Brain injuries can lead to cognitive problems down the road, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine report that dietary intervention could protect against the damage. Former NFL football players who demonstrated brain damage and cognitive impairment were given daily supplements of fish oil capsules (5.6 grams), a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral, ginkgo, vinpocetine, acetyl-L-carnitine, hyperzine A, and antioxidants, such as alpha lipoic acid and n-acetyl cysteine. Those who needed to lose weight were put on diets. At the end of six months, cognitive function tests found increases in scores on attention, memory, reasoning, information processing speed, and accuracy. Brain scans showed increased brain perfusion. The researchers conclude that cognitive and cerebral blood flow can be improved in people with head traumas with the right supplementation and diet.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky speculate that potent antioxidants – such as vitamin E, ferulic acid, various polyphenols, including quercetin and resveratrol, alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and alpha-glutamylcysteine ethyl ester (GCEE) – reduce oxidative damage and are beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sources: Amen D, Wu J, Taylor D, et al: Reversing brain damage in former NFL players. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2011;43:1-5.
Pocernich C, Bader Lange M, Sultana R, et al: Nutritional approaches to modulate oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s disease. Current Alzheimer Research 2011;May 23rd.