Mary must have had an excellent diet before she conceived and while she was pregnant to have given birth to a healthy baby in Bethlehem, who would become such a compassionate & innovative leader. 

20 December 2017

Taking into account the research of Professor Michael Crawford, Director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, Mary must have had an excellent diet before she conceived and while she was pregnant to have given birth to a healthy baby in Bethlehem who would grow up to become such a compassionate and innovative leader. 

Crawford’s research, replicated worldwide, has shown that mothers need a healthy diet both before conception and during pregnancy to give birth to a healthy baby. In particular, the healthy development of the brain in the womb needs the mother to be eating fish and seafood such as that which was plentifully available from the freshwater Sea of Galilee or the Mediterranean when Jesus was born. 

Poor maternal nutrition, in contrast, adds to the risks of low birth weight, permanent developmental brain disorder and lifetime mental and physical ill health.

Crawford’s research, about how vital good-quality food is to the health of British children of poor mothers, was drawn to the attention of the Government in an amendment tabled by Lord Ramsbotham  during the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. He told Peers: “It is said that preventing low birth weight should be an absolute must for all public-health officials, but all their efforts will be hampered by insufficient incomes, which mean that people cannot buy what is required to produce that high birth weight.”

The incidence of low birth weight in the most deprived wards of London is between 10 and 12% -- that is, at third-world levels. The level of Jobseekers’ Allowance, at £73.10 a week, which equals Universal Credit at £317 a month, is below the income needed to provide a healthy diet and all other necessities, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree FoundationIt has been reducing in value since 1979. It is taxed by local government so creating debilitating debt. Three days’ food from a food bank does not cover a nine-month pregnancy.

There was an unprecedented rise in the deaths of infants of poor mothers in 2015. The slaughter of the innocents by Herod comes to mind. The Government majority in the House of Lords defeated Lord Ramsbotham’s amendment.

Rev Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty
Advisory Council, Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition



What a great and truthful message!

Professor Michael Crawford

Note the logic of it. The brain evolved in the seas 500 million years ago and, of course, was using marine nutrients, not land-based stuff. It still needs the same today, especially for its signalling systems, which enable us to think, see, hear, talk, write, jump, compose music and do things. That requires a marine lipid, DHA [docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex and retina], and certain trace elements that are poorly available on land.

Hence, we have two billion children at risk worldwide to mental retardation from iodine deficiency, which, incidentally, probably also means DHA deficiency, as they co-exist in the marine food web. Needless to say, they are all inland. Worryingly, we are seeing iodine deficiency appearing in young girls in the UK, and Margaret Rayman [Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey], and others have also reported iodine deficiency in the UK’s pregnant women.

Six hundred million years ago, there was barely any land and that which existed was barren. When the land did spring to life, it fostered huge animals in the shape of dinosaurs, but they had tiny brains. And that discrepancy still exists today. A zebra has a 350g brain, whereas a marine mammal such as a dolphin, with about the same body size, has a brain weighing 1.7kg!

I have just been to Pakistan, where 32% of babies are born at low birth weight, many prematurely, before the prenatal brain growth-thrust is finished. The problem of low birth weight and foetal immaturity in the UK and Europe is no different. In the UK, we have the worst rate of low birth weight in Western Europe. The children so born will grow up with poor academic achievement and behavioral disorders. At the extremity, they may be physically and mentally disabled.

Importantly, they are creating a bulge of poor-performance adults, with the Gaussian curve for intelligence shifting ever downwards. This is reflected in the cost of mental ill health in the UK, which was £77bn in 2007, £105bn in 2010 and £113bn in 2013.

This slippage depresses initiative and population achievement, which must feed in deleterious manner to the economy, government and education.  If this keeps on rising as predicted, then humanity itself is at risk. As a threat, this is far more serious than that of global warming, because it is imminent and rising at an alarming rate, and no one is paying attention to it. Moreover, the logarithmic increase in global population is exacerbating the issue.

Yet we could eliminate this problem with financial and health-awareness support. During World War II, every mother in the UK was given cod-liver oil, orange juice and milk free, delivered to her doorstep by the milkman. Since the ending of that initiative, low birth weight has steadily risen.

After the war, the French and Finnish recognised the threat of morbidity in children of low birth weight. They initiated a financial-support system whereby health certificates obtained from a GP after a visit were a prerequisite for the payment of family allowances. I believe they also had a similar scheme for pregnancy. 

This initiative not only had beneficial effects for the mother, children and subsequent adults, but also had a knock-on effect on the GPs, who had to mug up on developmental morbidity and preventive medicine.


Wynn A (1976) Healthcare systems for pre-school children Proc R Soc Med.69(5): 340–343. PMCID: PMC1864230. Wynn M & Wynn A (1974) The Protection of Maternity and Infancy: a study of the services for pregnant women and young children in Finland. Council for Children’s Welfare, London (I974). The Right of Every Child to Healthcare: A Study of the Protection of the Young Child in France. Council for Children’s Welfare, London. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women living in the South-East of the UK: the influence of diet and nutritional supplements on iodine status. Bath SC, Walter A, Taylor A, Wright J, Rayman MP. Br J Nutr. 2014 May;111(9):1622-31. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513004030. Epub 2014 Jan 7. PMID:24398008


Visiting Professor Michael A Crawford, PhD, FRSB, FRCPath, Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College, London, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Campus, Room H 3,34 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH, Mobile 07725250541Tel 02033157899 Fax 02033153090.

Director, Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition

Order of the Rising Sun, 2015, Tokyo, Japan.
Chevreul Medal, 2015, Paris, France.

Alexander Leaf Distinguished Scientist Award for Lifetime Achievement. International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2016

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