Medical: Dealing with a concussion – Part 2

MedicalConcussion

In the last issue of Adventure Bike Rider, Doc Edwards explained exactly what a concussion is, in part two he describes what to do if you’re unfortunate enough to get one.

Most people don’t think that there is much to do after a concussion has happened, but in reality there are certain things you should do to speed up recovery and ensure you’re well cared for.

Decrease inflammation through diet and supplementation

It is clear from research that the brain heals better when avoiding glucose and fructose and other processed carbohydrates in the diet. In fact, the benefits of putting yourself into a state of nutritional ketosis by eating a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates is supported by research. By ketosis, I mean that your body is using fat for energy either from consuming a high fat/low carb diet or fasting.

Consume healthy fats

Make sure you get your fats from healthy sources such as those from fatty fish, freshly pressed oils, pasture-raised meat, and DHA fish oil supplements. Also consume marine food such as oysters and fish. Fish that contain the highest amounts of DHA are easy to remember by thinking of the SMASH diet. Smash stands for salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring.

Other supplements that decrease inflammation are high levels of curcumin, coconut oil (MCT oil), and DHA.

Vitamin C/Glutathione/Vitamin E

Vitamins C, E and glutathione have all been used in the treatment of TBI (traumatic brain injuries) and are thought
to decrease the free radical-induced oxidative damage and cell membrane damage that occur. The studies that are out there show that a high dose of vitamin C is what is most effective.

Glutathione goes to work inside your cells to protect your mitochondria. Your liver produces a certain amount of it naturally though many factors, including diet, toxin exposure, alcohol, medications, stress and ageing can all deplete your supply – leaving you vulnerable to oxidative stress and free radicals.

A good way to increase glutathione is by taking N-Acetyl L-Cystiene (NAC) packets found in most pharmacies.

Vitamin D3 and K2

On to more vitamins, consume a blend of vitamins D3 and K2, both of which can help with brain injury. Vitamin D and K should really be thought of as one since they work together. The more important point in talking about vitamins D and K is that most people are deficient in these. Deficiencies are associated with significant impairment in cognitive performance.

Decreasing stress in the body

This entails decreasing excess stress hormones produced by the body. Stress can be caused by numerous things, though decreasing stress is paramount around the time of a brain injury and that is why most doctors recommend rest during the initial period and, if severe enough, the patient is put into an artificial coma.

The best things to help in this regard are music, meditation, controlling light and noise, getting enough sleep, and patience. This is where having a therapist can pay off as being able to talk about things in a controlled environment can relieve stress.

Brain nootropics

Nootropics are called smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuroenhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers. They are said to improve certain aspects of mental function including working memory, motivation and attention. All of these are affected by brain injuries. Many doctors will prescribe nootropics during the period of a brain injury for several reasons.

Amphetamines such as Adderall and methylphenidate help improve performance on memory, control and task completion. Wakefulness promoting agents such as Modafinil increase alertness, particularly in patients with brain injury and sleep deprivation.

Adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogens increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and/or fatigue. If you want a ready-made package of adaptogenic herbs, Tianchi is the best on the market.

Magnesium

Magnesium can have neural calming and anti-inflammatory effects and has been shown to help in the treatment of brain injuries. It is an essential dietary mineral, and the second most prevalent electrolyte in the body.

Optimising sleep

Optimising sleep is complex and has many steps. Apart from the many supplements that exist to improve sleep quality, it is important to be sure that you do not develop apnea, which is one thing that can happen to people who have brain injuries. You can purchase monitors for in-home use to see if you have apnea or not. This would be well worth the investment.

Brain stimulation

Now, all this refers to when it comes to brain stimulation are the different cognitive training games. Examples are Luminosity and Brainscape. Learning a second language is an effective treatment for a brain injury as well. Use an app such as Duolingo.

Information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor nor the treatment you may receive in a hospital. If you have an injury to your head, please have it properly evaluated by a medical professional.