News stories about concussions in professional athletes have brought this brain injury to the top of our minds. This weekend my son’s hockey team had 3 boys suffer concussions as a result of rough play. The studies state that the incidence is 23 concussions per 1000 player’s hours. The numbers of concussions doubled between 1997 and 2007 according to a study published in Pediatrics. And more…”CDC reports show that the amount of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old has doubled, and concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade.”
The role of nutrition is important as our children strive to be strong and effective hockey players, having the stamina and drive to play the game. Having a strong nutritional foundation through a healthy diet, regular exercise and a smart supplement program will keep the players healthy through the season and beyond. Following an injury such as a concussion, though, there are some key nutrients that play a role in the healing process.
Protein is important to the body during the healing phase. Adding a protein shake each day is an easy and convenient way to add additional protein. Choose a non-GMO soy based natural shake, containing no artificial colors or sweeteners. Those with a concussion may not feel like eating so this is a way to get a nutrient rich meal in them during this time. When prepared as directed the protein shake is packed full with 23 grams of lean plant based protein, essential amino acids, fiber, a pre and probiotic combination and vitamins and minerals adequate enough to be used as a meal replacement.
Antioxidants are key as well. Blueberries, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli and other fresh green vegetables are great sources. Blueberries contain flavonoid antioxidants that help to strengthen blood vessel walls, including the brain. Adding some frozen berries to the protein shake is a great way to incorporate these. Adding Vitamin C, up to 3000mg per day will help to reduce the oxidative stress in the brain associated with this trauma. Other key vitamins such as A, K , B complex including folic acid and b6, calcium, zinc and copper are helpful. You can get many of these in a good quality multi-vitamin, multi-mineral complex such as the Shaklee Vita lea Complex.
Shaklee also has a unique product called Vivix that is an all-natural blend of polyphenols from the muscadine grape. It contains key ingredients designed to help protect and repair DNA to allow aging at the cellular level, combat inflammation, help repair and protect DNA .The clinicals done with Vivix has shown that it blunts the inflammatory response and helps the body combat oxiative stress. It comes in a liquid or gel capsule and can be a game changer.
Omega 3 or fish oil is of utmost importance following the concussion. As a result of the injury there is swelling and the omega 3 fatty acid combats the swelling. Taking a high-potency fish oil that contains large amounts of omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is important. Make sure to find one that is at least double distilled for purity if not triple distilled to insure all harmful heavy metals have been taken out. Taking Omega 3s will help decrease the brain inflammation and with it the fogginess, memory loss and headaches that often come after a concussion. Shaklee Omega guard is more than pharmaceutical grade fish oil and provides a full spectrum of 7 ultra pure omega 3 fatty acids natural found in small, cold-water fish and delivers more EPA and DHA than other leading brands.
An alternative treatment that was recommended that my son’s get after a concussion is called Cranial Sacral Therapy. Thankfully I have found a great practitioner locally who I can take my sons to. A cranial sacral therapist is trained to feel the flow and blockages of cerebral spinal fluid with a gentle hands on therapy. I did not really understand it at first but I saw the impact that it had on my kids. The therapy is designed to help reduce inflammation which as stated above it a key issues when someone suffers a concussion. You can read more about it on her website here…… One Mind and Body Cranial Sacral therapy.
Of course rest, proper hydration and care by a licensed physician is imperative during this time. By just adding a few key ingredients to your child’s diet as stated above can help to reduce the time off the ice and increase their chances for a successful healing.
For recommendations about natural solutions to your health issues or sport nutrition,
visit Moyra Gorski, R.N. and hockey mom of 3 boys at www.GorskiWellness.com , read her blog or contact her at 708-977-7326