Hi and welcome to Stay Mobile KC, your source for inspiration on getting and staying active in Kansas City. I’m Dr. Steph and I’m the chiropractor who makes house calls. Not only do I make house calls, so I come to you where you are. But every time I treat a patient, I treat them from head to toe. And the benefit of that is that people will come to me for one problem, and what they’ll find after I treat them is not only is that one problem better, but lots of other things that they’ve been putting up with or things that they’ve just been accepting for years, are better as well.
Today I’m bringing you 10 tips to help you become concussion proof. Well, I can’t promise that, but these tips will help you improve your chances of avoiding concussion of preventing concussion and also after concussion can help you heal faster. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I play roller derby and I’ve played roller derby for years, with the Kansas City Roller Warriors. And one thing that we deal with a lot in roller derby is concussions. But concussions don’t only happen when you’re playing a high impact sport they can happen in everyday life. They can happen in car accidents. They can happen – this is coming up for us in the Midwest, it can happen with slips on ice, you can fall and get a concussion. So concussions can affect anyone.
We like to think of the body as a bunch of separate organs and tissues, because that’s how we study them in school. And that makes it easier to think about, but in reality, our body functions as one complete organism. And we can’t forget that when we’re thinking about our health. So there is no one organ that operates alone. Each organ affects the body as a whole.
Studies show that injury to the brain have very quick effects on our gut. Within six hours, an injury to the brain will affect the intestines. And then from there, the effects go throughout your body. So when you have an injury to your brain, it’s not just an injury to your brain, it’s an injury to your entire body and with the increase of degenerative brain diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s in our country, this information is important for everyone, whether you play a contact sport or not.
So I’m going to give you 10 tips today to help you prevent and heal from a concussion. But keep in mind, that if you’re dealing with a concussion specialist, or if you have a concussion, always follow the instructions from your concussion specialist. Tip number 1 is to stay hydrated, hydrated brains are resistant to injury, and how you’ll know if you’re well hydrated or not is to look at your urine. When you first wake up in the morning, it’s going to be a darker yellow color, but as you go throughout the day, it should be a light yellow. Clear is over hydrated and this is not something you want to overdo. Fortunately, we have this great clue we can just watch and monitor ourselves. So your urine should be a light yellow.
Tip number 2 is electrolytes are extremely important in nervous system function. And I hate to break it to you, but Gatorade is not a good source of electrolytes. If you want to use a drink, then get some mineral drops and a trace mineral drop supplement to put in your your water. Or better yet, just eat a healthy diet. Good quality proteins and lots of veggies will give your body plenty of electrolytes.
Tip number 3 is vitamin D. We call it a vitamin but it’s actually a hormone and most of us are deficient in this. An adequate level of Vitamin D has been shown to have a decreased incidence of injury with impact to the head and increased healing afterwards if injury does occur.
Tip number 4 is walking and now this is one where it’s important to follow your concussion specialist’s directions. So if your specialist has told you to not exercise, then follow their instructions. Absolutely. But walking and a great diet have been shown to increase healing after concussion.
Tip number 5 is actually two supplements. The first one is fish oil, so you’ll want to take a good quality fish oil. Never scrimp on the quality of fats that you’re feeding your brain. Animals that have been concussed have been shown to have (with the supplementation of fish oil) a 98% increased healing, over animals that were not supplemented fish oil. So you’ll want a fish oil that’s high in DHA.
The second supplement is Gamma Linolenic Acid or GLA. Our brains actually make this, but as we age, less is made. In cases of injury or inflammation, which is what we’re talking about today, less is made. And in cases of poor nutrition, those pathways can be shut down. So good sources of GLA are evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil.
Tip number 6 is you’re going to need a little bit more protein than usual. Proteins are the “doers” in our body, so you don’t want to short yourself on protein while you’re healing.
Tip number 7 is BDNF. That’s Brain Derived Neurotrophic (just means, it makes nerves grow) Factor. That is a protein that our brains make and it acts like Miracle Gro for the brain. So if you’re involved in a contact sport, you’re concerned about concussion, you’re concerned about brain injury, you’ve had a brain injury or you’re concerned about diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which are on the rise in America. Then you’ll you’ll want to maximize your own production of BDNF. Now, the lifestyle factors that we are aware of currently, that can increase our own production of being BDNF are:
• Do not overeat.
• Eat adequate protein.
• Eat tons and tons of veggies, as many servings of veggies as you can get in a day.
Tip number 8 is, and I know everybody hates to hear this one. I have to break- I’m not going to break it to you gently. I’m just gonna say it right out there: A great diet. And it’s so simple. It means great quality protein, lots of vegetables, as many servings of vegetables as you can get, a few servings of fruit a day if you like and good fats, good quality fats. Never scrimp on the quality of your fats. Our brain is made up mostly of fat. The food that you take in is what becomes you, so great quality is worth the investment. In my opinion, this is the best health insurance there is.
Okay, and tip number 9 of course, is chiropractic adjustments because lining up your structure can remove tension from the nervous system, allowing your body to heal.
Tip number 10, because I always love a good bonus, is sleep. Sleep is incredibly important. So if you’re healing, don’t scrimp on sleep, especially while you’re healing the brain because that’s when your brain heals itself. If your brain is a kitchen, sleep is when you clean your kitchen. If you’re not sleeping, your brain is like a dirty kitchen!
That’s it. That’s your 10 tips for making your brain concussion resistant and protecting your brain not only now and from injury, but from aging and for the rest of your life.
I’m Dr. Steph and I look forward to seeing you again next time.