Millions of people in the United States suffer from a concussion each year due to motor vehicle accidents, falls or participating in sports. The University of California Brain Injury Research Center states that over 2 million sports-related concussions happen each year in the United States. Annually, brain injuries affect more people than multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer combined.
What Is a Concussion?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is called a concussion. TBI result from a bump, blow to the head, or a penetrating injury into the head. Common causes can be a fall, vehicle accident, sports injuries or a violent assault. A concussion happens when the brain bounces inside the skull; this can cause bruising and even bleeding. A thorough examination and monitoring are necessary first steps in concussion treatment, or after any head trauma. The first 24 hours after the injury are crucial.
What Are The Most Common Signs Of TBI?
Symptoms of a concussion vary depending on both the severity of the injury and the person injured. Some people do experience a loss of consciousness, but others don’t. The signs of a concussion may include memory problems, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and slowed reaction time.
What Damage Does A TBI Do To The Brain?
Like any physical injury, TBI causes damage to the structure and function of cells. Brain injuries cause a cascade of damaging events to your neurons. Firstly, the mitochondria inside neurons malfunction. Mitochondria are the parts of cells that produce energy (scientists call them the “powerhouses of the cell”), and they are vital for keeping cells alive. When mitochondria don’t work properly, a toxic build-up of chemicals collects in cells, causing oxidative stress (known as free radical damage). This then causes inflammation in the brain, which leads to the loss of neurons and neuron function. Additionally, TBI does causes mood disorders such as low energy, anxiety and emotional changes.
Conventional Treatment For Concussions
Treatment for a concussion depends on the severity of your symptoms. You might need surgery or other medical procedures if you have bleeding in the brain, swelling of the brain or serious injury to the brain. However, most concussions don’t require surgery or any major medical treatment. If the concussion is causing headaches, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Your doctor will also probably ask you to get plenty of rest, avoid sports and other strenuous activities, and avoid driving a vehicle or riding a bike for days or months, depending on the severity of your injury.
What Else Can Be Done To Speed Up Brain Recovery?
A healthy diet combined with targeted supplementation is key for a healthy brain. Here are the top 7 nutrients that can help with TBI recovery:
1. Vitamin E — an antioxidant that works to reduce the toxins in the brain that cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Sources of vitamin E include nuts, seed, fish and our best selling neuron health product Procera NeuroGenius. Research studies show that Vitamin E enriched diets support memory when head injuries have occurred.
2. Nicotinamide or vitamin B3 — found in meat, dairy, nuts and mushrooms, vitamin B3 plays an important role in the chemical reactions performed by mitochondria to generate energy in cells. Research studies show that vitamin B3 provides neuroprotective benefits from brain injury and increases functional recovery. Vitamin B3 can be found in Procera Essential Multivitamin.
3. Zinc — an essential mineral that has a key role in the regeneration and repair of tissue. Because zinc helps tissue repair as well as reducing neuroinflammation, diets rich in zinc have shown promise in speeding up recovery from TBI. Zinc-rich foods include red meat, shellfish, eggs, nuts and seeds, dairy, dark chocolate (yes chocolate), Procera Protect and Procera Advanced Brain.
4. Magnesium — another key mineral needed by our bodies that promotes energy, sleep, and balancing blood sugar. Research shows that Magnesium enriched diets improved recovery following TBI. Foods that are high in magnesium include green leafy veggies, algae, avocados, figs, bananas, raspberries, nuts and seeds and beans. Magnesium can also be found in Procera Mood and Procera Essential Multivitamin.
5. Omega-3 fatty Acids — diets abundant with omega 3 are key to brain health whether you’re injured or not. Research shows that diets high in DHA can act as both a protective agent against the effects of a brain injury and also speed recovery after a TBI. Oily fish like wild salmon, black cod, halibut, trout, anchovy, sardines and mackerel are terrific sources of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). To learn more about the importance of Omega 3s, go to Procera Essentials Omega 3.
6. Turmeric — researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia have found that curcumin reduces swelling, pain and oxidative brain injury. Turmeric has been shown to be an effective treatment for mood imbalancdes and inflammation, two common side effects TBI. You can find Turmeric in Procera Protect.
7. Antioxidant Rich Foods — a study published in the journal Surgical Neurology International found “encouraging results” in the neuroprotective properties of natural compounds in the treatment of concussions and TBIs. Some of the top compounds highlighted in this review are the antioxidant powerhouses mentioned above, including turmeric as well as resveratrol and green tea. To enjoy the benefits of resveratrol, eat red grapes, blueberries, cranberries, pistachios and Procera Protect. A cup or two of green tea each day during healing can help cognition, alertness and memory while protecting the brain from oxidative stress and free radical damage.