Can what we eat really impact how our bodies heal from a concussion? Watch for my thoughts on using nutrition as a preventative therapy for concussion / mild traumatic brain injury.
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Good afternoon. Hello, everybody. I just wanted to pop on this afternoon and chat about a topic that I'm seeing pop up a lot in my Facebook news feed right now, which is hockey season starting. A lot of people getting their kids ready for that with skates and helmets and concussions clinics, where they're getting cognitive testing before the hockey season to make sure that if there's an accident, there's a baseline to compare to. I just see these parents doing everything that they can for their kids and to keep kids playing sports, whether that's hockey, whether that's another sport, to really minimize the impact of concussion.
One of the things that I don't see a lot of information out there on is nutrition and concussion prevention. This is a really, I mean to me, a really interesting field where there is this idea that we could prevent ... there's this idea that we could prevent concussion before it even happens. I mean we can't prevent an injury from happening. You can't prevent the trauma. That's why the protective gear is there for and there's lots of things that are addressing that, but what about when that happens?
What can we do beforehand to help the brain be in a place where it's going to be able to respond faster and can we minimize that impact? I think that the answer to this question is that we likely can and should definitely try. This is really debated in the literature because obviously we don't have randomized controlled trials where we give children injuries. That would be very inappropriate. What we're doing is looking at mouse models and looking at different situations. One of the things that comes up is omega-3 supplementation or having enough fatty acids for the brain, particularly really long-chain fatty acids.
This has been shown in most models of head trauma to improve recovery time and to really see less impact of the concussion. A lot of times when you're looking at something like a mouse study, you say, "Can we really apply this to humans?" There's a really great debate happening in the literature, which means strongly worded letters to the editor. But what I think is really the go-to for me, this takeaway, is that it's so safe. Fish oil is a very safe therapy and with very little risks of implementing. Something like a nutritional program to optimize brain health to prevent concussion. There's very little risk to this and the potential for so much benefit in terms of reduced harm.
Most of the research out there is on omega-3 fish oils and so definitely recommend as part of your hockey prep season to get a naturopathic doctor on your team and get an appropriate dose of fish oil for your child so that you know that you're doing that part to protect them. Then there's also some other research looking at prebiotic fibers to support what's going on in the gut because a lot of information moves back and forth from our gut to our brain and we want to be protecting that as well. There's also some research looking at antioxidant status. I mean in the research they're giving Resveratrol supplements, but I mean I look at that as they're giving antioxidants.
Is your child eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables? Are they getting lots of antioxidants from their diet, or is that something that you maybe want to look at improving or adding a supplement that's going to be high in antioxidants to help protect that way? There's lots of different pieces to this. I wanted to pop on today so that you know that this is something that can happen and this is something that you can take steps. Just like you might take steps with what you wear on the outside of your head, you can take steps on what happens on the inside of your head.
I hope that this video is helpful. If you did find it helpful, please share it with any other parents that are prepping for hockey season this year. Talk soon.