So now that we have gone over a few of the definitions of what CTE and TBI really are in the last post. What if you have a head injury and what are some things can you do about it.

The first thing you should consider is modifying your diet. And as you might think, not only a low glycemic index diet, but also a low inflammation diet, and a low grain diet, low carb diet are all important components. A low inflammatory diet influences brain healing tremendously. Think of a diet low in sugars, soy, wheat, dairy, certain meats, all those things that we associate with inflammation. But I would also switch to a more plant-rich, higher fat, ketogenic-based diet. MCT oil and ketogenic diets are often recommended for Alzheimer’s and brain injuries and also for cognitive performance but they must be accompanied by high intake of plants and fiber.

Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic diet is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for epilepsy. Recent studies show that ketogenic diets are helpful for other neurological disorders including Parkinson’s and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and traumatic brain injury. Ketogenic diets have been shown in animal studies and in anecdotal reports to thwart the growth of certain types of brain tumors and other aggressive cancers. New applications of the ketogenic diet for cancer, autism, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, type-2 diabetes, and traumatic brain injury are emerging. Scientific data regarding these new uses of diet therapy is accumulating rapidly.

The Wahl’s Protocol is the best example of a diet like that decreases inflammation using a ketogenic diet that is high in plants and fiber. Dr. Terry Wahl, is a university based internal medicine doctor, she herself developed Multiple Sclerosis and treated herself with a very plant-rich based ketogenic diet that is rich in fat, low in sugar, low in inflammatory compounds, high in anti-inflammatory compounds, but also very plant and fiber rich. She wrote a book about her experience and how to follow this diet, and it is titled The Wahl’s Protocol.

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Coconut or MCT or medium chain triglyceride oil. I would actually go straight for the specific form of coconut oil or extract of coconut that is highest in ketogenic medium-chain triglycerides, C8. C8 stands for the number of carbons that exist on a medium chain triglyceride molecule. There are different types of MCT found in coconut oil but one is called C8.  C8 is very easily absorbed by the body, and easily used by the brain. An example of a product that contains a high amount of C8 is Dave Aspery’s Upgraded MCT oil called Brain Octane Oil. It’s not cheap but it would be the most potent of the oils to use. Other brands of MCT oil are also just fine such as Protocol Nutrition and NOW MCT oils – these brands contain 65% C8 (caprylic) concentration. With other brands of MCT oil and you will still get the benefit, but theoretically the best option is C8 MCT oil.

If your home was in a place that had coconut trees, you could just eat the coconuts. You’ll get the fiber, the fatty acids, and the oils that come in coconuts. But you’ll get less of that C8 than might be optimal. So it still may be best to supplement with MCT oil along with coconuts.

Curcumin. Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the curry spice, Turmeric. It exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects seem to be quite protective against some form of brain diseases. Curcumin, in the laboratory appears to be remarkably neuroprotective against excitatory or glutamate induced cell death, which is either due to a modification of the NMDA receptors or due to preserving BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) concentrations. In real life curcumin is said to be one reason why the Alzheimer’s and cancer rates are so low in countries like India.

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Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and about 1-2 grams of curcumin per day from a very absorbable curcumin would be advised. Curcumin has been studied and shown effective for a variety of health concerns. It stops pain and inflammation, inhibits tumors and fights cancer, prevents fat growth and regulates blood sugar, stops depression and slows the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin works on multiple pathways in the body, simultaneously, which accounts for its ability to slow, stop, or prevent many different disease conditions.

Curcumin is not the same as turmeric. Curcumin is the concentrated extract from the root of turmeric, thus much more potent neuro anti-inflammatory agent versus just turmeric. Getting curcumin into your body is about enhanced absorption. The curcumin phytosome form is a very absorbable form of curcumin. A lot of curcumin is notoriously unabsorbed unless it in the phytosomal form. In India, they achieve this by cooking with curcumin and a lot of oil. In supplements, they attach the curcumin to a phospholipid, which greatly enhances its absorption into the blood stream.

Curcumin has additional anti-cancer effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment. Other areas of interest as it pertains to curcumin are alleviating cognitive decline associated with aging. A prominent John’s Hopkins research physician once stated, “you cannot take enough curcumin.”

A short summary. From a dietary standpoint, we have a plant-based ketogenic diet, the use of a caprilyic or C8 form of an MCT oil, and curcumin as a neuro anti-inflammatory.

Stay tuned for the next post!

Doc Edwards

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Doc Edwards has extensive experience in dealing with concussions, especially when they arise from a sports injury. As there are limited resources for most people affected by a concussion, my goal is to provide guidance in how to deal with concussions from several different standpoints including nutritional optimization, exercises to improve cognitive function, testing options, and return to play discussions.

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