You may ask, "Why hasn't my doctor suggested that I take any of these supplements?"Please remember that most medical doctors do not receive nutritional training in school and as such tend to not make recommendations for things to which they do not understand.
(The following recommendations were taken from the 12th Annual Sports Concussion, Traumatic Brain and Spine Injury Conferencepresented by Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical Schoolas well as otherresearch sources listed at the end of this page)
1. Magnesium -
Free Magnesium levels are low after brain injury
Magnesium may decrease platelet aggregation (The clumping together of platelets in the blood which is part of the sequence of events that leads to the formation of a clot.)
Decrease nitric oxide production (nitric oxide can be a trigger for headaches)
Decrease the release of substance P (Substance P is a pain transmitter)
2. Omega 3 -
(EPA) and (DHA), are highly enriched in neuronal synaptosomal plasma membranes
The predominant CNS fatty acid is DHA which is readily retained in neuronal plasma membranes
Effective supplementation of EPA and DHA, from fish oil, may help improve a multitude of neuronal functions, including long-term potentiation and cognition.
With respect to neuroprotection following TBI (concussion), multiple preclinical studies have suggested that DHA and/or EPA supplementation may have potential benefit through a multitude of diverse, but complementary mechanisms.
DHA supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce the number of swollen, disconnected and injured axons (part of a nerve cell) when administered following traumatic brain injury.
3. Turmeric +
MAIN Turmeric + may be our single most powerful supplement to aid in reducing inflammation. Listed below are just a few of its ingredients and how they may be helpful post concussion.
Many people depend on NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and analgesics to seek relief for their pain that is resulting from inflammation. Instead, the curcumin in turmeric can offer safe, natural pain relief.
Studies concluded that turmeric was able to block inflammatory pathways and prevent swelling
Curcumin (from Turmeric) has gained much attention from Western researchers for its potential therapeutic benefits as a potent anti-oxidant
Curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier enabling it to exert a multitude of different established neuroprotective effects
Specifically in the context of TBI (concussion), a series of preclinical studies have suggested that curcumin supplementation may bolster the brain's resilience to injury and serve as a valuable therapeutic option
Many studies have concluded that ginger serves as a dual inhibitor of enzymes COX (cyclooxygenase) and LOX (lipooxygenase).
Doctors are constantly prescribing medications specifically to counter the effects of these enzymes.
Evidence also suggests that ginger supplements can lower inflammation and muscle soreness
Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to:
Improve brain function
Reduce risks of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Preliminary evidence has suggested that green tea-derived compounds may modulate neuronal function
4. CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10) -
CoenzymeQ10 can enhance mitochondrial function in the brain and therefore ATP availability to the brain’s cells
CoQ10 can cross the blood brain barrier
CoQ10 can mitigate oxidative damage
CoQ10 has shown promising research for headache support
*This information was adapted from the Medical Treatment of Persistent Post Concussive Symptoms presented at the 12th Annual Sports Concussion, Traumatic Brain and Spine Injury Conference.
Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital
**Other research published in the journal Surgical Neurology International: Stuck at the bench: Potential natural neuroprotective compounds for concussion.
**Talk to your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements**