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Michael Crawford, PhD on Seafood and Human Evolution, Mental Health, and Magical DHA

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Michael Crawford, PhD - Peak Human Podcast


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Hello, hello everyone, it’s time for another great guest on the Peak Human podcast. I’m Brian Sanders the founder of,, and creator of the Food Lies film that I continue to work on daily while I do these podcasts and post daily on social media. You can check out clips from the Food Lies film interviews and other presentations I’ve done on the Food Lies youtube channel.

Today I’m talking to the great Michael Crawford, PhD. He is a storied researcher and has contributed a lot to our knowledge on brain development, human evolution, and marine foods high in DHA. I think the meat crowd needs to rally behind seafood a bit more and recognize its unique nutrients. He’s a sharp guy for an older fella and there’s a lot to learn in this one!

Dr. Michael Crawford is a professor and researcher at the Imperial College of London. He is part of the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Metabolism, Digestion, and Reproduction. He is the Director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, Founder Trustee of The Mother and Child Foundation and The Little Foundation. His research focuses on (i) the biological reason why docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been so unique in neural signaling for the past 500-600 million years of evolution (ii) application of the knowledge to prevent and treat neurodevelopmental disorder.

To date we have organised 22 international conferences on nutrition, brain development and mental health. He also has an impressive list of publications I’ll link to in the show notes.

List of his publications:

Presentation of DHA and current mental ill-health catastrophe:



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  • [6:10] His background and research.

  • [11:10] Savannah hypothesis and its problems.

  • [15:40] Iodine deficiency.

  • [24:55] What the climate and geography may have looked like millions of years ago.

  • [33:40] BSFA (brain specific fatty acid) supplementation in pregnancy affects newborn infants’ brain size/volume.

  • [35:10] Fish oil supplementation vs whole food sources.

  • [39:40] Aquatic ape theory.

  • [45:10] The big game changing nutrient that we ate that caused us to diverge in evolution.

  • [48:40] Brain size and the marine food web.

  • [57:40] Subcutaneous fat, the vernix, and the aquatic ape theory.

  • [1:03:20] Some more characteristics of marine mammals/aquatic ape theory.

  • [1:09:40] The escalation and cost of mental illness and how we can fix this detrimental issue.

  • [1:13:40] Methods for sustainable marine food/agriculture.

  • [1:18:40] The conversion of ALA into DHA.


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This is a seriously good and important episode. An excellent interview by Brian with a giant in the field, covering an area that is sorely neglected by the animal-based/carnivore community.

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