Did you know that about 1.3 million Canadians are living with an acquired brain injury and every year in Canada over 11 000 pass away as a result of a traumatic brain injury? More specifically, concussions can happen to anyone and the long-term consequences of an untreated concussion can have detrimental effects. From mood changes like anger, aggression, depression and anxiety to unregulated sleeping patterns to neurological concerns like vision and hearing disturbances to chronic headaches or migraines, concussions can severely affect your life. So what can be done to help? While there are many options available, here are my top three.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is so incredibly important for our bodies and sleep for brain health is certainly no exception. While we sleep, our body’s natural detoxification systems are activated in our brains. This system is called the glymphatic system (which was excitingly discovered in 2015) and is incredibly important for moving out toxic build-up in our brain tissue. Especially in a circumstance like a concussion, supporting sleep can help tremendously in brain tissue healing. Using natural sleep supports are also a great option for a multitude of different reasons in concussion management. A few of my favourites include melatonin, 5-HTP and herbals such as Scutellaria and Passiflora – all of which should be dosed accordingly for each person.
Boost brain glutathione levels.
Glutathione is your body’s ultimate antioxidant and is found abundantly in the liver as well as the brain and many other tissues. Glutathione is anti-aging, free-radical fighting and disease preventing and can be used for a multitude of various conditions. In concussion victims, glutathione is important for aiding in decreasing brain tissue inflammation and preventing or slowing degenerative processes from occurring in the brain. The best way to get therapeutic doses of glutathione is through intravenous infusions as well as supplementing with glutathione precursors such as n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) to name a couple.
The all-powerful curcumin.
Not all curcumin supplements are made the same so it’s important to know which one to get and why. With the power of technology (and some really brilliant scientists), there are versions of curcumin that are referred to as “bioavailable”, meaning they easily pass through the gut and blood brain barrier, which are two areas in the body that are highly selective in what they allow through. The importance of this is obvious – increased absorption into the blood and inevitably to the brain tissue where it is most needed in circumstances such as concussions. Curcumin is an excellent anti-inflammatory and has been researched in relation to a number of different conditions, from cancer to joint pain to neurological degeneration to gut dysfunction.
I could probably write a short novel on the amount of treatment options out there for concussion management. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’s a great start when working with someone suffering from a brain injury. And especially when it comes to concussions, consulting with a healthcare professional with regards to treatment options for your condition is always a good idea.
Brain Injury Association of Waterloo-Wellington. (n.d.). Causes of Acquired Brain Injury. Retrieved from: http://www.biaww.com/stats.html