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4 min|Dr. Taylor Green

Top 6 Nutrients For Concussion Support

Wellness, Mind Health, Cognitive Health

Our brain is the core of who we are and how we function

We often take for granted how important having a healthy brain is – until it isn’t. While our brain’s are incredibly resilient encased in its hard skull, it can be easily damaged with any type of jarring motion, whiplash, blast injuries, and blows to the head. These cause the brain to slosh around, slamming into the hard interior ridges of the skull leading to bruising, increased pressure, lack of oxygen, and damage to blood vessels and neuronal cells. Even mild injury can lead to lasting damage that affects both our physical and mental/emotional health. Concussions, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), often go underdiagnosed and thus, mismanaged or inadequately treated.

Symptoms can include:
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, balance issues
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Vision issues
  • Confusion, brain fog, memory impairment, decreased concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability

It has even been noted that some patients may develop new food sensitivities and gastrointestinal symptoms post-concussion due to a change in vagal tone!

Goals of treatment aim to restore proper brain blood flow, decrease inflammation, and using targeted nutrients to heal the brain.

Top Concussion Nutraceuticals

Curcumin

This Indian spice is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It acts as a neuroprotective and promotes growth factors. Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that signals genes to turn on inflammation. Unfortunately, it is poorly absorbed. Liposomal or phytosome formulations, or those with black pepper, can help with this.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

A broad-acting antioxidant that has been shown to be extremely beneficial in a variety of human conditions, including TBI. This nutrient increases glutathione, a powerful antioxidant used for cellular detoxification in all cells in the body, particularly in the liver and brain.

Lion's Mane

Excellent to boost BDNF, this mushroom promotes new neuronal growth and re-myelination of damaged neural cells. It can be helpful with anxiety, depression, and focus.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

Promotes cerebral blood circulation and assists with memory and cognition by also increasing BDNF. It is a necessary nutrient to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, the cell’s energy house.

Vitamin D

More of hormone than a vitamin, vitamin D regulates calcium absorption. In the context of TBI, calcium dysregulation leads to further cell death and is thought to be a major cause of secondary brain injury. Vitamin D’s ability to balance calcium levels provides vital neuroprotection against the inflammatory cascade post-concussion.

Fish oil & Alpha-GPC

Both help to repair the integrity of damaged cell membranes and help restore cellular signalling within the brain.

Other Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Tips

1. Rest!

The brain needs physical and mental rest. This means avoiding strenuous exercise as well as too much brain stimulation from TV, studying, video games, and reading. Takes cues from you body. When you become tired, irritated, or develop a headache after such activities, it is too much too soon. Adequate sleep is also essential for brain healing. Turning off wifi at night, or keeping the router away from the bedroom is also recommended.

2. Try a modified ketogenic diet

Ketone bodies cross over the blood-brain barrier and have a healing effect on the brain. The brain shifts over from burning carbohydrates as its predominant fuel source to these fatty acids. Ketones have the ability to decrease oxidative stress in the brain. Adding MCT oil or powder daily can help with ketone production.

3. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Higher oxygen levels have been shown to have a positive increase in brain metabolism. Damaged brain tissue is starved for oxygen. HBOT drives oxygen from cerebrospinal fluid into the brain, promoting healing.

4. Neurofeedback Therapies

Such treatment may reduce symptoms of attention, mood, and mindfulness. It may help to correct brain wave activity in patients with cognition impairment.

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has many benefits, including its ability to help reset the nervous system and relieve pain. It has also been shown to improve disrupted brain blood flow and boost Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor expression and downstream neurological signally in rats!

6. Naturopathic manipulations

Naturopathic manipulations can address head and neck pain from structural misalignments of the spine that may have shifted due to trauma.

7. Float tanks + Meditation

Meditation may be viewed as an exercise for the mind, capturing the distracted mind and bringing it back to focus on breath. It aims to strengthen the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in focus, which can then allow the release of emotional grip. Headspace, Calm, and InsightTimer are great apps!

Float tanks are an excellent option in tandem with other therapies. They remove all stimuli from light, sound, and gravity – ideal for healing concussions! Float therapy can induce a deeper state of relaxation allowing the brain to restore & recharge.

Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting any treatment regime. For more information on treatment options and for an individual protocol appropriate for you, call 604-738-1012 or email [email protected]