Episode 7 with Michael Crawford
Dr. Michael Crawford describes how his career began in Africa, why he studied brain chemistry and his African experience. His discovery of the primary essentiality of DHA to build and maintain the brain. Hear his early learnings, how opportunity, basic science, and 32 species in Uganda answered this question: Why do animals have different size brains? Bonus! You get to hear about his new book, Brain Under Siege, expected fall 2021.
- Introduction to his African experience (2:10)
- Deep dive into research on brain chemistry (6:46)
- Discovery of DHA to build and maintain the brain (9:20)
- What you should know about DHA and the brain (12:06)
- Sources of DHA and trace elements (15:26)
- Introduction to Dr. Crawfords book Brain Under Siege (18:30)
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Any statements on this podcast are the opinion of the scientific guest and/or author and have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information we may provide to you is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any health issues or conditions without consulting a health care professional. If you are experiencing a health issue or condition, we suggest you consult with your health care professional.
It was not the chemistry that changed from speci of bafis; it was the extent to which the brain had evolved. The size of the gray black told us that a recanati, a son, to cause a head no case were absolutely key compo for the emotion of the brain through outcome of alien species and that set us off on the r. We publish the data in one thousand nine hundred and seventy one hello and welcome to the science and the story behind omega three: a podcast brought to you by wiley companies, where we explore one of the most research nutrients on the planet. Listen in the as global omega. Three experts and researchers translate the science, reveal personal insights and share their stories of discovery while navigating the sea of a mega ree science thanks for joining us today. Now here’s your host greg lindsay welcome back to another episode, the science and the story behind omega three, where we talk with experts from all over the world. Our guests today hails from the imperial college of london. His former director of the institute of brain chemistry in human nutrition was awarded the gold medal for science and peace from albert switzer international university and in one thousand nine hundred and sixty two led the research team to investigate the role of nutrition and disease in east africa. Today we will hear about his early discoveries on lipid nutrition and the brain we are honored to welcome to the program today. Dr michael crawford welcome dr crawford were excited to have you with this. Today you have an amazing career and we are eager to hear your stories. We could jump in anywhere and have a fascinating conversation, but let’s please start at the beginning from what i understand your omagari story began in africa. We are interested in learning why you went to africa and what you discovered. Can you tell us a little bit more about your story? Well, i was working at the post graduate medical school in london and for some reason or other professor sir john, would bicos head of maxine asked me to his room one day he just been to uganda and the british government was giving you gander a brand new hospital as a given way present before it’s coming into pendent and he said, there’s an urgent need for people like me in the basic sins to get out there and start basic sciences, because he said it is a complete open book. There is no contemporary disease such if we know it of the uk in uganda is a completely different story, so he was so persuasive that we went through for carara in uganda and i set out by a chemistry and chemical pathology teaching there and set up a research crook as well. That’s how it happened. Well, what was it like being in africa at that time? Can you tell us about the people and about your experiences there? Well, o. So john was absolutely right. There was no mortality from cardiac any. For example, there was no breast count or colon cancer to speak of the primary health concerns of the atpat end of my cardio five groces, which was the commonest court of death from heart failure and vol felso double thought for us of the sick. One corn, which is extremely excruciatingly, painful condition and the commonest surgical emergency will have you ever heard of other of these two sank. The answer is no, but if we don’t see him in this country, but on top of that primary cast now, what’s the liver of, what’s the number one cancel and there was measure for finishing breast cancer or prostrate country. In fact, that was so interesting that the national instate of health, at the time of the osa, decided to send over a team to investigate if it was true and the team found that it was absolutely true not only that that tennis berfield with his team discovered the first biro course for cancer in berceau. So we weren’t just a bunch of pigs sitting through looking to an an tonics. It’s a sum way that we’re actually going some very good work that we published first paper on the nutritional, evolvement, o anomia, o fat roses, and indeed of africo on and primary cast norma the liver. So it was really exciting days because of the contrast between what you saw in the uk. What you saw in your canda an i be even more interesting because in in you gander itself, you could trye drive a hundred miles when you came across a complete quickly, different list of disorders, and that told me very clearly that nutrition was fundamentally behind both the conic decisions that we see in the uk and in nugava, and that we really ought to pay attention to nutrition. That’s what they do en my eyes as you traveled across uganda. Can you tell us what the people in the environment were like and