This post originally appeared on the blog in 2011, not much has changed in this area, it is still not definitively known if this is good, bad or indifferent (probably the latter). However, this is a supplement that is good for all athletes for a myriad of reasons. I have chosen to post this again because it is one of the most popular and commented on post in the blog history.
After posting about the “7 Ways To Help With Concussion Management” I realized that I had not posted about the possible benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids/DHA supplements for concussion management.
In a July publication of The Journal of Neurosurgery, Dr. Julian Bailes (BIRI) and Dr. Barry Sears (leading authority on anti-inflammatory nutrition, creator of Zone-Diet) found that supplementing rats with O3/DHA after head injuries reduced the observed issues with a concussion; (SOURCE via weightlosingideas.com)
“Animals receiving the daily fish oil supplement for 30 days post concussion had a greater than 98 percent reduction in brain damage compared with the animals that did not receive the supplement,” Dr. Sears said. “It is hypothesized that the omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil reduced the neural inflammation induced by the concussion injury.”
O3/DHA has been documented to help with the inflammatory response of the body, many people use this SAFE and AVAILABLE supplement when training to temper swelling. It is also has shown great promise for the cardiovascular system, mainly heart health. Further investigation is underwayin regards to humans with catastrophic brain injuries and concussions.
“One implication of the study is that concussions, such as those that occur in football, may be best treated with immediate high-dose fish oil supplementation to reduce brain inflammation. The same may hold true of all brain trauma patients,” Sears said.
You can go to your nearest Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger’s (grocery store), Sam’s Club, etc. and find this fish oil. It can be used in liquid form, which from experience can be “stinky”, or in capsular form that is unscented (my choice). It would be good to have around and use on a daily basis not only for help with concussions, but with general overall health. The research showed that 1g/day may help with prevention of axonal damage in the brain;
There is potential for DHA to be used to limit brain damage in sports that are more prone to concussions, like football. Taking 1g of DHA daily may protect brain axons from damage. To get this amount from fish oil, you will need to take 4 soft gels of double strength fish oil (ex. Nordic Naturals ProOmega or Nature Made Double Strength Fish Oil). If you are vegetarian and do not want to use fish oil, Martek makes omega-3 oils (Life’s DHA) from algal oil.
The thought and further investigation would be to see how much is needed to show help with the inflammatory phase of a concussion. High dosing of fish oil has not shown any negative issues to this point, as the body will only discard what is not being used. Therefore high-dosing after an injury may be a step in the right direction in dealing with the concussion.