Back To Archive

This article may be reprinted free of charge provided 1) that there is clear attribution to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, and 2) that both the OMNS free subscription link and also the OMNS archive link are included.

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 24, 2022

Fear and the Pilot's Medical Exam

Commentary by Tom Taylor

OMNS (Jan. 24, 2022) In the USA a pilot must have a periodic medical exam, required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), to fly anything except for very light two-seat airplanes. No medical, no fly. The exam is a classic medical physical but emphasizes vision and for airline pilots, an EKG. It includes checks for heart function, blood pressure, diabetes, vision, and nerve-related issues.

The medical exam has become an issue among older pilots with blood pressure and diabetes concerns. Restricted medicals exams are given in some instances for diabetes, and there is some flexibility. For example, licenses can be given to deaf pilots to fly in low traffic areas that do not require a radio. For further information, here is a link that gives some of the common medical issues.

In my younger years, I often heard older pilots fretting about blood pressure, but in the past decade, diabetes has appeared a greater concern. For a few years I had "FAA medical exam anxiety," but now after 40 years of passing medical exams, I fear not. The credit I give for being able to say this goes to learning the art of taking vitamin C and eating an excellent diet.

The Art of Taking Vitamin C

In my experience, taking vitamin C is a skill bordering on an art. The body's need for vitamin C varies from morning to evening, and learning how to compensate for this variability requires a lot of personal awareness. However, the learning is worth it. For example, in a case where 2 people (myself and an acquaintance) got a similar viral cold at the same time, by taking massive doses of vitamin C, I made the illness essentially a one evening affair, while the other person not having learned this art form, had the cold drag on for over a week.

Specifically for pilots, the art of taking vitamin C can keep you healthy and flying no matter what virus the passengers drag on the plane, and it helps immensely in keeping arteries more flexible and thus managing blood pressure over the long flying career. This is due to the role of adequate doses of vitamin C in maintaining the matrix of collagen. [1]

Vitamin C has been exhaustively written about in OMNS. Check out these references for important information that explains how to take and when to take vitamin C. [2-9] Typical adult doses are 3000-6000mg/day. Taken in capsule or powder form (in a glass of water or juice), it is well absorbed in small (500-1000mg) doses at intervals of several hours throughout the day, for example before each meal. If you get a laxative effect, take less.

Keto-Paleo diet.

One medical examiner's nurse once said to me that being an airline pilot is a terrible job for the body, odd hours, airport food, and the stress of tight schedules, make it hard to be healthy and keep the weight down.

I have found that simply by eating an excellent diet similar to what is advocated by the ketogenic or paleo diet experts, it is fairly easy to keep weight off and to be healthy in general.

The diet I find most flexible, and time tested is the one advocated by Dr. Sarah Myhill, a doctor from the UK. Sarah is very much in the camp of, "You are what you eat." Understanding her principle of the groundhog for controlling weight and improving health takes the complexity and most of the expense out of healthcare. Her latest book, "Ecological Medicine, The Antidote to Big Pharma and Fast Foods," [10] lays out her learnings from a lifetime of being a frontline medical doctor. She has a very entertaining lecture at Silicon Valley Health Institute.

There is extensive material on the ketogenic diet these days. It is very popular. One just observes the magazine headlines at the grocery checkout line to know that. These OMNS articles provide background information on the diet.

Other Supplements

Now I do take a few more supplements than vitamin C, for example magnesium [11-12], vitamin D [13-14], and zinc. However, I have found learning the art of taking vitamin C to be the biggest step needed to benefit the pilot's license (e.g. for heart health and blood pressure). Supplement doses of other essential nutrients can be sorted out according to how they benefit each individual.

Gum Disease

A subtle but important subject worth mentioning is oral health. Essentially any oral infections can dominate or cause other disease processes in the body. It is hard for you to be healthy, if infections are spreading from your mouth. The book "The Toxic Tooth" [15] is well worth the time to read on this subject. This book delves into the connection between heart disease and oral infections. Briefly if anything in your mouth feels not right, you should seek resolution, before it creates slowly percolating but more serious problems for your health.


Anxiety while flying can be very draining, for private pilots it dissuades some from flying in anything except perfect weather. For professional pilots, it may make it hard to get rest when weather and schedules are uncertain. One of the easiest solutions to this is provided in Abram Hoffer's book "Niacin, The Real Story" [16]. Hoffer explains how daily doses of the vitamin niacin can make the difference between being anxious and comfortable with daily situations.

In Closing

Enjoy flying and your license without anxiety. Work on your health in the simple and low-cost ways briefly introduced here, and the fear of the FAA medical will fade into the background.

