Patrick Holford is a pioneer in new approaches to health and nutrition, specialising in the field of mental health. He is widely regarded as Britain’s best-selling author and leading spokesman on nutrition and mental health issues, hence being frequently quoted in national newspapers from the Daily Mail to the Guardian. Patrick is also popular on radio shows and national television as a presenter, interviewer and guest.
Patrick started his academic career in the field of psychology. While completing his bachelor degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of York, he researched the role of nutrition in mental health and illness. He became a student of the late Dr Carl Pfeiffer, director of Princeton’s Brain Bio Center, and later a student of Dr Abram Hoffer, Director of the International Schizophrenia Foundation in Canada, both leading the field in mental health and nutrition. In 1980 he started treating mental health patients with nutritional medicine.
In 1984 Patrick founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION), a charitable and independent educational trust for the furtherance of education and research in nutrition. Today, ION is the largest training school in the UK offering a degree-accredited course in nutritional therapy and is widely respected as a leading edge organisation by professionals and media alike. Patrick formed a relationship with the late Dr Linus Pauling, who became the Patron of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.
In 1986, Patrick started researching the effects of nutrition on intelligence, collaborating with Gwillym Roberts, a headmaster and student at ION. This culminated in a randomised controlled trial testing the effects of improved nutrition on children’s IQ – an experiment that was the subject of a Horizon documentary and published in the Lancet in 1988. This study was the first of its kind in the world and considerably raised awareness of the role of nutrition in intelligence.
During his years as director of ION, Patrick ran many educational campaigns that brought attention to the importance of zinc and pyrolluyria, disglycaemia, antioxidants, methylation and homocysteine, IgG food allergies, essential fats in mental health – factors still greatly underestimated in the treatment of mental illness. Patrick retired as Director of ION in 1997 to focus on writing, teaching and researching.
Patrick was awarded an honorary Diploma from ION and is also an Honorary Fellow of BANT (the British Association of Nutritional Therapists), and a Member of NTC (Nutritional Therapy Council).
In 2003 he founded the Brain Bio Centre at ION, a treatment centre pioneering the optimum nutrition approach for mental health, to formalise the treatment of mental health with nutrition and to act as a research centre. The Brain Bio centre is owned by the Food for the Brain Foundation, a registered education charity set up by Patrick to promote awareness of the link between learning, behaviour, mental health and nutrition. In 2007, Patrick was appointed Patron of South African Association for Nutritional Therapy, and Patron of IANT (Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy) in 2009.
Patrick lectures and conducts workshops throughout the world on a wide range of topics, to the public, health professionals and the medical profession. In the UK he presents around 50 workshops and lectures a year. His knowledge, personality and enthusiasm, together with his strong scientific approach, helps him to stimulate lively debates, simplifying complex issues and help the public and professionals expand their understanding of health issues. Patrick is frequently involved in government campaigns and debates concerning optimum nutrition.