LMU 26 – Omega-3 Fish Oil: A Potential Treatment for Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury
Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2016)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (October 6, 2016)
Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has gained significant attention in recent years due to its potential long-term consequences, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition can lead to permanent degenerative changes in the brain, resulting in symptoms such as memory loss, social instability, erratic behavior, poor judgment, dementia, and other neurological problems. Additionally, cases of TBI have been associated with an increased risk of suicide. Medical researchers are actively exploring various treatments for concussion, but few promising leads have appeared. However, one notable discovery is the potential benefits of high-dose fish oil supplementation in aiding recovery from head injuries. Preliminary studies and remarkable individual cases have shown that fish oil may hold promise in supporting brain repair and mitigating the effects of traumatic brain injuries.
Understanding the Mechanism: How Fish Oil Helps with Brain Injuries
The omega-3 fats found in fish oil, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. In the context of traumatic brain injuries, these omega-3 fats can be converted into anti-inflammatory hormones called eicosanoids, which help reduce brain inflammation caused by the injury. Furthermore, EPA and DHA have shown the ability to repair the outer membrane of damaged brain cells, aiding in their restoration.
DHA shows unique properties that enhance brain cell protection and repair after traumatic brain injuries. It aids in the repair of damaged brain cells and facilitates synaptogenesis – the process by which brain cells reconnect with other healthy cells in the vicinity. This overall improvement in brain cell repair contributes to a more positive outcome after traumatic brain injuries.
Recommended Dosage for Concussion and TBI
The nonprofit charity Brain Health Education and Research Institute recommends a protocol for concussions and milder cases of TBI. Patients who can swallow on their own are recommended to take 5000 mg of concentrated fish oil in triglyceride form, supplying approximately 3000 mg of EPA and DHA, three times a day for at least a week. Afterward, the dosage can be tapered down to twice a day and eventually once a day. This tapering approach is believed to supply immediate benefits, including improved mood, calmness, headaches, and cognitive function, while the initial high doses function as a loading dose to overcome any omega-3 fat deficits.
Consulting Your Physician
If you have suffered a concussion or experience lingering symptoms from an earlier concussion, such as headaches, dizziness, imbalance, or memory loss, you may wish to discuss the potential benefits of high-dose fish oil supplementation with your physician. Sharing the research article by Lewis MD, titled “Concussions, traumatic brain injury, and the innovative use of omega-3s,” may aid your physician in making an informed decision based on your individual circumstances. High-dose fish oil supplementation could potentially serve as an added treatment option to support brain cell repair and reduce inflammation.
Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury are serious health conditions that require effective treatment options. While medical researchers continue to explore various approaches, one promising lead is the use of high-dose fish oil supplementation. The omega-3 fats found in fish oil have been linked to anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce brain inflammation caused by traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, DHA, a specific component of fish oil, plays a crucial role in aiding brain cell repair and promoting synaptogenesis. The recommended protocol involves high doses of fish oil, which can be gradually tapered down after an initial loading phase. As always, it is essential to consult with your physician before beginning any new supplementation regimen.
Lewis MD. Concussions, traumatic brain injury, and the innovative use of omega-3s. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2016. 35;5:469-475 (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07315724.2016.1150796)
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.