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The Role Of Nutrition In Concussion Treatment And Management – Doug Cook RD

The Role Of Nutrition In Concussion Treatment And Management – Doug Cook RD



As an skilled in vitamin and mind well being, I get requested routinely if vitamin and dietary remedy can play a supporting and therapeutic position in traumatic mind accidents (TBIs), together with concussions. What we do know is that what we eat and drink immediately impacts the construction of the mind and construction, in fact, influences perform and by extension mind restore and upkeep.


The CDC defines TBI as being brought on by a bump, blow or jolt to the top or a penetrating mind damage that disrupts the traditional perform of the mind. A concussion is one sort of TBI; the results of some sort of head trauma as a consequence of a sport damage, accident, violence/abuse and so forth.


The results of a concussion are often momentary however can embrace complications and issues with focus, reminiscence, stability and coordination.


FACT: Delicate TBI or concussions, account for over 75% of TBIs that happen yearly in each civilian and army populations


Concussions are often brought on by a blow to the top however violently shaking the top and higher physique may also trigger concussions. Some concussions trigger you to lose consciousness, however most don’t. It’s additionally attainable to have a concussion and never even understand it. Concussions are notably widespread when you play a contact sport, corresponding to soccer, and fortunately, most individuals often absolutely recuperate.

What are the bodily penalties of a concussion?

In the hours, days and weeks following the preliminary head trauma, a collection of modifications develop that progress to swelling and elevated irritation that results in progressive degeneration inside the weak mind areas. As a result of there are a number of parallels within the modifications seen with regular mind growing older and TBI, though rather more accelerated in TBI, a lot of the analysis and dietary suggestions are extrapolated from mind growing older analysis. Nevertheless, numerous analysis and TBI particularly has been accomplished with the army and we will draw from that.


Mitochondria are tiny buildings inside all cells that are answerable for the neuron’s (mind cell) power manufacturing, They bear the brunt of a concussion’s impact and concussion-related mitochondrial injury results in extreme oxidative injury and elevated irritation. In the years following repeated concussions, the lack of regular mind cell power manufacturing, elevated oxidation and long run mind irritation all contribute to the very signs and considerations of TBI comparable to seizures, sleep disruption, fatigue, melancholy, nervousness, elevated impulsivity & irritability, decreased inhibition and elevated cognitive decline. Though no efficient remedies can be found to alleviate these biochemical occasions within the mind, there are some promising nuggets the place vitamin is worried; a number of vitamins might help to scale back the influence of oxidation (assume rusting) and irritation and  help power metabolism within the neurons.




How can vitamin assist?

So far, there are only a few research which have purposefully examined the impression of dietary interventions or complement/enhanced nutrient consumption help and their particular position in TBI/concussion administration however that doesn’t imply making an attempt to leverage vitamin is a futile effort. We don’t have to attend 15 years for giant scale interventional trials to be finished; we will begin on the subsequent greatest out there proof and transfer from there. Not providing sufferers choices is nearly unethical; if the intervention is biologically & mechanistically believable, if we have now animal research with promising outcomes to help it, if the recommendation is moral, protected and if the affected person has probably nothing to lose and every part to realize…we should always act. (1). Whereas not an exhaustive record, a few of the vitamins of curiosity embrace:


Zinc: this mineral is concerned in over 80 totally different biochemical reactions within the central nervous system (CNS) together with the mind. The physique doesn’t retailer zinc and getting a gentle provide on a regular basis is essential for optimum well being however sadly, many don’t get sufficient of this all-star mineral. One in every of zinc’s position within the CNS is to scale back injury brought on by elevated oxidation and irritation and decrease ranges of zinc might exacerbate the injury related from TBI. Zinc additionally helps mind well being by way of its position in making certain you might have a wholesome immune system, optimum mind tissue restore and power manufacturing. Zinc additionally helps wholesome moods by way of its position in neurotransmitter metabolism.


Meals sources: oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef, crab, pork, hen (darkish meat), baked beans


Magnesium: this underappreciated mineral performs an essential position in mind functioning as nicely. In the mind, magnesium helps to stop over-stimulation of the neurons by blocking glutamate and by regulating the stream of calcium in and across the neurons; on this sense it helps to scale back the impacts of stress and enhance moods. Magnesium additionally relaxes the blood vessels which assist to extend cerebral blood stream – the better blood can move all through the mind, the higher.   TBI causes structural and metabolic modifications leading to decrease ranges of magnesium within the mind which is related to improve exercise of glutamate and calcium; the uncontrolled exercise glutamate and calcium is the predominant contributor to neuronal (mind cell) degeneration and cell demise. Research have instructed that by sustaining magnesium ranges publish TBI, the mind is extra resilient to mind damage.


Meals sources: nuts, seeds, spinach, kale and different darkish inexperienced greens, legumes, avocado



Creatine: an amino-like compound that’s produced by the physique to a point by the liver, kidney, pancreas and probably the mind. Creatine is the constructing block of one of many two foremost power molecules phospho-creatine/creatine-phosphate. This power molecule supplies a big quantity of power to muscle tissues, the digestive tract and the mind. Scans present that creatine ranges within the mind drop considerably after TBIs/concussions thereby interfering with one of many mind’s power supply; some human research have proven profit from creatine supplementation (the quantity of making in meals isn’t excessive sufficient to be therapeutic). After supplementation, TBI sufferers confirmed enchancment in cognition, communication, self-care, character, and behavior with vital decreased complications, dizziness, and fatigue (2, Three).


