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7 Recovery-Boosting Vitamins for Brain Injury Recovery

healthy vitamins for brain injury recovery

Can taking extra vitamins for brain injury boost your recovery?

The short answer to this question is yes! Vitamin supplements can help heal the brain after an injury.

Of course, that naturally raises the question: which vitamins should you take?

That’s why today we are covering seven of the best vitamins for brain injury recovery.

But first, we need to talk about how you should use vitamins during recovery.

How to Use Vitamins for Brain Injury

There is an abundance of evidence that nutrition plays a huge role in TBI recovery, and that a good brain injury diet promotes healthy brain function.

But sometimes it is not possible to get enough of the food that fuels your brain, especially after a brain injury, which often causes a decrease in appetite.

That’s where vitamins come in. They can help your brain get the tools it needs to heal and function at its best when you feel like you can’t eat the right amount on your own.

However, they won’t accomplish this goal if the rest of the food you eat isn’t healthy.

If you are regularly consuming junk food, no amount of vitamins or supplements can reverse the damage that will do to your body.

Therefore, you should use vitamins as a supplement to a healthy diet, not a replacement for one.

Bonus: Download our free TBI Rehab Exercises ebook. (Link will open a pop-up that will not interrupt your reading.)

Best Vitamins for Brain Injury

Now that we got that warning out of the way, we’re ready to look at which vitamins you should take to promote your recovery.

The following are a few of the best vitamins for brain injury.

1. Omega-3s

Omega 3 is one of the most important vitamins for brain injury

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for improving overall brain health. They improve cognition and memory and can even boost the production of BDNF, which helps your brain grow new nerve cells.

Omega-3 is most commonly found in fatty fish, but there are also over-the-counter supplements available.

For the most benefits however, you should try to only consume natural fish oil supplements.

These are the closest alternative to real fish and have the highest concentration of omega-3. Plus, natural fish oil has lots of other fatty acids that help your brain absorb omega-3 efficiently.

2. Vitamin B12

All B vitamins are good for your brain, but B12 is the most important.

Your body uses B12 for the production of myelin sheaths, an insulating layer of protein and fat that forms around your nerves and allows electrical impulses to travel quickly and efficiently. This means that B12 can improve neural function.

It also helps your brain cells produce energy, which is crucial for the brain’s healing process.

When you are choosing a B12 supplement, look for methyl B12. This type of B-12 is more stable and easier for your body to use than other types of B-12.

3. MCT Oil

MCT oil can be a great alternative energy source for brain injury patients

MCT, which stands for medium-chain triglycerides, is a type of fat that is rapidly broken down and converted into ketones.

Ketones, unlike regular fats, can cross the blood-brain barrier, making them a great alternative energy source for the brain. (ordinarily, the brain uses glucose for energy)

Since after a brain injury the brain requires extra energy to function, this makes MCT another good supplement to help with your TBI recovery.

You can get MCT through certain foods such as coconut oil and dairy products, or you can use MCT oil.

MCT oil is a highly concentrated source of MCT and is more easily absorbed than coconut oil.

Some evidence suggests that MCT oil may also have neuroprotective properties and help improve cognition and memory, making it even more appropriate for brain injury patients.

4. Antioxidants (Vitamins C, E, and Beta Carotene)

Vitamin C helps fight off free radicals after brain injury

After a brain injury, your brain will obviously have a lot of inflammation of its tissues and cells.

The best way to counter this effect is to increase your consumption of antioxidants.

The antioxidants found in vitamins C, E, and beta carotene help eradicate free radicals (unstable molecules that damage your brain cells) and reduce inflammation in your brain.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D for brain injury can improve your memory

Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin that helps strengthen your bone cells, improve your immune system, and manage fatigue.

It also plays a huge role in brain function.

The hippocampus (the area of your brain that controls memory) is densely packed with vitamin D receptors, which suggests that vitamin D is important for memory retention.

In addition, vitamin D stimulates the production of neurotransmitters which improves communications between neurons and can help reduce post-concussive depression.

Vitamin D is normally produced by sunlight, but unfortunately getting enough sun is not always easy, especially when you are recovering from TBI.

All of this makes vitamin D supplements an important vitamin for brain injury patients.

6. Probiotics

probiotic vitamins for brain injury will boost your recovery

Most people associate probiotics with digestive health, but did you know they can also help your brain?

The brain and gut are linked through biochemical signaling between the enteric nervous system, the nervous system that is located in the digestive tract, and the central nervous system. The main connection between the brain and stomach is the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in the body.

This explains why some people get nauseous when stressed.

The gut also produces many of the same neurotransmitters that the brain does, such as serotonin.

Since the brain and stomach link so closely together, it makes sense that the good bacteria that help your gut may also benefit brain function and neurotransmitter production. This is exactly what several new studies demonstrate.

The research on probiotics and brain health is still ongoing, but it may be worth adding some probiotic supplements to your diet. At the very least, it will help keep your stomach healthy.

7. Acetyl L-Carnitine

Finally, one of the best supplements for brain injury patients is probably acetyl l-carnitine.

Acetyl l-carnitine is an amino acid naturally produced by your body and a powerful antioxidant.

But what makes acetyl l-carnitine so great for brain injury is that it plays a critical role in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine is crucial for supporting healthy memory, computation, perception and several other cognitive functions.

All of this makes acetyl l-carnitine a must-have supplement for brain injury.

Supplements for Brain Injury

Before wrapping this article up, we just want to reiterate what we said at the beginning:

Make sure to use vitamins only as a supplement for your diet, not a replacement. You should still focus on eating the natural sources of these vitamins as much as possible. Finally, consult your physician before taking these vitamins to ensure that they do not interact with any of your medications.

By following a healthy diet and taking these vitamins, you will lay a solid foundation for both your brain and body to heal and give yourself the tools you need to make a great recovery.

Featured image: ©iStock.com/Stas_V

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Get Inspired with This TBI Recovery Story

Independance, motivation and hope!

“My son Sharat suffered a severe traumatic brain injury 23 years ago leaving him with Aphasia and right sided weakness from his vision,hearing to his limbs. The lockdown in June was a great challenge for him as his caregivers stopped coming, no gym workouts and no outings for a coffee.

Being his mother and primary carer I feared that this was a hotbed for depression. I scoured the net and chanced upon FlintRehab. As there was a trial period it was safe for us to risk getting it across to Auckland.

His OT checked it out and felt that it was ideal. I can honestly second this.

He enjoys working on it and now after three months can do it on his own. His left hand helps his right hand. The FitMi video explains and shows him what to do, it gives him marks and applauds him too!!

He has to use both sides of his brain. The caregivers are OT students who returned enjoy working on it with him.

In three months there motivation built up in him with a drive to use his right hand. There is definitely a slight improvement in his right hand.

This encourages him as well as the caregivers to try harder.His overall mood is upbeat. He enjoys it, so much so, that it doesn’t matter if his caregiver is away.

FitMi is a blessing.”

Sharat’s review of FitMi home therapy, 10/10/2020

5 stars

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