Can Supplements Help with Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries?

As a chiropractor, I am familiar with mild traumatic brain injuries following head traumas and car accidents.

I was very surprised at the information I covered in a previous blog post on post concussive brain injury that can be read by clicking here.  That research study pointed out just how common these types of injuries were after motor vehicle collisions.  Far more common than I would have thought, and I see car accident patients all the time.

Anyone who has experienced a brain injury following a crash knows how frustrating it can be.  I usually tell patients it can last anywhere from a few months to a year or more.  Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Short term memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Problems sleeping
  • Dizziness

Given how disrupting this can be to life, anything that can be done to shorten or decrease the severity of these symptoms is a good thing.  This particular article looks at just this question.  In it, the author evaluates the ability of the omega 3 fatty acid DHA (docoshexaenoic acid) to impact symptoms of post concussive disorder.  Given that the cell walls of our brain are made up of fats, this makes sense.

Here’s a summary of the benefits of DHA on post concussive syndrome:

  • There is evidence that DHA in the diet provided either before or after brain injury improves certain outcomes like spatial learning and memory.
  • Early evidence also suggests that DHA can positively influence aspects of the damaging pathway that occurs after brain injury.

While this is a review and not a study, the mechanisms certainly make enough sense to suggest that it may help for post concussive syndrome.  Looking deeper, it would make sense to suggest that regular use of DHA, in addition to all the other benefits, could protect your brain in the event of a head injury.

The bottom line is that if you participate in any contact sport or your son or daughter participates in a contact sport fish oil supplementation should be on the list.  While I can’t guarantee that it will help protect your brain in the event of brain injury, given the cost and safety of fish oil supplementation, it certainly makes sense.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.