Meals sources: meats (beef, veal, recreation and so forth), hen,  turkey, fish


Omega-Three fatty acids: in a phrase, the darlings of the TBI vitamin world. The lengthy chain omega-Three fat EPA and DHA (to not be confused with the shorter chain omeag-Three fats ALA present in flax, soy, walnuts and so on – not the identical factor in any respect), are central in relation to neuroprotection and decreasing the impression of TBI. DHA is the structural omega-Three fats of the neuron – assume bricks and mortar – whereas EPA has a unique gig.  EPA is greatest at supporting wholesome moods together with decreasing the danger for, and enhancing signs of, melancholy and nervousness, two widespread penalties of TIB and concussions. EPA can also be nice at decreasing irritation and enhancing blood  move by way of the vessels that provide the mind with oxygen and vitamins whereas shuttling wastes merchandise out.


Meals sources: fatty fish akin to salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, omega-Three fortified eggs

Choline: most of choline is used to make an important constructing block of cell membranes referred to as phosphatidylcholine. Robust, versatile and adaptive cell membranes are very important for all cells, together with mind cells, to work correctly and to maintain stresses positioned upon them. Sadly, most North People get lower than 50% of the beneficial consumption of choline. Much less choline makes for sad mind cells, to not point out that choline can also be wanted to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is required for studying and reminiscence consolidation – have I bought you on choline but? Analysis is suggestive of choline’s position in selling quicker restoration from motor deficits (potential to maneuver muscle mass, coordination and so on) in sufferers with extreme TBI. The bulk of the research although present that choline or it’s metabolic derivatives aren’t the perfect for damage restore after the very fact however quite, choline’s star energy appears to be preventative which is which making certain enough intakes all through life is extra essential; you need to have optimum ranges of this nutrient to make sure your cell membranes have what they should make plenty of phosphatidylcholine.


For extra, learn my publish Choline. All the time A Bridesmaid, By no means A Bride


Meals sources: egg yolk, liver, fish/seafood, darkish inexperienced greens, soy (soybeans, tofu, tempeh)


Vitamin D3: the prolong of vitamin D’s position within the mind and CNS shouldn’t be absolutely understood however we all know that the “sunshine vitamin” is essential; the mind has heaps of vitamin D receptors simply ready for vitamin D to connect to them so the vitamin can get to work. Vitamin D tempers the immune system which helps to stop over-stimulation/activation and it performs an enormous position in calming irritation. Sadly there’s a lack of research, each animals and people, to help using vitamin D in  the remedy of TB however we all know Canadians are both poor or borderline poor on this nutrient and given it’s position in neurotransmitter perform, immune perform and anti inflammatory mechanisms, making certain your mind is properly stocked on this vitamin is simply good widespread sense.


Meals sources: milk, fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, eggs, cod liver oil, liver


Polyphenols: these are a various group of naturally occurring compounds extensively distributed in lots of plant meals; principally if the meals is a plant, it should have dozens of a number of a whole lot of several types of polyphenols – it’s NOT nearly blueberries or inexperienced tea. They’re potent antioxidants (once more, assume rust safety) they usually superbly squash irritation. In a extra nuanced method, they principally get into the mind cell’s hub, the nucleus, and positively affect gene exercise (interacting with the mind cells’ DNA). Polyphenols have been proven to play a number one position in influencing mind cell communication; each inside cells and between cells; essential steps in controlling neuronal survival.  Polyphenols have lengthy been recognized to guard the mind’s blood vessels and shield towards neurodegnerative illness and have lengthy been promoted as being “neuroprotective”.


Meals sources: most plant meals reminiscent of berries, apples, broccoli, cherries, darkish chocolate, inexperienced tea, olive or avocado oil, onions


Different rising and promising vitamins/neutraceuticals of curiosity

Ongoing analysis is analyzing the position of a number of different vitamins & neutraceuticals; tons extra to return, and much extra to think about for anybody who’s skilled a TBI/concussion (four).

  • Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)
  • Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Curcumin
  • Ketogenic diets
  • Glutathione
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K2


A vitamin skilled with information and experience on this space may help tailor personalised recommendation to you, or somebody you already know, and supply particular suggestions with dosages and dietary, food-based methods to set the stage for the absolute best restore and therapeutic of the traumatized mind.


Issues to think about for those who or somebody you already know may be in danger


Search medical consideration ASAP. The indicators and signs of a concussion might be delicate and should not present up instantly. Signs can final for days, weeks and even longer. Widespread signs after a concussive traumatic mind damage are headache, lack of reminiscence (amnesia) and confusion. The amnesia often includes forgetting the occasion that triggered the concussion.


Indicators and signs of a concussion might embrace:

  • Headache or a sense of strain within the head
  • Momentary lack of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic occasion
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing within the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Showing dazed
  • Fatigue


You’ll have some signs of concussions instantly. Others could also be delayed for hours or days after damage, reminiscent of:

  • Focus and reminiscence complaints
  • Irritability and different character modifications
  • Sensitivity to mild and noise
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychological adjustment issues and melancholy
  • Issues of style and odor

Danger elements

Actions and elements which will improve your danger of a concussion embrace:

  • Falling, particularly in younger youngsters and older adults
  • Collaborating in a high-risk sport, corresponding to soccer, hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing or different contact sport
  • Collaborating in high-risk sports activities with out correct security gear and supervision
  • Being concerned in a motorcar collision
  • Being concerned in a pedestrian or bicycle accident
  • Being a soldier concerned in fight
  • Being a sufferer of bodily abuse
  • Having had a earlier concussion