Can omega-3 intake aid in concussion recovery?
The treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a clinical challenge. Clinical studies thus far have failed to identify an effective treatment strategy when a combination of targets controlling aspects of neuroprotection, neuroinflammation, and neuroregeneration is needed. According to emerging science and clinical experience, aggressive intake of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) seems to be beneficial to TBI, concussion, and post-concussion syndrome patients. This research is presented in Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Innovative Use of Omega-3s, a review article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, official publication of the American College of Nutrition.
Research suggests that early and optimal doses of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) have the potential to improve outcomes from traumatic brain injury. The article reviews preclinical research and cites three brain injury case studies that resulted from a mining accident, a motor vehicle accident, and a drowning accident. Each instance showcased evidence of safety and tolerability, wherein the patients who sustained life-threatening brain injuries recovered brain health with the aid of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA).
Growing clinical experience by numerous providers is that the brain needs to be saturated with high doses of n-3FA in order for the brain to have the opportunity to heal. Without an optimal supply of omegas, healing is less likely to happen. It is well recognized that n-3FAs are not a drug and not a cure and every situation is different. Clinically, some patients respond better than others. However, there is no downside to providing optimal levels of nutrition in order to give a patient the best opportunity to regain as much function as possible following a TBI.
Article author Michael D. Lewis, a retired Army Colonel and physician, is the author of the highly anticipated book, When Brains Collide: What Every Athlete and Parent Should Know About the Prevention and Treatment of Concussions and TBI, that will be available on Amazon in September 2016. Dr. Lewis concludes, "n-3FA should be considered mainstream, conventional medicine, if conventional medicine can overcome its inherent bias against nutritional, nonpharmacological therapies."