As a pilot, you may have to endure queries from flight crew as to why you are carrying so many pills (vitamin C capsules actually) around. If you get a chance between that person's congestion and headache complaints, maybe you should consider passing on this article. Enjoy!

(Tom Taylor of Gainesville, GA has written several articles for the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service and flies a Beechcraft Bonanza V-Tail on a third class medical. Forty-three years of passing the FAA medical inspired this article.)


1. Shargorodsky M, Debby O, Matas Z, Zimlichman R (2010) Effect of long-term treatment with antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium) on arterial compliance, humoral factors and inflammatory markers in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors Nutr Metab (Lond) 7:55.

2. Cohen A (2020) My Personal Story of Mega-dosing Vitamin C. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

3. DesBois M (2021) The Treatment of Infectious Disease Using Vitamin C and other Nutrients. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

4. Zuker M (2020) Vitamin C Pioneer Frederick R. Klenner, MD: An Historic Interview. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

5. Taylor T (2017) Vitamin C Material: Where to Start, What to Watch,

6. Du L, Mei D, Li D, et al (2020) The Application of High-dose Intravenous Vitamin C in Severe Respiratory Virus Infections. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

7. Rasmussen MPF (2020) Vitamin C Evidence for Treating Complications of COVID-19 and other Viral Infections. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

8. Farmer T (2020) COVID-19 vs Homo Sapiens Ascorbicus. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

9. Levy T (2014) The Clinical Impact of Vitamin C. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

10. Myhill S, Robinson C (2020) Ecological Medicine, The Antidote to Big Pharma and Fast Foods. Hammersmith Books. ISBN-13: 978-1781611708

11. Dean C (2017) Magnesium. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

12. Levy T (2019) Curing Polio with Magnesium. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

13. Grant W (2021) Top 25 Vitamin D Publications in 2020 . Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

14. Grant W (2022) Top Vitamin D Publications in 2021. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

15. Kulacz R, Levy T (2014) The Toxic Tooth: How a root canal could be making you sick. Medfox Pub. ISBN-13: 978-0983772828

16. Hoffer A, Saul A, Foster HD (2015) Niacin: The Real Story: Learn about the Wonderful Healing Properties of Niacin. Basic Health Pubs. ISBN-13: 978-1591202752

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you:

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Albert G. B. Amoa, MB.Ch.B, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Seth Ayettey, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (Ghana)
Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Gilbert Henri Crussol, D.M.D. (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Ian Dettman, Ph.D. (Australia)
Susan R. Downs, M.D., M.P.H. (USA)
Ron Ehrlich, B.D.S. (Australia)
Hugo Galindo, M.D. (Colombia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Claus Hancke, MD, FACAM (Denmark)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Dwight Kalita, Ph.D. (USA)
Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, MD, FRCP, DTMH (Ghana)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Alan Lien, Ph.D. (Taiwan)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Pedro Gonzalez Lombana, MD, MsC, PhD (Colombia)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Zhiyong Peng, M.D. (China)
Isabella Akyinbah Quakyi, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Selvam Rengasamy, MBBS, FRCOG (Malaysia)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
T.E. Gabriel Stewart, M.B.B.CH. (Ireland)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, M.D. (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
Associate Editor: Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Editor, Chinese Edition: Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
Editor, French Edition: Vladimir Arianoff, M.D. (Belgium)
Editor, Norwegian Edition: Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
Editor, Arabic Edition: Moustafa Kamel, R.Ph, P.G.C.M (Egypt)
Editor, Korean Edition: Hyoungjoo Shin, M.D. (South Korea)
Editor, Spanish Edition: Sonia Rita Rial, PhD (Argentina)
Contributing Editor: Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Contributing Editor: Damien Downing, M.B.B.S., M.R.S.B. (United Kingdom)
Assistant Editor: Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA)
Technology Editor: Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA)
Associate Technology Editor: Robert C. Kennedy, M.S. (USA)
Legal Consultant: Jason M. Saul, JD (USA)

Comments and media contact: OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

To Subscribe at no charge:

To Unsubscribe from this list:

Back To Archive

[Home] [History] [Library] [Nutrients] [Resources] [Contact] [Contribute]
Back To Molecule

This website is managed by Riordan Clinic
A Non-profit 501(c)(3) Medical, Research and Educational Organization
3100 North Hillside Avenue, Wichita, KS 67219 USA
Phone: 316-682-3100; Fax: 316-682-5054
© (Riordan Clinic) 2004 - 2024c

Information on is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice.
Consult your orthomolecular health care professional for individual guidance on specific health problems.