Concussion

Fall often is a time of training for me. Ski Patrol. Medicine. I recently returned from a conference focusing all on the brain. This was one of the most impactful seminars that I have taken recently.  Why you say? Well it brought to light that we can heal the brain. Even after a trauma. Like in a concussion.

concussion.jpg

Concussions happen. Skiing and snowboarding can lead to a fall and hit to the head. Other sports are culprits too. Even motor vehicle accidents where there has been no hit to the head, but an indirect force as in whiplash, can cause this sort of brain injury. Some of the symptoms of a concussion include new onset headaches, brain fog, dizziness, seeing stars, nausea/vomiting, memory loss. Not all people who have suffered a concussion experience loss of consciousness.

When it comes to healing the brain post concussion, I look to allowing for the brain to rest, to keeping inflammation in check and to ramping up neurological support.

brain.jpg

Limit Electromagnetic Frequency Exposure. The brain is a series of electrical signals, so you want to limit cross wiring from external electronic devices. Apex is a great place for this. I don’t mean getting back out on skis. But being up at the hill where there is limited EMF pollution is great for the brain. Even at home you can reduce EMF pollution by turning off the wireless  hub at night, keeping your cell phone away from your head and putting your Fitbit device on airplane mode. I believe it is common knowledge to reduce screen time but also remember that your brain gets affected by the ever present Electromagnetic Frequencies in our home environment.

Sleep is the ever powerful healer. We all need 8 or more hours of deep sleep to heal, and even more so important after an injury. Sleep is when the body rejuvenates. There is even a lymphatic highway that drains the days build up in the brain, called the glymphatic system, that works only during sleep. That is why if you have had a poor night sleep, you experience brain fog, as the brain hasn’t had the ability to detoxify. There are multiple natural agents that can help people sleep more soundly. Melatonin is one of them. Melatonin is commonly known for inducing sleep but it also helps with nerve stem cell development, making melatonin to be a great multitasker for the brain. 

Brain Diet. After any type of injury, I find it important to tighten up the diet. Food is what nourishes us and helps us repair. When it comes to a brain injury, I look at food that is rich in antioxidants and that is high in fats to maximize the nerve connections.  What I am talking about here are smoothies rich in wild blueberries. Dropping gluten and dairy from the diet, as these foods are particularly inflammatory to the brain. Load up on wild salmon, rich in essential fatty acids. Or gain these good fats from DHA based fish oil supplements. Increase choline rich foods that aid neurotransmitter function, like brussel sprouts, turkey, and eggs. Drink green tea or turmeric tea to drive down inflammation. 

Top Supplements.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids. As mentioned earlier, DHA is the the key component here as it reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and improves cognitive function. Whereas the omega 3 fatty acid EPA is ideal for the body.

curcumin.jpg

Curcumin is a powerful inflammatory modulator. Not all substances can cross the blood brain barrier, but curcumin is an exception. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric, is effective at reversing dysfunction of the nerves, as seen in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers. 

Taurine is an amino acid. It has been shown to directly improve memory. Taurine is considered to be neurotrophic, aiding in the growth of nervous tissue. Taurine also has the capacity to increase blood flow to the brain. Eggs, seaweed and fish are all rich in taurine. 

When it comes to brain healing, time and persistence is of the essence. Seek early treatment and follow a comprehensive program to accelerate healing. Above all remember that the brain has an immense capability to self heal. 



As seen in Apex Matters November Edition

References: 

Jessen, N.A., Munk, A.S.F., Lundgaard, I. et al. Neurochem Res (2015) 40: 2583. 

Pu H, Guo Y, Zhang W, et al. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation improves neurologic recovery and attenuates white matter injury after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013;33(9):1474-1484.

Petraglia AL, Winkler EA, Bailes JE. Stuck at the bench: potential natural neuroprotective compounds for concussion. Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:146.













References:





Jessen, N.A., Munk, A.S.F., Lundgaard, I. et al. Neurochem Res (2015) 40: 2583. 





Pu H, Guo Y, Zhang W, et al. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation improves neurologic recovery and attenuates white matter injury after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013;33(9):1474-1484.