Canada Loses Medical Icon; Dr. Abram Hoffer Dies at age 91

Posted on in News & Media

Orthomolecular Health would like to express its sadness at the loss of a Canadian medical icon who dedicated his life to the research and development of alternative medical therapies for psychiatric patients.

Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD died in Victoria, British Columbia on May 27, 2009 at the age of 91 after a brief illness. In 2008, Dr. Hoffer was the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for his work using nutrition and vitamins to treat and prevent disease. He was loved by his many patients and close colleagues who realized the importance of his decades of research and his devotion to helping schizophrenic patients cope with their illness.

Abram Hoffer became a pioneer of progress early on his career, challenging the dominant view at the time that schizophrenia was the result of poor mothering, and was instrumental in the authoring of research on the genetics of this common mental illness with the renowned geneticist Ernst Mayer.

After co-discovering the first effective lipid-lowering agent, Vitamin B3 (niacin), the native of Saskatchewan became equally as instrumental in the development and execution of the first controlled clinical trials in psychiatry. This resulted in the creation of the then-controversial treatment of acute schizophrenia through principles of respect, shelter, sound nutrition, appropriate medication and the administration of large doses of water-soluble vitamins. In particular, Dr. Hoffer identified through research that large doses of Vitamin B3 (niacin) and Vitamin C could eliminate the symptoms of schizophrenia and reduce relapses.  He dedicated his life to curing—not palliating—schizophrenia.

Hoffer’s critical research showed how the body’s overall health could be restored by replenishing it with vitamins and minerals natural to it and eliminating toxic foods. He was also the first to implement this practice.

His close relationship with Alcoholics Anonymous Founder Bill W. later in his career led to the establishment of Schizophrenics Anonymous. In addition, he worked closely with colleague and friend Linus Pauling, an American chemist who championed the biochemical model for treating schizophrenia through large doses of certain naturally occurring substances to favourably alter disordered brain biochemistry, coining the term “orthomolecular psychiatry.”

From 1976 until his death, he practiced psychiatry in Victoria and became a founding member and president of the Senior Physicians Association of British Columbia. Though he is no longer with us, Abram Hoffer’s spirit and dedication to developing alternative therapies for psychiatric patients will forever be remembered and will continue to be advanced by progressive medical practitioners.

Orthomolecular Health would like to offer its sincerest sympathies to Dr. Hoffer’s family and extend its best wishes to it during this difficult time.

Additional information on Dr. Abram Hoffer and his accomplishments can be found at  along with a guest book for those wishing to leave comments.  A 6-minute film produced for his 90th Year Tribute Gala in April, 2007 can also be found at the site (please scroll down for guest book and for movie).

For more information, please contact:
Sonia Prasher
APEX Public Relations
(416) 924-4442 ext. 223