Donate Now

Supplements – Focused on Brain Injury

*Why take supplements and do you need them?

*How to choose supplements

*Focus on diet

*Things to consider

*Repairing the brain and body together

*Making conscious choices

Introduction

Why take supplements and do you need them?

The first thing to consider is that not all supplements are the same. We tend to band all supplements together under one umbrella and yet they are distinctive families consisting of vitamins, minerals, natural herbs and plants, and naturally occurring extracts from foods – such as coenzyme Q10.

For the most part, if we are eating a nutritious diet consisting of whole foods that we prepare ourselves, we should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals we need. However, when your body is repairing damage following a brain injury, you may need to consider giving it more support – especially if you are some time out from the injury and don’t seem to be getting any better.

The brain metabolises micronutrients at a faster pace when it is healing, and a brain injury can deplete vitamin and mineral reserves quickly. One study found that up to 50% of vitamin D reserves can be depleted in the first 24 hours after a brain injury and can slow recovery. A further study undertaken by Imperial College, London, published in 2016 concludes, “Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients after TBI and associated with impaired cognitive function and more severe depressive symptoms.”

For some people, particular health conditions will cause a depletion of specific vitamins or minerals, and they may need to take supplements or increase certain foods rich in the source of the substances they need. Your doctor will be able to let you know if you are low in any essential vitamins and minerals and may prescribe supplements for you. An example of this would be people who already have an autoimmune disease and possible problems with making a protein called intrinsic factor, which is made in the stomach. This protein aids the absorption of vitamin B12, and one deficiency can cause the other.

Many herbs, spices and plants contain elements that are proven to provide health benefits above and beyond their vitamin and mineral content. The recommended supplements contain substances which target specific symptoms and outcomes of brain injury, such as, inflammation and oxidation and should be considered as they help with neuro-fatigue and brain fog amongst many of the other symptoms people struggle with following brain injury.

Sheri Taylor of Specialist Nutrition Rehab in the UK, says that the top three deficiencies in her patients are, vitamin D, folic acid and iron and stresses the importance of regular blood testing for people following brain injury.

Avoid self-diagnosis and paying for information on the internet. Your doctor, dietician or naturopath, will be able to tell you all you need to know about vitamins and minerals.

Focusing on the injured brain

There is a lot of ‘misleading’ or, better put, ‘incomplete,’ information available and this can lead to people creating incomplete knowledge and beliefs about their health and in turn this can become a bit of a minefield when people look to take direct responsibility for this by way of supplements and home remedies.

For example, many people who suffer from a low immune response can be plagued by seasonal bugs and will supplement their diet with all manner of foods, juices and vitamins, to try and boost the immune system. ‘Fuller’ information includes knowledge about the relationship between gut flora and the immune system, so, we should consider the whole intestinal tract right the way from what we are putting into our mouths. For example, it is known that refined sugar, and processed foods and fizzy drinks laden with this, deplete our store of good bacteria in the gut – thus lowering our immune response.

The intention here is to concentrate on a simple methodology that really gets back to basics and focuses on what the injured brain needs. As an aside, even people who don’t have a brain injury should be sure to feed their brain as many conditions, such as depression and anxiety, have their root cause based in poor nutrition and poor gut health – they may ‘feel’ psychological, but the truth is that no part of the body functions well on a diet based on fast and processed foods that are high in trans-fats, sugars and no end of chemical-laden additives.

Trying to sort through the maze of available supplements can be challenging and confusing. Again, please always consult a specialist before taking vitamin and mineral supplements. Supportive food supplements should also be taken with care, and even though many brain injury-related sites advocate certain supplements, the chances are that if you have a healthy diet, you won’t need to take many of the products you find listed. Creatine is just one of these products commonly listed. However, if you eat grass-fed red meat and wild-caught fish and use olive oil, it is unlikely that you will need a supplement. Many products are listed and sold as being ‘crucial’ or give the impression they alone will heal your brain even though they may be unnecessary.

Avoid self-diagnosis and paying for information on the internet. Your doctor, dietician or naturopath, will be able to tell you all you need to know about vitamins and minerals.

Nutrition is often overlooked following a brain injury, and one of the key reasons for this is that doctors tend to turn to pharmacological solutions and don’t generally consider the healing power of micronutrients.

