Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000 Page 5&6

Can diet change IQ?

According to a new report (see Crime Times, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 1, Pages 1&5), dietary interventions can play a big role in reducing hyperactivity, a strong risk factor for criminal behavior. But can nutrition also affect IQ--another factor strongly linked to criminality and delinquency?

To find out, Stephen Schoen-thaler and I. D. Bier conducted an analysis of 13 known, randomized, double-blind trials conducted in public schools and correctional facilities. In addition to previous studies by Schoenthaler et al., these included investigat tions by a research team in Europe which studied schoolchildren in England, Scotland, Wales, and Belgium.

Children receiving vitamin-mineral supplements in each study, Schoenthaler and Bier say, "performed better, on average, than placebo in nonverbal IQ, regardless of formula, location, age, race, gender, or research team composition."

The researchers note that the probability of 13 randomly selected experimental groups performing better than 13 randomly selected control groups is extremely small. "Furthermore," they say, "the standard deviation in the variable `IQ change' was also cons sistently larger in each active group when compared to its controls, [confirming] that a few children in each study, presumably the poorly nourished minority, were producing large differences."

Schoenthaler and Bier say their data show that a poor diet may lead to impaired intelligence, and that low-dose vitamin-mineral supplementation "may restore the cognitive abilities of these children by raising low blood nutrient concentrations." They note e, however, that supplementation does not appear to improve the IQs of adequately nourished children.


"Vitamin-mineral intake and intelligence: a macrolevel analysis of randomized controlled trials," S. J. Schoenthaler and I. D. Bier, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 5, No. 2, April 1999, pp. 125-134. Address: Stephen Schoent thaler, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA 95382.

Related Articles: [2000, Vol. 6] [2004, Vol. 10]

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