Healing the Brain after Injury

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend an integrative neurobiology conference a few weeks ago in Scottsdale, Arizona! I’m always looking for ways to find  healing solutions to health concerns without long term reliance on medications, if able. This conference was a great opportunity to do just that!

With any new patient, I always assess brain function and the history of potential brain injuries, including history of motor vehicle accidents, concussions, military service (a lot of whiplash and explosive brain trauma that we forget about), collisions from sports or other events, and dementia type symptoms that people can experienced throughout life.

Head injuries were not taken as seriously years ago. Football players would resume play in the same game without evaluation, kids would be concussed from sports and not receive evaluation, service women/men would receive head trauma and not report injuries. This still frequently happens, but luckily there is a lot more research behind the long term implications of concussions and brain injuries. When someone sustains a concussion for the first time, it actually predisposes them to having more concussions in the future as well as lifelong problems such as mental health disorders (ie: depression), cognitive disorders and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

What are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)?

TBIs are basically wounds to our brains. There are a lot of secondary injuries to the brain from these wounds, which increases inflammatory reactions, decreases blood flow and oxygen to the brain tissues, as well as increases free radical damage in the body leading to cell death. Just like other wounds to our body, if this wound isn’t cared for and treated, long term implications are likely. This is really important to think about. Since these injuries aren’t visible, we forget how serious the wound actually is. We need to take proactive measures to heal the damaged brain, even if we don’t see the injury.
Nourishment for the brain:
Just likes wounds on our body need treatment to heal, so does our brain. There are specific nutrients that can help “calm the fire” during an acute phase of brain injury to help speed up recovery time and repair damaged brain tissue. Even if the person that was concussed, experienced this concussion a while back, it’s not too late to seek treatment!
1. Curcumin (component of Turmeric): This helps decrease the inflammatory cascade and cytokine triggers following a TBI. Take Curcumin 400-900mg daily.
2. Omega 3 Fatty acids 1800mg daily
3. Vitamin C 1000mg three times a day
4. Trans- Resveratrol 400mg daily
5. Alpha-GPC (a natural choline compound found in the brain) 300mg daily
6. IV Glutathione (the major antioxidant in our body, it helps nerve damage and tissue repair): If the person was knocked out with an acute concussion I also recommend doing a few sessions of glutathione via IV (best absorbed).
7. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): This can be a new topic to some people, and deserves its own article. So I will give a brief overview of how the HBOT works and helps heal the brain (and other tissues in the body). In the outside environment we breath air that is less than 25% oxygen, inside the chamber we get 100% oxygen with a elevated air pressure. This pressure is similar to being 68 feet under water. An average adult breaths in double the amount of oxygen inside of the chamber than they do in a regular environment (and it’s PURE oxygen), 10x the amount of regular oxygen. Red blood cells fill up with oxygen and the leftover oxygen goes into the plasma which builds up oxygen in the tissue, even in damaged tissues which promotes healing. Other effects of HBOT are; decreased swelling and inflammation, promotion of new blood vessels, increased ability for the body to fight infections, body detoxification and speeds up the general healing rate of all wounds. High oxygen and high pressure transforms oxygen into an effective “drug”. HBOT along with other nutritional therapies can show major improvements immediately after a few sessions, but most are noted in 12-40 sessions (To find this information and more, check out http://www.hbot.com/).

Overall, TBIs are serious injuries and it is important to heal the wounds as they occur to prevent long term brain damage, cognition and behavioral problems down the road. If you or someone you know, has experienced a concussion or TBI, talk with your provider about starting the above treatment regimen. The sooner you start, the better chances of full recovery.

I recommend checking out my website at www.viveivtherapy.com to read more about HBOT therapy.

As always, if you are experiencing daily symptoms (physical or emotional), don’t give up. Keep digging until you find the root cause of your symptoms.

In Health,

Stephanie Grutz, ARNP, FNP-C