A concussion is considered a mild form of a traumatic brain injury. Most of us have heard of concussions by now. From major league sports down to local high school teams we have seen a huge surge in the talk around the seriousness of concussions. When a concussion happens, there is trauma (bump or blow) to the head. During the impact, the brain is pushed in a back-and-forth motion against the skull. Generally speaking, a concussion is not a life-threatening injury, but the side effects can be life altering for years to come.
Depending on the type of injury, the signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up immediately or take anywhere from 24 hours up to a week. By this time, most of us have forgotten we even hit our head. It's so easy to just push on with our busy schedules and not realize the symptoms until they become really persistent. Some concussions may develop into Post-Concussion Syndrome. A diagnosis of Post-Concussion Syndrome is considered if 3 or more of the following symptoms have occurred or are still occurring days, weeks or even years later.
· Poor concentration
· Mood changes
· Poor word recall
· Trouble sleeping
· Trouble with noise or lights
Why should I supplement after a concussion?
The most common advice still given in regard to a concussion is as simple as “just rest”. Fortunately for us and our health, many doctors and specialists have realized that our body needs way more than just rest to optimize its healing. A concussion is not only a physical injury but can also be a metabolic injury. Following a concussion, it is vital that the brain make energy to not only continue its daily function but additionally to heal itself. Your brain produces a natural chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). That BDNF needs reset in order to help damaged neurons (brain cells) recover. (2) For the best results, start a nutritional support program as close to the injury date as possible. Listed below are recommendations for post-concussion nutritional support:
· Protein - Multiple studies have shown that by adding 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of your body weight can help support the healing and repairing process. A 150lb person weighs about 68kg. (2,5)
· Creatine - Is used as an energy support. One study used to support the use of creatine for post traumatic brain injury demonstrated the following, “children and adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI), six months of creatine supplementation of 400mg/kg bodyweight appears to significantly reduce the frequency of headaches (from 93.8% to 11.1%), fatigue (from 82.4% to 11.1%), and dizziness (from 88.9% to 43.8%), relative to an unblinded control.” (6)
· Choline – supports the formation of brain synapses and development. (7)
· Magnesium - studies show that magnesium in the brain can drop up to 50% within the first 5 days of a traumatic brain injury. This in return may cause inflammation due to the inability to produce energy to repair and restore function. (7)
· Zinc - After a traumatic brain injury, there is a potential increase in urinary zinc loss. Intake of Zinc has been linked to improved behavioral outcomes. (7)
· Curcumin – helps reduce neuroinflammation and linked to improved cognitive function.(8)
· Resveratrol- helps reduce inflammation and increase cerebral blood flow. (7)
· Vitamin D - is neuroprotective and supports the immune system. (2)
· Fish Oils - Omega 3 Fatty Acids, particular DHA are essential for brain development and function. A study on American Football players demonstrated lower makers for brain damage, when supplementing with 2 grams of DHA daily. (8)
· Coenzyme Q10 - helps reduce neurodegeneration and increases blood supply to the brain.
· Magnesium and Vitamin B2 – are linked to reduction of post-concussion headaches.
Not sure where to start or need further advice? Starting with a comprehensive blood analysis and hair tissue analysis to check on the body’s foundation as a whole is always a good idea. This can help determine what you need to be consuming from a dietary and supplement standpoint from the list above. It can also help indicate if there is something you need to be avoiding. What has worked for someone you know, may be completely different than what will work for you. Nutrition, supplements, vitamins and your health no longer have to be a guessing game. Science has come a long way, why not use it and get the specific nutritional support your body needs. Contact us today to get started and improve your body safely and naturally.
1. Harmon, Kimberly G., et al. “American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, vol. 23, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1–18., doi:10.1097/jsm.0b013e31827f5f93.
2. Silverman, Robert. “How To Use Nutrition To Speed Your Concussion Recovery.” Mindbodygreen, Mindbodygreen, 19 Nov. 2016, www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27480/how-to-use-nutrition-to-speed-your-concussion-recovery.html.
3. Bozic CR, et al. Neurogenic amplification of immune complex inflammation. Science, 1996;273:1722.
4. Davis KA, et al. Complement deficiency and immune complex diseases. Semin Immunopathol, 1994;15:397.
5. Silverman , Robert. “Feed a Concussion: Speedy Nutrient Support Offers the Hope of Better Healing.” Dynamic Chiropractic - Chiropractic, News, Articles, Research & Information for Chiropractors - Find a Chiropractor, 15 June 2015, www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=57406.
6. “Concussion Post 14 – Creatine.” Doc Edwards Health & Fitness, 7 Apr. 2016, docedwardsfitness.com/concussion-post-14-creatine/.
7. Swanson , Alex. “The Best Supplements for Concussion Recovery.” TheHealthBeat.com, 14 June 2014, thehealthbeat.com/how-nutrition-can-help-concussions/.
8. Tropf, Allison. “Nutrition Supplementation and Concussions.” ALT Performance Nutrition, 28 Dec. 2018, www.altnutrition.net/nutrition-supplementation-and-concussions/.
9. Kalayci, M., Unal, M. M., Gul, S., Acikgoz, S., Kandemir, N., Hanci, V., … & Acikgoz, B. (2011). Effect of Coenzyme Q 10 on ischemia and neuronal damage in an experimental traumatic brain-injury model in rats. BMC neuroscience, 12(1), 75.