(Editor’s Note: Our BEST friend, Dr. Jannine Krause, penned an article exclusive for BEST on the best supplements to support our brains after a brain injury. Thank you, Dr. Krause, for your words and wisdom. KT)
Best Supplements to Support Your Brain After a Brain Injury
by Dr. Jannine Krause
Chances are you’ve seen a few ads touting the benefits of various supplements for your brain health.
Perhaps you took at look at a few in the supplement aisle at the store, but didn’t buy anything as the amount of options overwhelmed you.
Now you’re wondering – what supplements are the most beneficial to support your brain after a brain injury? And will they help your focus, concentration, memory, headaches and irritability?
Focusing on Quality NOT Quantity is Key
It’s easy to be tempted to take a handful of supplements every day to counter every symptom you have.
Unfortunately, this can be really hard on your kidneys and your wallet!
While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest supplement option on the market, this can be dangerous, as many products have added fillers, dyes and oils that are irritants to your body and brain, creating more inflammation and irritation than good.
The less ingredients the better.
When choosing a supplement, you want to consider what is at the core of your brain injury – inflammation.
An inflamed brain struggles to concentrate, is sensitive to lights and noises, is quick to anger, prone to depression and anxiety, in addition to headaches and migraines.
The best supplements to help with brain inflammation include:
- Fish Oil
- Liposomal Tumeric
- Alpha – GPC – (alpha-glycerophosphocholine)
One of the best supplements for countering brain and nerve inflammation is fish oil.
You want a wild caught cold-water fish oil supplement.
The brands Nordic Naturals and Barlean’s are my favorites due to simplicity of ingredients and low mercury testing.
Research has shown 3 grams of fish oil a day is sufficient to support your brain.
Fish oil can improve concentration, focus, and lower agitation over time.
Fish oil combined with turmeric packs a one-two punch to de-inflame the brain and nerves.
What Type of Tumeric Is Best?
Nerves are surrounded by a fatty “insulation” called the myelin sheath.
To get nutrients to the nerves you need a liposomal delivery method that gets the curcuminoids, the active molecules in turmeric, to your brain.
Liposomal means that a molecule of turmeric (the curcuminoids) has been imbedded into a fatty molecule that is easier to absorb by the body.
Tumeric is key for reducing headaches, migraines, joint and nerve pain.
My two favorite types of liposomal turmeric are Curcum-Evail by Designs for Health and Quicksilver Tumeric.
Perhaps you’ve thought about adding fresh turmeric to your food or smoothies. This would be great for gut inflammation, but not as effective for your brain and nerves, as it’s harder for the curcuminoids to get where they need to be using this method.
What Supplement is Best For Actual Brain Repair?
While fish oil has good fats to help restore brain and nerve function, phospholipid based supplements supercharge the effect of fish oil.
Every cell in your body has an outer layer that has fats called phospholipids in it.
Nerves are no different, nor is your blood brain barrier.
Alpha-GPC is a supplement rich in phospholipid fats and the amino acid choline that when taken with fish oil helps strengthen your blood brain barrier to prevent it from allowing toxins to penetrate the brain.
Having a strong blood brain barrier also means you’ll be able to keep nutrients in the brain, too, meaning your supplements will get to the brain and stay there to boost your brain function.
Does Your Brain Need Anti-Oxidants?
The last supplement that I recommend to help the brain repair after a brain injury is resveratrol.
This is the antioxidant that is linked to the anti-aging and circulation benefits of drinking wine.
Now before you grab a bottle of wine, know that you’d have to drink a lot of bottles of wine to get the same results in a supplement.
So, that being said, grapes are high in resveratrol and eating plenty of fruits and veggies will get you more anti-oxidants to help you repair your brain.
Resveratrol by Thorne is my favorite resveratrol supplement.
Sometimes. it’s just plain hard to get those veggies in and in that case this supplement could be a game changer for your brain health.
Putting It All Together…
Now you might be thinking – 4 supplements – Uh! I can’t imagine taking all of those.
You’re in luck!
There is one supplement that has all 4 of these in it.
It’s called Cover 3 and it’s in an easy to take liquid pouch versus having to swallow pills. Check it out at Cover 3.
Supplements Can Be Tried Individually Too!
Now if you are the type of person that wants to try things out individually, start by going down the list as outlined above.
Try a bottle of each and take notes as to how you feel.
Then try combining certain ones to see if there’s a combination that you respond better to than others.
Be Patient with Brain Supplements….
Keep an open mind as these may take a few weeks to elicit their full effects.
Natural medicine isn’t always the quickest medicine.
Prior to trying any of these make sure to check with your doctor for any interactions of these supplements with other medications you may be taking.
Supplements are Not a Substitute For Eating Healthy
Eating fattier fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel and more can provide added brain boosting.
Research has found a 3-4 oz serving of fish three times a week can help support your brain.
Choline is part of the Alpha-GPC supplement and eggs are rich in choline but a great source of good fat and protein for your brain.
Dr. Krause is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, an acupuncturist and podcast host dedicated to empowering people to take charge of their own health. Her unique approach is simplifying natural medicine and healthy habit formation. She believes that health starts with what we eat, how we move and how well we manage stress. She wants to help prevent little health issues from becoming big ones down the road. She’s committed to slowing down the aging process and wants to help others with this too. There’s a lot of health information available out there, and she’s here to help people focus on what’s important and sustainable for them. Learn more here.