Many who know me know that I am passionate about rugby; I’m very involved with Rugby in Canada and write and tweet about rugby in my spare time. As part of caring about the sport, I have also become an advocate for concussion research and education. I guess you could say I am a bit of an expert on the matter; having read, researched and written much on the subject.
Working in the natural health industry, we do feel at times we are ahead of the mainstream scientific path in terms of supplements that can help certain maladies. We have high doses of vitamin c for heart health and more, supplements for menopause and hormonal health, magnesium for muscle recovery, etc. You name your particular issue and chances are good that there is an age-old natural health way to support your health and as is often the case, improve your quality of life.
So being passionate about natural health AND concussion recovery, I wondered how the two fields might relate. Are there in fact natural health remedies that can help with the recovery of concussion symptoms and cognitive impairment? Yes, there are.
There is vitamin D, which has been studied in relation to concussion recovery with improvement with memory and behavioural impairment for athletes who use this supplement. Curcumin is found in many supplements and has proven anti-inflamatory properties, good to release swelling resultant from a brain injury. But the supplement that is beneficial in so many ways for so many of our body’s systems is Omega 3 fatty acids.
There is no easier way to take Omega-3 fatty acids than in a fish oil. Every member of the family can (and should) be taking a spoonful of Omega-3 a day. It is wonderful for the developing brain cognitively and it is great to naturally battle stress and depression. And now, it’s proving to be fantastic for concussion and brain injury recovery.
According to some studies, Omega-3 can reduce swelling and inflammation, repair nerve damage, and improve brain function post injury. There is also some evidence that suggests supplementation PRIOR to injury can help prevent long-term or permanent damage. This makes sense, as one of the long term effects of concussion is the altering of the proteins (TAU) located in the brain. Fish oil supplementation supports protein growth and stability in the body and in the brain.
Our resident Omega-3 expert, Karlene Karst, explains how Omega-3 supplementation can help each member of the family’s brain development, function, and repair post-injury:
Omega-3s are crucial components of all cell membranes, including those in the central nervous system. Omegas play an important role in the development, function and regulation of the brain, neurological processes, cognition and mood.
Consuming plenty of omega-3 fatty acids may offer powerful protection against depression. A large Norwegian study of nearly 22,000 participants revealed that those who regularly took cod liver oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, were about 30% less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who did not. The longer the participants took omega-3, the less likely they were to have high levels of depression.
Other data suggests that boosting omega-3 fatty acid intake increases attention and reduces an aggressive stress response, probably by enhancing cognitive processes. An increased intake of omega-3 has also been associated with a larger volume of grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain area controlling emotion and mood and implicated in depression.
In studies, omega-3 supplements have been shown to offer a variety of stress-reducing benefits including easing feelings of distress, depression and anxiety, improving memory happiness, focus and relaxation, and calming inflammation throughout the body, including in the brain.
Sea-licious is a great Omega-3 fish oil for every member of the family and includes astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants available today. There are 5 great flavours available at your local health food store or natural pharmacy, and another 4 varieties available in soft-gel form.
We should all be taking Omega-3 fish oils, whether we have had a brain injury, children with cognitive delays, or just as a natural boost.
To Your Good Health – Karen