how that affected your ability to research? Well, the people were wonderful. In those days i mean you could travel around anywhere in egad, you greta like kings and queens, and things like that. The people are just phenomenal. There was no kind of racial problems, as you might have had in care, for example, because it was a factura there’s, no colonial room at all. It was a protectorial government, so it gave us freedom to travel throughout your gander, stay in little places and enjoy the hospitality of the local gombe on a chief pit was always there, and i was just fool time. The people were wonderful and the climate was with equable because we’re four thousand peak above sea level, and and there was no winter there- the trees would have a winter one side and then those the leaves up one side of then the other side with loose the legs and, and so it woke so on. It was just and the garden was just full of things from pine apples through avocado, pars and booms and everything it was. It was so far tight, just unbelievable, dr crawford. If i may ask what years were there? We were talking one tousand, nine hundred and sixty to sixty five, but it was so interesting that i, with the grace of the medicos council and the cancer campaign in the ok, i kept the of my abora, while operating until one thousand nine hundred and seventy two after i took up the headship of back arastra note in just in london, and i was commuting backwards and forwards and er as at that time that we realize, when i came back to london, that when you set off a brand new of oratory by chemistry, what are we going to do? And it was quite clear that the the main problem was with the uk with so well covered by people working on cardio, aspirates and council. But there was erant and we have published evisons that allowed it to the different and livic composition of the diet and he pipit composition in east africa and that have relevance to the difference in ses in the two country. And so we thought we should work on with it. But, as i said, you know, all the cardiovascular and castle stuff was so well covered at the time and the interest to die e facts, and so on. So we start, he wait a minute. The ray no is working on the brain, that’s full of ripping. So why don’t we work on the brain, so i set the lab up to basically to research on lipets in terms of the brain chemistry went was made of and how to coget that. So i think you’re answering this question r crawford, but i’d love to know how, again that early work in africa influenced the rest of your career. Well, as i said before, the critical thing was the is open having come from the period of time when the discovery of dna and genetics and things like that which was really number one. My eyes were open to the we were a great part of nutrition over moti generations to change people and, as i said, the interesting thing was how we actually got inter the brain. It was a very simple thing because in east africa you were witnessing the nature’s last great experiment on the varian evolution with all these animals all round. You and, of course the thing that struck me when you think about guerillas and copet, and things like that which we beban so on was the different in the size of the brain, and so we asked a simple question was why why did animals have different size break, and so we started some thirty two different species hope to brain on. I was joined by andrew separ at the time and here and i study tatita diffirent species, brain chemistry, bleves, and i also looked at the littlest of these animals, with the livers tending to refar, to sort of nutritional genoa get together ending up and what was present of deliver to free the by so that the result was astalli. When we look at the liver kit, chemistry, the freddy acids were all over the place. They went from forty two percent of the highest dont of out point ere, o sixes or lelina. I a casita and and the same apply to practically every fate. As that they were all of the place, but when you looked at the brain of the assertative species, you’re an identical the same chemistry, the same propir rich in a racoon, ic acid, the briny, castita jocosa hats. Now a cassic profess potassic ly, that known is dat or over the street to cause the hickoree today. So the conclusion was a very simple completion that evolution had produced a single answer for brain chemistry and its function, because brains mainly made your facts of livit, it’s sixty percent of it. It’s not protein is the litter stupor, the bran and the cusa was that the brain was being made till this specific evolutionally hold profile for brain chemistry and function to the same design of prescription in chemistry. It was not the chemistry that changed from species species. It was the extent to which the brain had evolved. The size of the brain, but black told us that a recaro asean because of hicacos were absolutely key composed for the evolution of the brain through out the amalien species and that set us off on the way we publish the data in one thousand nine hundred and seventy one and, of course the ducos his onora cassi story was we provided every first evidence tale a behavior, asolando private. I don’t know we a free deficiency, die example pobble in one thousand, nine hundred and seventy three there’s a lot of stuff in goin it, and that was the beginning of one thousand nine hundred and seventy one. We talk about dha, i’d like to know what you want people to know about dha. The a is an irreplaceable structural and functional component of the signaling systems of the retana. The sin ap is a neuro the breath and you cannot make a brain was hart now. There’s an interesting fact about that that where do you get over the freda, tacon and everybody knows the answer, but they don’t think o back brain evolved in the sea. He evolved on the sea five hundred million years ago, and we know