DHA Supplementation Before Brain Injury Reduces Severity and Improves Outcomes

by Editor

Researchers led by Dr. Julian E. Bailes, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine, already knew from previous studies that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, aids in recovery after traumatic injuries. Next they wanted to find out if supplementing with DHA before injury would protect the brain.

They performed studies on rats given varying doses of DHA 30 days prior to induced brain impact trauma.

Their findings were very positive and have exciting potential for humans, especially athletes, military personnel, and others who are particularly at risk of brain injury due to their daily routines. (Children come to my mind, with all their bumps and falls!)

Dr. Bailes and his fellow scientists also found another benefit that we can all use. The rats given DHA had significantly less beta amyloid protein, a protein which is believed to have a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Results: much less post-injury brain damage and behavioral impairment in rats given DHA before being injured

DHA-supplemented rats had significantly less brain tissue damage and brain cell death than the control group, which was not given DHA. The reduction of tissue damage was highest in the rats given the highest amount of DHA--40 mg ber kilogram of weight.

The rats given DHA also showed the best results in spatial memory tests, which shows they sustained less behavioral impairment after the brain trauma.

Supplementation with DHA before brain trauma protected the brains of the rats in the study.

My feeling on omega-3 supplementation is that rather than taking one or two of the omega-3 fatty acids in isolation, it's preferable to take a marine-based supplement that contains all 18 known omega-3 fatty acids, including ETA. As far as I know, green-lipped mussel oil is the only omega-3 supplement that contains ETA.


Neurosurgery: February 2011 - Volume 68 - Issue 2 -
pp 474-481

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