Critical Brain Nutrients:

Mental Health Harms from Current Dietary Advice

- And Potential Solutions

With Dr Joseph R Hibbeln M.D. (CAPT, USPHS Ret.)
Psychiatrist, Nutritional Neuroscientist, and Benjamin Meaker
Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Bristol, UK.

The video recording of this event - together with downloadable handouts - is available

A FAB Research Live Webinar and Q&A session

FAB Research is delighted to welcome leading nutritional neuroscientist and psychiatrist Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln, internationally renowned for his pioneering research into:

  • the critical role of dietary fats for brain health
  • the long-term effects of early life nutrition on children’s brain development, behaviour and learning ability
  • the role of nutrition in the management of depression and related mental health problems, including addiction, self-harm, aggression and antisocial behaviour
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Find out what the latest evidence shows about:

  • Why current dietary advice is (inadvertently) harming children’s brain health - by increasing the prevalence of key brain nutrient deficiencies
  • What can be done to ensure adequate intakes of omega-3 and other critical brain nutrients when consuming fish and seafood is not a viable option
  • How nutritional changes can help in managing addiction and other common mental health problems - including depression, anxiety, aggression and self-harm

And watch an extended Q&A session, chaired by Dr Alex Richardson

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FAB Research’s mission is to reach as many people as possible with evidence-based information on the importance of food, diet and nutrition for mental, as well as physical health and resilience 


Critical Brain Nutrients:

Mental Health Harms from Current Dietary Advice

- And Potential Solutions

World-renowned for his pioneering research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids in brain health, Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln explains what individuals and families, health practitioners and policymakers can do in practice to improve nutrition and diet to provide the essentials for brain health and wellbeing – and crucially:

• the best alternatives to consuming more fish and seafood when this is not a viable option.

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All proceeds from this event will go to Food And Behaviour (FAB) Research to support its work Registered Charity No: SC034604, Company No: SC 253448.

Want to know more about this webinar?

Hear from a world-leading expert in nutritional neuroscience and psychiatry:


Why current dietary advice to limit fish and seafood intake during pregnancy likely causes the very harms to children's neurodevelopmental outcomes that it aims to prevent.

This advice - which is similar in the US, UK and many other developed countries - does not even consider brain critical nutrients. Instead, it focuses only on theoretical risks of harm from possible contaminants.

  • Learn how early life deficiencies in the brain-critical nutrients provided by fish and seafood cause much more harm to brain development than the hypothetical toxicological harms on which current dietary guidelines for mothers-to-be are based.
  • Find out about specific protective mechanisms - which depend on other key nutrients found in fish and seafood (not just the brain-essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA) - that explain why the benefits of higher seafood intakes during pregnancy exceed the theoretical potential risks to children’s brain development and function.

What the latest evidence shows about the impact of modern diets, low in nutrient-rich seafood, and high in ultra-processed foods - on mental health, behaviour and cognition in adults as well as children:

  • Hear how specific - and preventable - nutritional deficiencies and imbalances increase risks for maternal depression during pregnancy, child abandonment by mothers, ‘shaken baby syndrome’, and intimate partner violence from fathers.
  • Learn how improving children's nutritional status can reduce aggressive feelings and behaviours in their parents, which in turn benefits their children's behaviour.

These recent findings linking diet and behaviour are consistent with earlier findings that increased risks of homicide deaths, other aggressive and violent behaviors, suicides and depression are all linked with insufficient seafood and omega-3 consumption, and with increased intakes of ultra-processed foods - high in omega-6 from seed oils, and lacking in omega-3 and other key brain nutrients.

"FAB has raised my awareness of the importance of a healthy diet for all, not just those with behavioural issues, problems."

- Early Years Officer, Local Authority

"FAB Research provides a wealth of valuable information which isn't always available elsewhere - and in an easily digested form."

- GP and Medical Advisor

Who is this webinar for?

Anyone interested in improving mental health, wellbeing and performance - for personal or professional reasons

Including: • Individuals • Students & Researchers • Professionals • Policy-makers

who are interested and/or working in health
(particularly mental health, general medicine, psychiatry and psychology), nutrition (including food providers and producers), education, social services, criminal justice and allied areas.


This webinar is designed to help anyone - whatever their specific background, education or training:

  • to understand how diet affects mental, as well as physical health and wellbeing - via its effects on brain development and function.
  • to find out more about what you can do in practice towards improving nutrition and brain health for both current and future generations - as an individual, or via your work/studies.
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The Speaker


Dr Hibbeln talks to FAB about how diet affects the mental health of children and whether this is a problem we can solve.

Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D.


Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln is world-renowned for his pioneering research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids in brain health, and the relevance of nutrition for the prevention and management of psychiatric disorders.

He was one of the very first investigators to flag the importance of adequate dietary omega-3 intakes for mental wellbeing, carrying out cross-national comparisons of seafood consumption in relation to psychiatric disorders, organizing a key international conference on this theme at the US National Institutes of Health in 1998, and originating the field of omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies in relation to depression.

His extensive international collaborations have included:

  • Primary collaborator in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, Bristol, UK, examining the residual effect of nutritional insufficiencies in pregnancy in childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes and relevant gene-nutrient interactions;
  • Lead author on the Lancet 2007 publication of pioneering findings from that dataset - which contributed to multiple US agencies reconsidering their dietary guidelines on fish and seafood intakes in pregnancy. Dr. Hibbeln recently was invited to present to the US National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine to re-evaluate current US Dietary Advice;
  • Providing key input to major systematic reviews and meta-analyses of clinical trials, leading to the establishment of professional treatment guidelines on the use of omega-3 for depression and other psychiatric disorders;
  • Clinical trials of omega-3 for the prevention of suicide, postpartum depression, and antisocial behaviour, including violence;
  • Numerous experimental studies documenting the biochemical, pharmacological and physical effects of changing dietary fat intakes, and their physical and mental health implications.

His specialist research areas include the role of omega-3 in depressive and aggressive disorders, and the benefits of fish consumption during pregnancy for children’s brain development – which all the available evidence shows include higher IQ, better psychological and motor skills and more optimal emotional regulation and social behaviours.

Now working as a practicing adult psychiatrist with Mindful Health Solutions in El Dorado Hills, California, Dr. Hibbeln is now directly treating people struggling with major depression, bipolar disorders, aggression, ADHD and addictions. He has a special interest in nutritional psychiatry – as he considers that understanding how dietary and nutritional factors can affect both the mind and body, and ensuring adequate brain nutrition, is likely to improve responses to psychiatric medications and other interventions, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Brain nutrition is crucial to holistic forms of treatment tailored to the individual’s needs. He feels it is critical to ensure that everyone’s brain receives adequate and fundamental nutritional support to optimized their overall mental health.

Dr Hibbeln’s extensive research knowledge and experience, his public advocacy, together with his outstanding expertise as a speaker and communicator for public and professional as well as academic audiences, place him in high demand to communicate scientific findings in this field, in addition to his ongoing research collaborations.

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What is FAB Research?

Food and Behaviour Research (FAB Research), established in 2003 by Dr Alex Richardson DPhil (Oxon), PGCE, FRSA, is a charitable organisation dedicated both to advancing scientific research into the links between nutrition and human behaviour and to making the findings from such research available to the widest possible audience. 

Our mission: We are committed to improving current knowledge and awareness of the effects of nutrition and diet on human behaviour, learning and mood. We aspire to be a leader of scientific research into how nutrition affects the human brain and mind, and an intellectual and strategic force for improving public education and professional practice in this domain.

What other people say about working with FAB Research

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