from the chemistry was a caprates of fish, the amphibia of the reptiles, the mammal sabers and ourselves that the chemistry he was in pecause, a hiknata tic, is exactly the same throughout that whole range to five hundred million years. Rolypolies. That’s something that it’s really very powerful everdence as absolute essentiality. It cannot be a place and we ve published recently some eresus about that into of the quae mechanical properties of dh that can’t be copied by as a simores there asalto a you know the because of pantano casic, which is only one double one different. That’s all so identical part, no just one. So it’s on the road to the sympose of th so easier to synthesize, less susceptible to proximation, but never use, nor only d over the five hundred or six hundred million years of evolution. From the beginning of total perception. We see things like the din ofati right through to the evolution through to homesites to day it’s invariable, and you have to have dj in your diet, not only to build a break but also to maintain through our life and the source of d. H is the marine foot web, although it’s also present in fresh, walk in footwear, and what do i want people to know about it? I want people to know about this, because today, we’re seeing an increase of metal health were seeing a decline in measures of intelligence, and this is because, if one thousand nine hundred and fifty or thereabout there’s been a swing away from the balance between what we got from to see and what we got from the land towards in casalle produced than base o and that doesn’t contain any delatre, and this is a problem that we have today. We’ve got to face. This challenge was a rising mental health like what you hear so far make sure you never miss a show by clicking the subscribe. But now this podast is made possible by listeners like you. Thank you for your support. Now, back to the show, i like what you just said: you have to have dh in your diet, not only to build a brain, but to maintain it. So can you share about other sources of dha, especially for those listing who may be vegan anyone, who’s ban or mageria? They avoid some of the horror shot the stuff, but we are exomis ten to to from the fat sugary level of the site market, but they don’t get the check, but they can get it from marine archy, but plenty of marinata plenty of or edible. We not after that, contain tha, and it’s not just the also another thing that i want to war about, because it’s also trace alone. It’s like id salinum, think of copper ida every nose about. I deficiency a metalist data, but not too many know about selenium, sat cop of macanese. These are trace elements which are used by the brain to roll proteins that are take out. Rogue oxygen atoms in the brain that a likely to do damage and dha in a raccoon assid both are highly susceptible and you have the highest concentration of anywhere on the body than the brain of these. So you need powerful protection, especially with it a brain uses in the arrow twenty per cent of all the energy that you use. Yet it only occupies two per cent of the forty weight, so they were amount of oxide being you burnt by the brain bringed by the greenish phenomena, and you’ve got to protect pract molecules like dear chain a rapidan acid, and the brain makes its own protective systems, both from a t, nicholas basani, o ores have shown that dha produces its own protective molecule course. It mural protection to one. He says a nice name, but it’s really christly important. These trace of it is not just deceist was in the marine foot were with trace settlements and you get these in the out as well, and how about for the non vegetarian or non vegan? What would be the best source of dha? Well, the best source of dc is a very improve weapon. I would not want to pick anything out of the marine fear. You can start with calaps oysters muscles and you can go and move up from the sardines to carter and salmon, and things like that from the marifet chains and the duty about the marine food weavers. You can actually have a different real from the larder of the marine stuff. Almost every night of the week, if not every night, of the monte it so so there’s so much rarity they are it it’s just wonderful and in america you have something best see food restaurants in the world. I want to be sure to let our listeners know about your new book. It’s called brain under siege. I believe it’s been published this summer. So i love to know who is the book intended for and maybe just tell us a little bit about the work that went into that? Well, i guess it’s a sort of trip up memory lay. So thank you for asking about that. It is as essentially telling the story of the brain of it’s in two part has. The first part is about dablin because- and this is to do with the present environmental crisis, what in tract darwin said in his all six editions of his book was that there are two forces in ever ocean natural selection and conditions of existence and of the two, and he writes and all six editions other to. He says that the conditions of existence were the most powerful. That’s actually blindingly obvious when you think about it. If you have an animal requires, be ninety two and there’s no b. Ninety two around the animal can’t survive regardless of whatever it is that the conditions of existence, the particularly the nutritional conditions, a temperature impression are the current things which determine what is possible in life. This was dark by august, vice man who didn’t like it, he thought it was to remark an he a cat, the tails of the whole bunch of mice, and they continued to grow tails. So he said a condition to existence that doesn’t fit anywhere in evolution story, and i comigo people call the all sufficiency of natural selection sor. You had neil up wits, which dumped the environmental concern of darwin, and we’ve got to bring that