In the United States, there are 1.7 million people that suffer from traumatic brain injury every year. Once a patient is stabilized, there is no known treatment to help the patient’s brain to fully recover and go back to its former state. Most doctors usually adopt a “wait and see” approach to determine if the patient will regain their normal neurological function. Such was a case of Bobby Ghassemi, a 17-year old high school football player who was left in a coma after a car accident. The teenager’s parents were desperate for any treatment and contacted their friends about their condition. They eventually were able to make contact with a doctor who suggested an alternative treatment for Bobby. Now, their son is back and they credit omega-3 fatty acids in bringing back their son to good health.
This story strongly suggests the importance and appreciation of food in helping the body in recovering from trauma and injuries. And it is very unfortunate that most hospitals and clinics in the United States serve foods that are as bad as the standard American diet. In a normal everyday life, this is not a typical problem although it has great impact on an individual. An unhealthy diet will make you more prone to developing flus or colds and it can increase your chances of getting chronic disease. If someone in your family or someone close to you is being treated in the hospital, it’s best to have their food that is optimized for nutrition. If possible, serve your own healthy food.
The link Between the Brain and Omega-3
60% of the brain is made up of fat. 15%-20% of the human brain and the cerebral cortex are made up of DHA or docosahexanoic acid. This is a type of polyunsaturated fat found in omega-3s. DHA is found in high levels in your neurons which are cells in the central nervous system. Since the brain is literally made of omega-3, it is sensible that adequate doses of omega-3 particularly DHA following a trauma or injury can help in the brain’s natural healing process. At present, there are three popular sources of omega-3 oils – first is fish oil, second is krill oil and third is calamari oil. Out of the three rich sources of omega-3, calamari oil is the least popular but it is gaining ground because out of the three, calamari oil has the highest level or concentration of DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA help in:
- Inhibiting cell death
- It helps in reconnecting damaged neurons
- It helps in activating the genes that help cope with brain damage while minimizing the genes that causes brain inflammation
Studies made on laboratory animals’ show promise. With one research showing lab mice supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA healed faster after an acceleration-induced brain injury. There are a number of documented cases of omega-3 and brain injury recovery. One case was for Randal McCloy Jr. in 2006. The patient is a coal miner and the only survivor of the Sago Mine explosion. Randal suffered a severe brain damage and his neurosurgeon administered high doses of DHA and EPA while being treated in the hospital. The doctor stated that they combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats helped in reducing the inflammation and enhancing the natural repair process of the brain.
When the omega-3 intake is adequate, it will prevent cells from becoming stiff and more prone to inflammation. High levels of cholesterol and omega-6 will result to cells becoming stiffer, inflamed and the proper neurotransmission of the brain cells will be affected.
Experts suggest having at least two serving of omega-rich foods every week. If you’re not keen on eating fish or squid, you can opt for fish or calamari oil instead. If you are still unsure of what supplement to take, fish or calamari oil, read about “Difference between Calamari Oil and Fish Oil” to shed some light on your questions.