Nutritional Supplements May Help Traumatic Brain Injuries

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brainA traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. It can also be be caused by an object penetrating the skull. Concussions are a type of TBI and are on the rise especially in children. TBIs affect how your brain works and left untreated can result in brain damage and even death.

Although treatments have improved over the years, new and better treatments are needed. Researchers from Southern Illinois University explored the use of vitamins, minerals and nutrients as a complement to other TBI therapies. They believed that addressing the primary injury was not enough, as the secondary injury cascade causes considerable damage. They found that nutritional supplements may help traumatic brain injuries.

The review article published in the June 2016 issue of Brain Research found that nicotinamide, magnesium, flavonoids, and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to have the most promise in the treatment of TBI.

The study authors noted the following four findings on how vitamins and nutraceuticals could help treat TBI:

1. Nicotinamide’s ability to support energy production, inhibit cellular processes that delay repair, and decrease free radical scavenging appears to be neuroprotective.
2. Magnesium seems to decrease excitotoxicity.
3. Flavonoids have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and growth factor-stimulating properties.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids affect several points (including inflammatory signaling and cellular plasticity) in the secondary injury cascade.

The study authors emphasized that vitamins and nutraceuticals are unlikely to have noticeable effects when administered alone, but as part of a polymedicine approach, they can complement other treatments.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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