A recent medical journal was released entitled “Supplements, nutrition, and alternative therapies for the treatment of traumatic brain injury”. In it, the researchers discuss the potential consequences of mild and moderate traumatic brain injury that may be caused by impact, such as athletic sport concussions or sudden falls. These types of injuries can lead to symptoms that include: cognitive delay, memory loss, mood affects, blank stares, headaches, impaired concentration and even seizures.
The suggestion that traumatic brain injury results from impact, may be limited in its approach, as we understand that other environmental insults and metabolic dysfunction can also create a form of traumatic brain injury, with young developing minds and even with aged minds. These consequences present as neurodevelopmental disorders that include seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s. Likewise, all of the approaches explored in this journal corroborate with this practitioner’s practice and protocols.
The researchers report that what results from traumatic brain injury are oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and neuro-inflammation. These internal stressors, as I refer to, respond more favorably to nutrition and alternative therapies, for the promotion of healing, than to prescription medications.
Cellular stress, immuno-toxicity and inflammation respond favorably to nutrition, supplements and therapies that include acupuncture, acupressure, music therapy, and mindfulness. When the brain swells, from neuro-inflammation, a series of events takes place within the body to compensate for the repair and recovery.
- The repair process demands an increase in glutamate release. For those of you that have not read other articles of mine, excess glutamate release can result in a depletion of the calming neurotransmitter GABA and lead to neuro excitotoxicity (a precursor to seizures).
- Cell death, frayed neurons (the connectors that can lead to misfiring- a seizure) can result.
- Damage to cells can result in an excess of free radicals, leading to depletion in the body of antioxidants, vitamins including D and minerals including magnesium and zinc.
So what minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants proved to be effective? Zinc has been demonstrated to improved cognition (no zinc, no think), reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Magnesium was one of four key ingredients shown to improve recovery with individuals that had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. Low levels of Vitamin D correlated with slow recovery and when combined with progesterone showed significant outcomes. Nicotinamide showing improved functional recovery. DHA (often found in cod liver oil) has been shown to counteract excess glutamate, reducing excitotoxicity. Curcumin has been demonstrated to reduce oxidative stress as has other antioxidants sulforaphane, glutathione and resveratrol. Other supplements that were discussed warrant further study. With regards to nutritional intake (diet), in one study, individuals that presented deficient in nutrients, showed the slowest recovery.
Added ‘alternative’ practices are suggestive to be effective. Acupuncture is suggested to improve motor and speech function; Acupressure is suggested to improving working memory. Mindfulness practice (meditation, tai chi, qi gong) is suggested to reduce depression following impact, and music therapy is suggested to reduce agitation.
I encourage all individuals that are reading this to not take a supplement or apply a practice without the support of a primary care physician and/or neurologist.
Continuing the research and intending to bring much light,