environmental concern back, and you know, creators all the rest of them. They are about the time of change and everything, that’s all down talking if he don’t want talking, so we restored doins original thesis on the impact of the environment as number one force in determining what happens evolution. The second thing we do is to talk about what a ter stop to pat tabling what we do in terms of the braehead how the brain evolved and what it’s made of and what we are eating today is not compatible with a healthy brain, and that fix was this rise in the escalation of metral health and if mental ill health continues to escalate, as it is doing at promotte outcome of that is the young thinkable, and that’s obvious, it’s just a straight logical conclusion that it really is a most serious strap of the sustainability of humanity. If we lose our brains, we lose em worthing. So the book is about that. That is the seed of of the brain today, and we’ve got to do something about it, so we go forward solutions which is a very simple foresight, a same time, government sitaro ted few years ago on the future of food and agriculture. What they said was that the land available for incorporating into arable gilks has reached a limit. We know that the oceans supply of fish and see for breach to limit in year two hours yet population is expanding. Two thousand. It was six billion. It took only eleven years to get to seven billion and it still expounded so where we going to fit these people and as far as we can see, david marshale gave it the high course of or right is a jarman stuff. The far as we can see it, the one solution is to start falling in the sea. Seventy one per cent of the glow is coveted to see, and that has to be the future of humanity, and that will do two things by, for example, planting count, forests for your vegas and things like that, but also colt for as fix a or two. In the same way that rain for is still so here, we have an important contribution to the challenge of global lorny, and it’s not just a colt forts. Of course, it’s all the phycologia, all the other fooks and tepic shines that we have on the marine frotet that cos the shape set, and the second thing, of course, is that camp forests not only pixy or two, but they also provide food and fatalize it folloson land based by base tap of culture, replacing the trace elements to be lost over the years and years and years of bran. So comp growing help for us a really important in issue in terms of what we can do in the future. The same thing is marine agriculture, in the same way that we grow grass pasts were cows, achievements, ing like that. We also can grow grass pastors take a hero to naka and your harm in japan’s doing exactly that doing grass pastures for the fish, and so you turned the desert, the marine jesis of have been created by intestate, scraping the sea bay. You turn these marie deserts into green pasturs, and so you enhance all the fighter patron and everything that support was marie productivity and it attack a hero to no, as also used artficial reefs in the sea, all to seven different types of our putares. Each one designed to enhance the conecticut of the environment for the seven different target species that he had fish within and their triple for productivity, and it’s so elementary. He very victuals furnish, but it is so elementary. We have to start getting involved with marine agriculture and an island like the uk with its extensive costin cant. Just like the parent. We can do exactly the same with all the little islands develop the marine resources from that way and the final solution for this ossia course. It not only does all these wonderful things in terms of providing food for the founding population, but it also provides brain fruit, pride spray, and that is a solution, because the rising toler of metalist and the decline in i could- and we could use this to help- enhance the brain development from future generations of children so that we have children born that are better able to cope with this expanding situation that we have at the moment finding populations of ten children little more intelligent that than we are and children lit, are more sensible than we are, and hopefully children. That would lead to a better solution of this planet for peace in progress i feel like we could talk for a lot more time, but unfortunately our time is up today, but i have to ask you, because we’ve opened up a couple, different topics here- that i’d really love to explore. Would you be willing to come back and talk to us about another topic or the evolution of some of the topics we’ve talked about today? I have to talk any time, the war. We can disseminate the importance of this message. The better and happier i will be a dr crawford you’ve had such an amazing level of work body of work and i’d love to explore that more as we can get on the next program. But thank you again so much for being here today. I thank you so much for having, and i want to think our listeners and, as always, be healthy, be well and fight the good fight thanks so much. This has been the science and the story behind omega three. Thanks to our sponsor wily companies, you can find them and more information about our show at wiley cocom, a podcast. If you enjoy today’s episode, don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts thanks for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Any statements on this podcast are the opinion of the scientific guests and or author, and have not yet been evaluated by the fda. The information we may provide to you is design for educational purposes, only as not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose street or prevent any health issues or conditions without consulting a health care. Professional. If you are experiencing a health is you are conditioning, we suggest you consult with your health care professional.