“Adequate nutrition and hydration help make rehabilitation more cost-effective by supporting clients to get the most out of all of their therapeutic input.  Just like an athlete needs a steady supply of nutritious food for his/her body to function at its peak, so do clients after a catastrophic injury.  Dehydration, deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals and/or gut problems such as constipation, are all quite common in clients after a catastrophic injury and can make fatigue, “brain fog” and spasticity worse.  You want to make sure these basics are covered before seeking out more expensive therapies and pharmaceuticals to solve the problem.” (1)

Understanding quality matters

Many people living with the outcomes and symptoms of a brain injury are vulnerable because they have difficulty processing information, remembering what is important to them and why. It is therefore important to understand how hard it can be to make choices and to understand what factors we need to use in our decision making.

A lot of the high street and supermarket chains rely on branding. Poor quality products will not work with the body in the same way as those containing quality natural ingredients, and it is often the case that there are very few nutritional benefits derived from cheap, mass-produced capsules and liquids.

Brand trust isn’t always what we think and can lead us to make poor decisions. The last thing anyone wants to do is to spend money on a product, take it daily – and find that it has no effect at all. No one wants synthesised products marketed as health supplements.

A lot of information can often be extremely overwhelming, and as such, people usually avoid nutritional supplements because they don’t understand the criteria needed for sound decisions and are worried about wasting their money or using the wrong thing. This avoidance can be a good thing and without a doubt, you should:

Avoid self-diagnosis and paying for information on the internet. Your doctor, dietician or naturopath, will be able to tell you all you need to know about vitamins and minerals.

Focus on diet

There are certain foods which, when eaten regularly, will provide the body with all the essential nutrients it needs. If you focus entirely on diet, you may find that you don’t need to use many supplements at all – save those which are based on nutritional benefits derived from herbs, spices, and plants. Many of these address specific brain injury symptoms and can alleviate these and support essential body function.

Many nutrients need the support of each other to improve absorption. For example, vitamin D enhances the uptake of calcium and vitamin C supports the absorption of iron. Make sure your diet consists of a wide variety of wholesome foods.

We need to be really careful when choosing supplements and there are many things we need to take into account when selecting a brand or manufacturer as well as understanding more about underlying causes which many supplements will not treat or address. The price should be the least of our priorities whenever possible, although of course, it is understandable that this is an important factor for many people.

Researching a product can be a minefield; especially when you are struggling with the outcomes of a brain injury. There are a lot of factors to take into account such as those mentioned above. Think about whether fillers or binders are used, added ingredients, what the capsule is made of, use of whole food rather than chemically extracted or chemically synthesised contents, GM-free, organic, and so on.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you are better off eating healthful foods rather than taking supplements, for example,  eating dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale which are rich in magnesium is better than taking supplements which are ‘chelated’ and therefore, difficult to absorb.

There are many things to consider before we take supplements

Fresh is best!

Supplements, especially proven neuroprotectors such as black seed oil and omega-3, may help with the primary and secondary outcomes and biological cascade that happens in the brain following injury. These can and do also affect other organs and the health of the body.

Because the injured brain is sensitive and vulnerable we need to be really careful about what we are adding, and this is why nutrition is so important. Fresh ‘whole’ food is always best, and organic and locally grown is even better.

What we are aiming for is to calm and heal the effects of trauma on the brain and body. How much work you need to do will depend on a number of factors, including age and pre-injury health and lifestyle.

Detox daily

It can take anywhere from one to three years to return the body to a ‘clean’ and balanced state of health, and so all the advice on this site is aimed towards not only healing the damage that has occurred because of brain injury, and other means, but also towards the prevention of diseases in the future.

Why does it take this long? The therapeutic effects of nutrition and food supplements can certainly create noticeable effects on your health and symptom reduction in a much shorter space of time however because the body restores or replaces different cells over different periods we should always keep working on the restoration of health – always!

If you were already committed to making organic choices and if you are lucky living in the fresh air of the countryside, for example, then it stands to reason that your body will not be burdened by as many toxins as someone living in a polluted city.

We tend to think of toxins as something we absorb through our food, or by breathing them in through our lungs. Our skin is also an organ, and it absorbs toxic substances and pollutants just the same way.

In fact, no part of us escapes. Quantum science tells us that we are living, breathing, components of a universal matrix. We should think of detoxifying as part of our daily routine because everything in our environment, including our thoughts, can have a negative impact on cell health.

