During a concussion not only is the brain experiencing a cascade of events causing the injury, but also a metabolic crisis. Not only does blood flow become compromised but the influx of calcium and quick “ejection” of potassium makes the blood energy system chaotic. There has always been the question; can we “feed” the injury to help with this issues occurring? Previous research has mentioned the use of Omega-3’s, DHA, and EPA to help with inflammation. We have even had a commenter suggest the use of creatine to help with (see comment section of the previous link), and because I had not really done research, other than his post, I was unsure. Perhaps we are now becoming less unsure of creatine and the role nutrition plays with management of concussions.
The Globe and Mail (fast becoming a go-to source) and Ann Mehler Paperny published a story about another US Military research project, this time dealing with “feeding a concussion”;
A team of U.S. scientists has found that food can play a vital role in mitigating the damage done by traumatic brain injury – and that a speedy supply of specific nutrients can give hurting brain cells the energy and chemical cues they need to heal while preventing inflammation.
Of all the specific examples that were given in the article; creatine, protein, resveratrol (red grapes) and curcumin (turmeric), research into prophylactic use of them has yet to be studied. What was known is that use of these nutrients very soon after injury is helpful with mitigating inflammation;
The study recommends that the speedy intake of energy and protein for traumatic brain injuries should be made common practice “immediately” – both right after an especially severe injury and for two weeks following. That means more than half a person’s total energy output, and at least a gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, starting within a day of the injury.
(To put that in perspective, it means a 70-kilogram person would need the protein equivalent of 25 bowls of cereal a day.)
“This intervention is critical,” the study notes, to lessen the severity of inflammation.
At the same time, the study analyzed findings that animal test subjects with traumatic brain injuries fared better when they had particular nutrients in their systems.
From personal experience when dealing with injured athletes, I have found that feeding the athlete on the sidelines with readily available substance (energy drink, candy bars, etc.) have given the concussed athlete some relief with symptoms; none of them ever returned to a game/practice.
This is an interesting finding and one that we will all be following.