Why is the research important?
IFBB believes that careful, well-designed research into how what we eat affects our brains and benefits society as a whole, and that improving our diets could improve much else besides. We have chosen to focus on the four thematic areas of education and learning, offending behaviour, mental health, and dementias and the ageing brain knowing that there is often overlap between these areas. We have consistently argued that more and better scientific studies, particularly RCTs are required. More research would offer three further benefits: of safety, clarity and cost. With respect to safety, fatty acids appear generally well-tolerated. However, it is not clear that all nutritional supplements are either useful or safe. As for clarity and cost, we can see the potential benefits by looking at the more general case of food health claims. As the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies has noted, many of these are ‘not supported by pertinent human data’. Establishing which claims are valid could save money for both governments and consumers. EFSA has already developed a ‘Scientific Opinion on establishing Food-Based Dietary Guidelines’, and is working on the development of a Europe-wide dietary survey.
We are not just interested in scientific research. The Institute is keen that our scientific results are subjected to translational research, robust economic and social analysis to determine the cost-benefits of changing diets and their likely benefits for people and communities.
How have we come to where we are today? When did scientists first start thinking about micronutrients and how they affect our minds and bodies. We asked our scientists to identify 20 publications to give a picture of how research has developed in the last hundred years.