Making conscious choices

Suffering a brain injury forces us to consider all our decisions and the reasoning behind them strongly. In fact, when we understand the actual cause of brain injury outcomes and related health issues, we gain a new mindset simply because we fully understand why we are making choices.

Our mentality automatically changes when we know what we are dealing with, and we invest confidence in our choices that bring change. No longer do we think of a sugar and gluten-laden doughnut as being a ‘naughty’ treat – we instead  start to see it as the ‘enemy!’

In fact, when you start living wisely you will know immediately exactly what damage that doughnut did! You won’t want to do it again.

You will change because you will make new informed choices and you will feel gratified that you are doing absolutely everything you can to better your health and your life – you will start to feel more confident and great about yourself again, and you won’t want to sacrifice this for anything.

We can’t help ourselves unless we choose to stop causing more damage. The incentives are powerful and clear for everyone living with the outcomes of a brain injury. Everyone wants to get their brain working as best as it possibly can to support the life we want to lead. We all want to feel as much like our real selves as we possibly can. The incentive to ‘fix’ yourself is built-in naturally – you just need to listen to it instead of diving into comfort food.

Before we look at recommended supplements, let’s look again at the things we need to tackle:

  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Damage to the Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Free Radical Overload
  • Excitotoxicity
  • Influx of calcium and sodium ions into neurons
  • Dysfunction of mitochondria

All of these are secondary outcomes of a brain injury and are explained further in ‘What Happens to the Injured Brain.’

In terms of natural supplements that aid these outcomes, there is one that ‘fits all’ really well – Black Seed Oil.

For foods that help, please see ‘Eat for Nutrition.’

More things you need to know about supplements

With some vitamin and mineral supplements it is possible to ‘overdose’ and therefore you should always consult a doctor before taking anything that falls into this category. A few supplements interfere with interactions with prescribed medications – always talk to your doctor first.

For example, B6 overload can lead to nerve toxicity, and B3 can lead to things like liver toxicity, nausea and jaundice.

Many people believe that supplements will make them well again, but only your doctor can tell you if you are deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral and will recommend what you should do. If you can, go and see a ‘functional’ medical practitioner or naturopath.

You can, and should, talk to your general practitioner about anything they prescribe you.

Nature is always best, so, for example, if you are mildly deficient in B12 but do not have a medical problem causing it then eating organically grow curly kale and resisting the urge to wash it will be way better than taking a B12 supplement.  The little pockets of micro-organisms found on the leaves support the ilium and the absorption of B12 naturally. Using a probiotic will also help with the manufacture and use of B12. Sunlight is better than taking vitamin D supplements.

You won’t know for sure, even if you suspect it, if you are deficient in B12, D, or any other vitamin or mineral, unless you get your blood tested.

The supplements below are food orientated – they give us a way of increasing certain nutritional compounds that may be lacking, or even missing, in the diet. They are all aimed towards what the injured brain needs explicitly to help alleviate the symptoms of brain injury, such as anxiety, depression, headaches, and fatigue. Some herbal supplements can also help with improving memory, attention and focus, and so on.

If we can minimise or quell the ‘symptoms’ of secondary brain injury, then it leaves us with a much clearer picture of the cognitive and other consequences of brain injury that we need to ‘rewire.’ It is like cutting down some of the forest so that we can see the trees…

There are many vitamin and minerals that are important to the brain. It is a tough call listing these – as all healthy nutrients are beneficial to the body in one way or another. It is an even tougher call sorting the ‘wheat from the chaff,’ and coming up with succinct information that is easy to follow and pertinent.

Science isn’t ‘fully’ there yet, and what is published needs a lot of looking at. It is like deciphering a code because no precedent exists for the kind of focus people living with brain injury outcome need. No one coat fits all – but – there is enough evidential science to at least start helping people in very real ways.

What is known is that many herbs work even better when they are combined and is known as therapeutic or nutritional synergy. In other words, you will get a more pronounced effect by combining multiple herbal substances so when making choices about what to include in your new regime don’t worry about mixing herbs any more than you would worry about purchasing ‘mixed herbs’ for home cooking.

Many of these supplements and herbs have benefits beyond brain injury. We have filtered the information to focus on areas specific to the outcomes and symptoms of brain injury – to minimise reading.

