August 10, 2015
331 Traumatic Brain Injury [10 Aug 2015]
Brain trauma, including concussions, can lead to long term, often permanent, changes in mental and emotional health. Anything that can help the brain to heal more quickly and completely could significantly improve the outcome. I have previously written about two supplements that aid in brain healing and recently learned of two more.
Omega 3 EFAs, particularly DHA, are essential for brain development and healing. Supplementation with high doses of fish oil is likely responsible for two remarkable recoveries I wrote about in December 2012 [#194]. Several high DHA fish oil supplements are available in Canada.
More recently in February 2015 [#305] I wrote about PQQ, a cellular antioxidant that can increase mitochondrial production. This is very important in protecting brain and nerve tissue from oxidative damage by free radicals following a brain or spinal cord injury. PQQ has recently become available as a supplement in Canada.
Creatine, a popular sports supplement, is also used in the treatment of brain injury. Much of the damage to brain tissue occurs after the trauma due to free radical oxidative damage and lack of oxygen. Creatine supports mitochondrial ATP production, increasing energy available for healing and preventing further damage.
I have just learned about another nutrient that is showing promise for concussion and other brain injuries. Brains normally depend on glucose for energy. Unfortunately glucose metabolism is significantly impaired in the brain following an injury, starving it of energy and slowing the healing process. Ketones are the only known alternative to glucose for brain metabolism. I have previously shown how ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide an alternative energy source for the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s [#153 February 2012]. Ketones are now proving beneficial following a concussion or more serious brain injuries [alphahealth.ca; Prins, 2008; White & Vankatesh, 2011].
Ketones can be produced with a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (under medical supervision), administered parentally by IV, or provided through certain ketone-producing foods. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil are converted in the liver to ketones. Adding MCT oil, or a special blend designed for the purpose, as soon as possible after an injury will provide needed energy for brain repair, and could reduce long term disabilities.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.