Your Brain is Our Oyster

Shakespeare actually said “the world’s mine oyster, which I with sword will open.”

This is, in essence, what we are doing at Food for the Brain. The pearl is your brain. Tragically, it is shrinking.

As a species, we have lost 20% of our brain size in the last 29,000 years. As individuals, brain shrinkage causes dementia and every three seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with this unnecessary and preventable disease.


The pharmaceutical industry, supporting the medical profession to an unhealthy extent, would like to pretend that only they know what’s inside and only they know how to prevent this preventable disease with a magic bullet. But there never will be a magic drug because there is nowhere in your brain where this disease is driven from. It is a ‘perfect’ storm of factors directly under your control.

At the charity Food for the Brain, which I founded in 2005, thanks to already well over 400,000 ‘citizen scientists we have, with the sword of digital technology, opened the oyster to uncover the true causes – all under your control – that are driving this terrible and unnecessary shrinkage. Those citizen scientists have taken the time, often initially for personal interest, to discover their actual cognitive function, and completed a comprehensive questionnaire, and now are testing the keystone biochemical processes with a home test pin prick blood test (omega-3, HbA1c(sugar), homocysteine (B vitamins) and vitamin D.

Alzheimer’s, which is two thirds of dementia, is a disease of ignorance that creates ignorance and leaves sufferers like empty shells upon the shore in a terrible life not worth living for.

Yet, we know how to stop this. There is no magic. There is just pure science and common sense – not so common these days and too easily hijacked in the name of profit.

Size Matters

With your help, that is people telling people, we can realistically end next year with data on a million people who have both taken the Cognitive Function test, which is the first fully comprehensive and validated free on line test; and completed the most comprehensive Dementia Risk Index questionnaire on your diet and lifestyle organised to reveal the eight domains that are driving risk – think of these keystones as the pearls of prevention; then adding the data of thousands of people testing the four functional tests that determine your glucose resilience, your methylation ability (that’s B vitamins and homocysteine), your omega-3 and vitamin D status. With that we will have the largest and most comprehensive database of real information, twice the size of the UK Bio Bank, with which to work.

That work is to prise open exactly which combinations of diet and lifestyle changes protect your mind and which insidiously destroy it, year on year, starting young then building until years of memories are erased and whole lives are dematerialised.

Systems Based

We are a complex, adaptive system. It is breakdown in fundamental systems that causes dementia. Our research aims to show, for example that an ‘index’ of HbA1c, omega-3, homocysteine and vitamin D can be used to predict cognitive decline – and thus highlight key prevention steps. That, as a person’s Dementia Risk Index reduces their Cognitive function improves or stops declining. This is systems-based science that mirrors who we are, not drug-based science that hunts for a target for profit.

Then, the real mission of our charity begins: to motivate and educate, to empower and transform individuals, millions of individuals to take up their own sword, prise open the oyster and discover the pearl of optimal brain health, connection and intelligence.

These are exactly what humanity is losing with IQ falling by 7 per cent a generation. On this flight path a third of children will be mental retarded by 2080. Is this the achievement of a dying race, rich in wealth, but lost in space? Or a race for profit – what a disgrace.

I have spent my entire working life learning from bright and committed humanitarian scientists from Professor Michael Crawford who discovered that the majority, 90% of long-chain fatty acids in the brain are omega-3 DHA ; to Professors David Smith and Helga Refsum, who found that homocysteine was an exquisite predictor of a shrinking brain and that B vitamins, with sufficient omega-3 reduce brain shrinkage in those with pre-dementia by two thirds, compared to the latest anti-amyloid drugs which accelerate shrinkage by 20%; to Dr Abram Hoffer who treated over 6,000 schizophrenics successfully with vitamins and omega-3, not with drugs and stopped seeing patients two weeks before his death, aged 92; and to his partner in crime twice Nobel prize winner, Dr Linus Pauling, whom Einstein called the real genius, who said, in 1968 “that orthomolecular therapy, the provision for the individual person of the optimum concentrations of important normal constituents of the brain, may be the preferred treatment for many mentally ill patients.” He was the inspiration and the patron of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, which I founded in 1984 and spawned a new professional of nutritional therapy now practising nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Before he died, as I filmed him at age 93, as sharp as a razor, he said: ‘Patrick follow the logic. It is the logic that counts.”

It is this nutrition and lifestyle medicine we wish to give away to every individual until it is the new paradigm. Until every child is taught these principles. Until every government and medical establishment is forced to support this paradigm, which is the paradigm that is the most true to who we are and capable of saving humanity from its rapid demise.

We will be successful. Our prediction, on good evidence and impeccable logic is that Alzheimer’s may be entirely preventable in those 99% who do not have the rare causative genes and act early to optimise all diet and lifestyle factors. It is not an inevitable consequence of the ageing process. Our aim at is to show people how to vastly reduce their future risk of cognitive decline.

But will we be successful fast enough? How many people with continue to slip into the fog of dementia, now the number one cause of death, the greatest health care cost and the greatest fear of so many? How many will you have known? And how much loss of intelligence can humanity stand before the house of cards comes crumbling down?

That is why we ask you, not for financial gain, but from the realisation of what is at stake, to give us your support, both by taking the Cognitive Function test, and by encouraging proactively everyone you know over 40 to do the same.

Also to make as big a donation as you can so we can accelerate this educational mission, which has to be underpinned by impeccable research. One million pounds, or £100 from 10,000 people, will ensure we reach millions. Three million pounds is what it costs leading UK professors to run the definitive trial of B vitamins and omega-3, which they have struggled to get funded for  five years, despite just two UK Alzheimer’s charities having over £30million to spend on research every year and the UK government pledging £166 million a year, yet spending nothing on real prevention.

What Next?

We have to take the sword and prise the oyster of our brains open. The time is now. Please help us by:

If you’d like to give more and need some assurance of the real return your investment will bring please contact me at

Why Oysters?

The reason for the oyster analogy is that oysters literally built the human brain. They were the easiest source along rivers, estuaries and coasts for women to collect and nourish themselves and their babies. It is likely we developed our manual dexterity opening them.

(Extracts from Prof Michael Crawford’s book The Shrinking Brain) “Lessons would have been gained from the sea birds opening oysters and diving into the water to catch fish, enticing our ancestors to investigate more than the rocks. Thus our ape ancestors may have started wading into water and becoming upright.

When Henry Hudson arrived in 1609, there were some 350 square miles of oyster reefs in the waters around what is today the New York metro area…. .European settlers wasted no time in turning this natural resource into a powerful industry.” And “One million: That’s roughly the number of oysters New Yorkers ate, every day, in the mollusks’ 19th-century heyday.” New York was surrounded by immense natural oyster reefs. By 1880 New York was the undisputed capital of history’s greatest oyster boom. By 1880 steam power increased the oyster haul 12-fold compared to the previous sail-powered vessels. People thought there was no end to their productivity and New Yorkers simply loved their large oysters, raw, fried, stewed or any way described in the cookbooks which sprouted42.

As New York grew, oyster stands became as common as hot dog stands today. A story goes that an English Earl on returning to England arrived at New York harbour too early. “What shall we do?” his American traveling friend asked. His lordship replied “Return to Broadway and have some more oysters!”

London pubs provided oysters from the Thames estuary free with the purchase of a pint of beer. In the UK, by 1990 the East-London public house owners were still placing oysters on the bar for people to have free with their beer. In New York as with London, the pollution and overfishing was starting to set the rot in progress.”

Oysters are a perfect image to exemplify the need for marine nutrients to support brain health.  However, the richest source of DHA is actually caviar.