Supplements – Neuroprotectors

Black seed oil – essential for everyone to try

Supports secondary outcomes of brain injury: 

  • anti-inflammatory
  • reduces oxidative stress
  • inhibits free radicals
  • promotes the health of the nervous system
  • supports enzyme function
  • decongests lymphatic system – aids detoxification and excretion of free radicals
  • helps neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration

BUY NOW with free worldwide shipping!

Supports secondary outcome symptoms:-

Natural analgesic for pain relief, anxiety, depression, mood swings, headaches, balances hormones, mental fatigue, physical fatigue, lethargy, confusion, brain fog, antispasmodic, epilepsy and supports opiate/addiction withdrawal.

The thing with black seed oil is we can notice the changes very quickly – often within a couple of days. Many herbal and other supplements don’t give us this quick effect and so are harder to start with and stay with. We often wonder if supplements are really doing anything at all because their effects aren’t immediate. They are happening; other supplements just aren’t as volatile or potent as the Blessed Seed Oil.

However, when black seed oil is in turn supplemented by a highly nutritional diet, and your personal choice of the following supplements, you notice the benefits and understand the value of your investment. Don’t forget, cleansing and healing the system is never a ‘quick fix’ – it is a process and way of life that also supports the prevention of associated disease.

Don’t forget! Only current research can be included. Many of these herbs and supplements may help with more brain functionality than is listed. Where studies hone in on looking for specific benefits – it often misses other areas that a supplement can help.

The ‘Blessed Seed Oil’ is the nutrient to get you started because it matches expectations with results that are visible very quickly.

More about Omega 3

Supports secondary outcomes of brain injury: –

Dampens inflammatory reactions, reduces oxidative stress, assists in preventing mitochondrial death, inhibits cell death, helps reconnect damaged neurons, activates genes that help with damage to the brain, turns off genes that promote brain inflammation, reduces neuronal damage, protects long-term memory,

Supplements that support secondary outcomes and symptoms

Remember, all healthful and natural food is medicine. There are many supplements recommended as helping with brain injury symptoms and outcomes and because they are essentially foods, they will work over a period of time rather than immediately as the valuable micronutrients take time to build up in the body.

Trying to sort through the maze of available supplements can be challenging and confusing. Try looking for products that are:

  • Organic
  • Vegan capsules
  • Quality natural ingredients
  • Free of dairy, caffeine, gluten, MSG, GMO, fillers and anything artificial
  • Trusted suppliers – preferably ones who offer a money-back guarantee and have great ethics

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Psychology Today – Nutritional Therapies for Traumatic Brain Injury

Science Direct – Primary and Secondary Brain Injury

NCBI – Blood-brain Barrier Pathophysiology In Traumatic Brain Injury

NINDS – Brain Trauma Research

NCBI – The Role of Nigella Stavia … in Learning and Memory

Springer Link – The effects of Nigella Stavia against oxidative stress…

Science Direct – The Effects of Nigella Stavia on neural damage…

Scientific American – Vitamin D deficiency soars in US

Science Direct – Vitamin D and the central nervous system

NCBI – Vitamin D deficiency and its role in neurological conditions: A review.

NCBI – Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in adults after traumatic brain injury

TBI Therapy – Vitamin Deficiencies in Brain Injuries

Pharmacy Times – 4 Ways Vitamins could help TBI

Science Direct – …new role for vitamin C in the eye and brain

NCBI – Vitamin C function in the brain

Vitality Magazine – Healing Brain Injuries Naturally

Beverly Yates, ND – Holy Basil research overview

Jane Metzger – Herbal Academy New England

Chopra Centre – Ashwagandha

Herb Centre – Herbal Support for Traumatic Brain Injury

Medical News Today – Health Benefits of Gingko Biloba

Science Daily – Concussions & Brain Injury – Can Omega 3 aid brain health recovery?

Science Daily – … omega-3 dampens inflammatory reactions

Omega-3 Innovations – Neuroprotective benefits of Omega 3

Mercola – Fish oil helped save our son

NCBI – Omega-3 could reduce risks of TBI

Turmeric for Health – Why Turmeric Beats many Steroid Medications…

WebMD – Panax Ginseng health benefits

Medical News Today – Health benefits of ginseng

Herbal Wisdom – ginseng benefits

Back to Top