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Concussions – A holistic approach

Concussions are one of those injuries that can affect us for a day or months on end. Some people can really hit their head hard and are not be affected, while others bang their head on a door frame and can be significantly affected for months. Be it common North Shore activities like mountain biking or skiing, to common sports like rugby, football, hockey or soccer – all have increased the potential for head trauma and concussions. The goal of this blog post is to layout a template to consider for working through a concussion or head injury and how we at Restoration Health can assist you on that journey.

  • Assessment – you need someone qualified to assess you and give you a baseline of where you are at so you can effectively track your progress. Everything from MRI or CT scans, to neurological exams and blood tests for key inflammatory markers and nutrients, are beneficial.
  • Nature – you need to establish or re-establish a relationship to nature! Lots of research coming out about the benefits of being out in nature and the calming and anti-inflammatory effects it has on our bodies. This means breathing fresh air every day with a walk in the woods or oceanside if you can. Natural light will help to reset your circadian rhythm (wake/sleep cycle) and will also give you a natural dose of vitamin D which is crucial to your healing. More on that later.
  • Diet – this may need to change, especially if your diet is not very clean. Research shows that ketogenic (more good fats), or Mediterranean diet significantly help neurological function, especially after brain trauma. As well, hydration is important and many of us in this West Coast coffee culture are always in need of more water. Processed foods and excess sugar are neuroinflammatory as well as the consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances.
  • Screens – Screens are the devil when it comes to healing brains. Research shows that the light emitted from screens keeps our brain wave pattern in beta (read busy) and it is difficult for our brains to relax, sleep and heal. Sleep is one of the most important processes for healing your brain at this stage! Screen energy also depletes our cellular mitochondrial function (read cell batteries) and these little critters need key support to heal our brains and provide energy to function throughout our day.
  • Supplementation – There are several key nutrients to consider when healing your brain from injury. Sitting down with one of our NDs to craft a plan that’s right for you would be valuable. That being said, some main considerations are;
    • Glutathione – anti-inflammatory, aids in detox, immune booster, fuel for astrocytes (brain cells). Best in IV or nebulized (inhaled) form – done here at RHC.
    • Vitamin B12 – best in the methyl form. Protective effects against neurotoxins created from brain trauma, neurodegenerative, neuro detox via methylation (garbage removal from the brain). Best given as an injection – done here at RHC.
    • Vitamin D – neuroprotectant and anti-inflammatory. Many of us are vitamin D deficient and a lab assessment at the beginning of your treatment will help to guide dosing for your brain healing protocol. Also, very important for mood as it is a necessary co-factor for serotonin (our feel-good brain chemical).
    • Curcumin – that ancient Ayurvedic Indian spice that gives curries their amazing colour. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and promotes optimal growth and plasticity (brain regeneration).
    • Omega 3s – derived from fish or algae, these amazing fats are neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and boost a brain chemical called BDNF which is necessary for brain healing and function. A recent study of 485 adults over a 24-week period of with mild memory complaints, showed a twofold decrease in the number of visuospatial learning and episodic memory issues in the DHA group (the active part of omega 3) vs. controls receiving a placebo.

Putting it all together

We at RHC are here for you as you work through your concussion and get back to your normal self. Be it visits with our NDs for some neuro assessment, lab testing, glutathione and/or B12 injections, acupuncture for pain management or dietary assistance for ketogenic or other diets to support your brain with one of our dieticians – we have many tools here to help you regain your health and wellness. Remember – time is of the essence when it comes to concussions but given that our brains do have the capacity to regenerate (relatively recent finding), it is also never too late to look at regaining your brain health.

Yours in health
Dr. Cameron McIntyre, ND

Reference – “The Concussion Repair Manual” by Dr. Dan Engle, MD

All content found on this website was created for informational and general educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your primary care provider or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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