An estimated 1.6-3.8 million concussions occur in the United States every year1. Athletes in contact sports suffer from concussions on a daily basis. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, sleep deprivation, emotional changes, and difficulty concentrating. A concussion is defined as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), which consists of a two part process: the initial impact to the brain, and the series of reactions that occur later, which can lead to cell death and neuronal damage.2 Prolonged concussion symptoms are defined as Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)3, and these chronic symptoms are triggered by the negative reactions that occur in the second part of a TBI. Concussion research focuses primarily on the cause of the prolonged symptoms of PCS, and how to enable a more rapid recovery in order to alleviate or lessen these troubling symptoms.
A study conducted at the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, in Potomac Maryland, observed the effects of Omega fatty acids, (n-3FAs) and their ability to help speed up the recovery process. Omega fatty acids have anti-inflammatory qualities that are thought to possess therapeutic value in treating the inflammation, which occurs during the second phase of concussions. Omega fatty acids are substrates used in the production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which promotes neuronal development2. The current treatment regimen for administering n-3FAs is 5000 mg of fish oil, each containing about 3000 mg of n-3FAs, three times daily for one week. After that period, the patient is slowly tapered off this high dosage.2 This massive intake is believed to counterbalance the minimal amount of n-3FAs present in the brain during a concussion due to overuse and to prevent further inflammation.2 Further testing is necessary to confirm this treatment, but it could constitute a massive breakthrough in combating the major problem of TBI.
- Ryan, Lauren M., and Deborah L. Warden. “International Review of Psychiatry.” Post Concussion Syndrome: : Vol 15, No 4. N.p., 11 July 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.
- “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.” Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Innovative Use of Omega-3s: : Vol 35, No 5. N.p., 25 July 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
- Laroche, Ashley A., Lindsay D. Nelson, Peter K. Connelly, Kevin D. Walter, and Michael A.
Mccrea. “Sport-Related Concussion Reporting and State Legislative Effects.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 26.1 (2016): 33-39. Web. 26 Oct. 2016