Fish oils are widely recognised as an effective supplement for reducing inflammation, improving cardiovascular health (through improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels), and improving cognitive function.
Current research is also exploring the benefits of fish oil in treating and reducing the severity of symptoms following a mild brain injury, such as a concussion.
Concussion is prevalent in contact sports and sports involving high risk of injury, such as rugby, MMA fighting, motor sports, action sports and even football. Short-term effects include:
- Mild to severe headaches
- Cognitive impairment e.g. poor reaction times
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
Symptoms usually disappear after 7-10 days, however, what can’t be seen is that inflammation and abnormal brain function may persist for up to 4 weeks after the day of injury. For children and adolescents, this may be even longer.
For any athlete, four weeks of reduced training load can have critical effects on sporting performance, especially if an injury occurs during the season. Being impatient and returning to regular training loads too soon can result in the reappearance of symptoms, and can further delay the return to normal brain and physical functioning.
A particular component of fish oil called DHA is involved with brain development, cognitive function and controlling inflammation. Therefore when a concussion occurs, DHA can help to regulate the negative response that occurs in the brain, lessen the severity of symptoms and improve time to return to normal function.
The sooner you can start treating a concussion, the better the chance of improving outcomes and severity of symptoms. For athletes involved in high-risk sports, supplementing with fish oils on a daily basis can also be useful as a preventative measure. This means that if an impact injury does occur, the length of time to return to play could be significantly reduced.
A good quality, high strength fish oil will provide enough DHA to have such positive effects. If you feel that fish oil supplementation would benefit you, our Sports dietitian can assist in prescribing your individual daily dose, and recommended brands.
For more on this articel, or if you’re looking to lift your performance and improve your diet and nutirion plan, please consider Precision Athletica and our expert team.
Feel free to contact us and see if we can help you or offer some advice that might assist in your own journey and enjoyment of your sport.
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