Nick Ralston
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, PhD Biomedical Research

Dr. Nick Ralston obtained his Ph.D. in Biomedical Research from the Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota, and has since worked at the Bowman Gray Medical School at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and currently teaches in the public health graduate program and conducts research for the Earth Systems Science and Policy Department at the University of North Dakota.


For the past 14 years, Dr. Ralston has focused on identifying the mechanisms of mercury toxicity in a variety of laboratory, epidemiological, and environmental studies to evaluate how it interacts with selenium, a nutritionally essential element which is required for brain health and development.


His group developed the “Selenium Health Benefit Value” (HBV) criterion which reliably predicts mercury exposure risks as well as benefits associated with fish consumption during pregnancy and recently completed a project where they established the HBV of over 14,000 ocean and freshwater fish samples.


His US-EPA sponsored work reveals that eating most varieties of ocean fish is not only safe, it actually improves child and maternal health during pregnancy and increases the IQ’s of their children by 4-6 points, possibly more.


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