When I was in secondary school, like any young man, my friends and I were into our sports... And boy, did we end up with some injuries! Bumps, bruises...even a couple of broken bones.
If you're the parent or grandparent of a rugby player, I'm sure you do more than your fair share of worrying over your son or grandson's wellbeing on the field. After all, the way those boys knock each other around... sometimes it's a wonder they walk away from practice in one piece. And then there's the worry over head injuries...
The worry isn't unfounded, that's for sure. Athletes who play contact sports (like rugby) are at high risk of traumatic brain injury. So are military personnel — so this letter applies to you if there's a soldier in your life, too.
But how, do you protect your athlete's precious brain?
The answer could lie in something as simple as the omega-3 fatty acid supplements you're probably already taking yourself.
Preliminary research appearing in the February issue of the journal Neurosurgery shows that preventive treatment with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexanoic acid (DHA) may protect against traumatic brain injury.
Researchers gave rats varying doses equivalent to those used in humans taking DHA supplements. After one month, they examined tissue damage and found that the rats given the highest dose (40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight) showed a significant reduction in damage to brain tissue. They also showed less evidence of brain cell death and did better on a test of spatial memory.
On a cellular level, researchers found a significant reduction in expression of a protein that's been connected with Alzheimer's disease.
DHA is one of the main fatty acids found in the brain, where it plays a neuro-protective role. This study supports other recent evidence showing that DHA could be the first treatment, natural or synthetic, to reduce brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury, including those concussions rugby players are at high risk of sustaining.
Researchers want to keep looking into the matter, of course, but they're optimistic that "preloading" DHA may protect against the acute effects of traumatic brain injury.
And since omega-3 supplementation is so good for you in so many other ways, why wait for more research?
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A balanced mind
Q: My daughter was just put on medication for bipolar disorder. In some ways, it's definitely helped — but she's also suffering some pretty bad side effects. Are there any natural treatments for this condition?
Dr. Jonathan V. Wright: For those readers who may not be familiar with it, bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings — from elation to severe depression to violent anger.
Mainstream treatment of bipolar disorder usually involves the use of anticonvulsive drugs, which have many side effects including nausea, distorted perception, and suppression of the immune system.
But there is a natural alternative that may help — one you've likely seen mentioned many times before in the e-Tips and in Nutrition & Healing: fish oil. In addition to its numerous other benefits, fish oil can also help ease bipolar disorder. In fact, the effects of fish oil for bipolar disorder have been tested in a double-blind, placebo- controlled study. The study showed that those patients taking fish oil experienced longer periods between symptoms than those taking a placebo. In addition to these promising results, the study also showed that fish oil is very safe — causing only the occasional stomach irritation.
Also, always remember to take vitamin E (preferably in the form of "mixed tocopherols") whenever you take supplemental oils of any sort. Vitamin E prevents the oil from oxidizing, or becoming rancid, too quickly. It also helps your body metabolize the oil effectively.
Be sure to work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment programme that's right for you. Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own doctor before acting on any recommendations contained herein. Wishing you the best of health,
Andrew Miller UK Editor Nutrition and Healing
P.S. In the latest issue of Nutrition & Healing, Dr Jonathan V. Wright reveals how patent medicine can raise your risk of prostate cancer... and the test that could very well save your life. Also, learn how the new daily recommendation for vitamin D is off by THOUSANDS and how much you really should take... plus much, much more...
All new members who sign up will receive important updates like these in addition to receiving Dr. Wright's 7 Volume Library of Natural Healing.
"Could Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help to Prevent Brain Injury in Rugby Players or Soldiers?" Newswise (newswise.com)
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