Using organic acids to diagnose and manage recalcitrant patients

Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;12(4):44-51; quiz 52-3.


"Organic acids" refers to a broad class of compounds used in fundamental metabolic processes of the body. They provide valuable clues about functional nutrient deficiencies, mitochondrial energy production, intestinal dysbiosis, free radical overload, and more, including where to start when diagnosing a patient with complicated symptoms. Organic acids present a whole new exciting world of therapeutic options. They are one of the tools that enable us to identify and correct the underlying causes of disease, and not merely temporarily suppress symptoms with pharmaceuticals. The sicker the patient, the more they need this intervention: half the patients in intensive care units were found to be nutrient-deficient in studies that look at only 1 or a few of the many nutrients. Studies show that a patient's outcome is more dismal and his chances of dying are greater as undiagnosed nutrient deficiencies mount. Furthermore, studies confirm that giving pennies' worth of antioxidants to patients in intensive care can cut the death rate in half. What drug can accomplish this, much less for pennies a day? Doesn't it make more sense to individually determine the patients' deficiencies and correct them? Combined with companion tests of intracellular minerals, toxic elements (heavy metals), fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids, organic acids testing can clearly indicate health challenges the patient will face in the future. In many cases, they are correctable and curable. This article explored only 5 categories of organic acids out of more than 9 and 29 organic acids out of more than 47. For physicians who want more information, there are several resources available. This knowledge, along with biochemical knowledge and patient experience, can further empower physicians to help truly heal their patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Avitaminosis / complications
  • Deficiency Diseases / complications*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity
  • Homocysteine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Homocysteine
  • Methionine