Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Study Spotlight: Omega 3 Supplementation for Potential Therapeutic Aid from MTBI

To continue with our Omega 3 theme this week we took a look at a review article that covers all the research that is coming out when it comes Omega 3 supplementation and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or concussion.  There has been extensive research both clinically (in animals) as well as just anecdotally supporting that Omega 3 fatty acids (especially DHA) is very important for brain health in both the 'prevention' or lessening of a concussion and the recovery process.

What They Did:

Review a tremendous amount of articles (93 to be exact) looking at Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation and the outcomes with brain health and concussion injury.

What They Found: 
Pre clinical investigations demonstrate that dietary consumption of DHA provided either before or after mTBI improves functional outcomes, such as spatial learning and memory.

What It All Means:
Omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have important structural and functional roles in the brain, with established clinical benefits for supporting brain development and cognitive function throughout life.  While a lot of the studies reviewed are clinically based around animal trials and we can't make a direct comparison to humans due to many factors the results are extremely promising.

Concussions are not only serious in the acute or immediate stages of the injury but the long term effects they may have are still relatively unknown (although with the discovery of CTE this is becoming more apparent).  The possibility of blunting the damage caused by a concussion injury and potentially helping repair the brain is huge (Check out our podcast of the week with talking about neurogenesis).  While nothing is set yet for recommendations an idea of supplementing levels of Omega 3 (specifically DHA) both for someone who has suffered an injury recently or one that has a history could be very beneficial to their overall health.  Generally recommendations are 1-3 grams of Omega 3's with at least 1g being DHA.

Omega 3 Fatty acid supplementation as a potential therapeutic aid for the recovery from mild traumatic brain injury and concussion
Erin Cernkovich
Adv. Nutr. 5: 268-277, 2014

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