apparently disagree on the question of how niacin works in the treatment of schizophrenia. As of a year ago, Dr. Hoffer was writing about schizophrenia as a type of cerebral pellagra and was clearly taking the position that niacin in megadoses was a nutrient which overcame the vitamin deficiency in the brain of schizophrenics. Whether niacin in megadoses is a nutrient or a pharmacological agent is a rather important issue. It should be clarified because it is quite muddy in the literature. The two positions are really incompatible. A molecule of nicotinic acid cannot simultaneously function as a vitamin and as a methyl acceptor. The usual definition of a vitamin of the B complex is that it is an essential nutrient because it is converted into a coenzyme required for vital metabolic reactions. When nicotinic acid becomes a coenzyme--that is, nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide--it cannot be a methyl acceptor, because the nitrogen of the pyridine ring is tied in linkage with ribose.


Nicotinic Acid Personality Disorder Electroconvulsive Therapy Tinic Acid Methyl Acceptor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morris A. Lipton
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Sciences Research Center Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.APA Task Force on Vitamins and PsychiatryUSA

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