Great HealthWorks Announces Study: Omega-3s May Benefit Impact Concussions in Football

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According a study published in Clinical Neurosurgery on concussion management in football, sport and recreation related concussions are conservatively estimated at 1.6 to 3.8 million cases each year in the United States alone. cns.org/publications/clinical/58/pdf/Chapter7.pdf

The brain itself is made up mostly of fatty acids; the most predominant, making up 40 percent of these fatty acids, is Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the other is Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA and DHA are referred to as omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 EFAs have been found to have significant anti-inflammatory and health benefits, especially for the brain.Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion, and Post-concussion Syndrome (PCS) can result in both short-term and long-term impairment of neurological function and the possibility of significant neuropathological changes that can result in depression and cognitive impairment similar to that expressed in Alzheimer’s.

According to the study, “the use of omega-3 EFA supplementation has been shown to improve a wide range of brain-related conditions with similar underlying etiologies that are inflammatory and require cellular repair using omega-3 EFAs to rebuild. Providing omega-3 EFA supplementation to subjects with PCS will supply the needed fatty acids required for brain cell healing and help reduce the inflammatory response activated by TBI.”

Long-term placebo-controlled trials using various doses of omega-3 supplementation are now being planned to compare recovery time for those seeking treatment of PCS. In the short term, the study’s authors have “observed many case reports that indicate a significant and dramatic improvement in symptoms with the use of high-dose fish oil in the 2- to 4-g/d range.”

The study concluded, on the basis of a review of the pertinent literature and physiological mechanisms associated with concussion management and PCS, that “supplementation with omega-3 EFAs in the form of fish oil supplements may offer a viable alternative to the techniques currently used.”