STARR Experts

Practitioner Profile – Bonnie Kaplan

Bonnie Kaplan

Micronutrients Expert


Bonnie Kaplan’s Bio:

Currently Professor Emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Originally from Ohio, she did all her training in the U.S. and then moved to Canada and the University of Calgary. She has published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health – particularly, the contribution of nutrition to brain development and brain function.

Her efforts to include nutrition knowledge in the care of people with mental health challenges has earned her a variety of awards, including the Dr. Rogers Prize ( in September 2019; Citation of Honour, having been nominated for Calgary 7 over 70 Award September 2019; and in 2017 she was selected as one of 150 Canadian Difference Makers in Mental Health, in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Her book The Better Brain, written with her former student Prof Julia Rucklidge (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand) is being released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2021.

Why micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) work to improve mental health:

Nutrition is the Foundation of our resilience, both physical and mental. This has been known for millennia. When we are under stress (e.g., during the pandemic), our brain needs even more nutrients. Why? Because micronutrients are the cofactors required by enzymes in every metabolic step. This cofactor role is relevant to the synthesis and breakdown of all of our neurotransmitters, to the optimal functioning of all the mitochondria which are in every cell in our body, and to the synthesis of ATP in those mitochondria — which is the primary way in which we can keep excessive inflammation in check. Foods rich in minerals and vitamins also tend to have all the prebiotic fiber that we need to feed the healthy bugs in our guts, thus contributing to a healthy gut microbiome.

Resource Recommendations:

My website, especially the tab called ‘tips for clinicians’:  Also contains videos and references.

Soon — my book, coauthored by Julia Rucklidge:

Soon — the MOOC that Julia Rucklidge has just prepared, which will be available on EdX:   It is free, and registration is now open.  — website for International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research

My FB page: nutritionandmentalhealth

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