CORVALLIS, Ore. - In the latter stages of his brilliant scientific career, two-time Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling focused much of his research on the role of vitamins and nutrition in the prevention of disease and his 1986 book, "How to Live Longer and Feel Better," captured his seminal work in the field.
Twenty years later, the Oregon State University Press has issued an anniversary edition of Pauling's work, which is available in bookstores nationwide.
Pauling was a 1922 graduate of Oregon State and remains the only individual to ever win two unshared Nobel Prizes - the 1954 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 1994, leaving his papers, research notebooks, correspondence and other materials to the university.
"Pauling's book, 'How to Live Longer and Feel Better,' remains an outstanding classic that presents with utter clarity the basis of orthomolecular medicine," said Stephen Lawson, administrator of the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU. "Pauling's insight has inspired thousands of scientists to learn more about the complex relationship between dietary constituents and health."
In his book, Pauling described his own simple plan for a long and healthy life - avoiding sugar, stress and smoking, while at the same time working in a job you like and being happy with your family. Taking vitamins, he insisted, would help prevent serious illness and lead to a longer, healthier life.
While some of Pauling's findings have been challenged, the essential tenets of his thesis on the importance of optimum nutrition remain undisputed. For a researcher who earned his reputation as a chemist, then branched into peace activism, Pauling's influence on the field of nutrition and disease prevention has been considerable.
"Linus Pauling was a man of unsurpassed intellect and good cheer," Lawson said. "He has been ranked with da Vinci, Newton and Einstein as one of the millennium's greatest thinkers and visionaries. For the last third of his life, he focused on research to help people achieve optimum health, and his book is a lucid distillation of his ideas about the role of micronutrients - especially vitamin C - in promoting health and treating disease."
The 20th-anniversary edition of the book includes an introduction by Melinda Gormley, who describes Pauling's dismay that the medical community did not embrace his promotion of vitamin C.
Writes Gormley: "Some doctors denied the veracity of Pauling's assertions and belittled his credentials by noting that he did not have a medical degree. Others simply ignored him. Pauling confronted his detractors by advancing logical arguments and sensible hypotheses..."
His best advertising weapon, however, may have been Pauling himself, Gormley points out.
"Pauling, in his eighties, appeared vibrant and energetic on the book's cover, endured the demands of the book tour with ease, and continued to conduct radio and television interviews."
Today research into vitamins and micronutrients is exploding, and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University is an international leader in such studies. Not everyone in the medical establishment has joined the parade, however, Lawson pointed out wryly.
"Pauling ends his book with the sage advice to 'not let either the medical authorities or the politicians mislead you,'" Lawson said. "He said to 'find out what the facts are and make your own decisions about how to live a happy life and how to work for a better world.'"
The 20th-anniversary edition of "How to Live Longer and Feel Better," published by the OSU Press, may be ordered by calling 1-800-426-3797. The paperback is available for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. It includes annotations, illustrations that had been dropped from the previous mass-market edition, and an afterword linking readers with the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU.
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