'Orthomolecular' comes from the Greek word Orthos which meas right or straight. Molecular stands for: concerning the molecules. Linus Pauling (founder of the field of orthomolecular medicine) speaks about the right molecules in the right concentrations in the body. These are not necessarily very high dosages of supplements.
With orthomolecular nutrition, we base our advice on the individual biochemistry and the nutritional deficiencies and imbalances in hormones and/or gastrointestinal tract the cliënt has and in the immune function. These nutrition deficiencies may lie in vitamines, minerals or amino acids (building blocks of protein). Examples of inbalances in the gastrointestinal tract are an overgrowth of certain protein-eating or carbohydrate-eating bacteria, decreased permeability of the gut lining (also known as "leaky gut"), or too little good bacteria in the gut.
Epigenetics looks at how (social) environmental factors can affect your health and the activity of genes (good and bad) you've inherited from your parents and grandparents (which you will pass on to your children and grandchildren).
For example: research has shown that the children of women who were pregnant during the Dutch winter famine after WWII, have an increased risk of obesity.1 The environmental factor (hunger in the womb) has 'switched' on a gene that has the consequence of increasing the chance of obesity.
Another example: prenatal stress predisposes the female offspring to binge-eating like behaviour. 2
There are many more examples. So what does this mean for you? Well, in the above-metioned case, understanding how your mother's pregnancy was can help you understand why you are the way you are. Why it seems so easy for you to perhaps gain weight, or having a hard time losing weight. I would call it an added piece of the puzzle of you. You can use this information to further improve your health.
As an Orthomolecular Epigenetic Therapist, we work from the view of clinical Psycho Neuro Immunology (cPNI). cPNI is a science which looks at psychology (thoughts and emotions), neurology (brain), immunology (how the immunesystem protects us from illness and how it can be impaired). It includes looking at the endocrine system (hormones), epigenetic activity of genes, environment, nutrition, and exercise.