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How can Naturopathic Medicine support concussions?
A concussion is a potentially debilitating condition that can be caused buy a variety of
injuries. While many are mild, some can have lasting effects. Many patients can heal
from a concussion with appropriate rest, but some need more support to fully heal.
Common symptoms following a concussion include:
- Brain fog
- Mood changes
- Sleep disruption
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to smell and light
How can Naturopathic Medicine provide support?
1. Providing conditions for healing
- Acupuncture may support nerve growth and repair, increase circulation,
oxygenation of tissues, decrease inflammation, and improve cell signaling. It may
also improve sleep quality and decrease anxiety.
- Research has suggested to EAT MORE oily fish, turmeric, coconut oil, turmeric,
and eggs may support recovery from a concussion.
- Sugar and monosodium glutamate may worsen post-concussive symptoms so
Nutraceuticals that may support neurological healing
DHA promotes neurological repair and proper signaling between cells and
between cells and their environment. Meanwhile, EPA supports mood regulation
and decreases inflammation in the brain, allowing for healing.
Higher levels of this nutrient correlate to higher levels of many neurotransmitters. It supports messaging to the neuron, which promotes growth and regeneration of brain cells. This also supports our ability to handle stress, partially by decreasing cortisol production.
- Vitamin B12:
This vitamin is important for the remyelination of neural axons, which supports communication between brain cells. This nutrient may also help decrease glutamate toxicity. Glutamate can leak out of cells following injury, causing symptoms such as headaches.
2. Hormonal dysregulation
About half of people who experience a major head injury will experience a hormonal
imbalance. Why? The pituitary gland in the brain regulates most of the main hormones.
It’s anatomy leaves it vulnerable to damage during trauma.
What can be done?
Naturopathic doctors have access to a wide variety of hormonal testing to fit the
patient’s needs. This could include testing specific markers in the blood, comprehensive
urine or saliva panels.
Depending on the imbalance which needs correction, herbal support is effective for
Hormones such as progesterone may be prescribed as needed. Progesterone acts as a
neurosteroid. It calms the nervous system, which can support sleep. It can also
decrease inflammation allowing the brain to heal.
3. Providing symptomatic relief
Receiving nutrients intravenously allows for 100% absorption and higher doses to be
delivered directly to the tissues. This has the potential to speed up recovery time.
After the neurons are injured, reactive oxygen species (ROS) build up in the tissues. The prolonged presence of ROS slows recovery. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that supports the removal of ROS. It is also a key planner in the immune system of the brain. Most supplemental forms are destroyed bystomach acid, so this nutrient is frequently recommended as an IV.
If you think that we have suffered a concussion, Naturopathic Physicians cannot diagnose a concussion through brain imaging. Please contact your family physician or go to your nearest hospital. If you are recovering from a diagnosed or suspected concussion, our Naturopathic Physicians are happy to provide support through consultation and recommendation of a treatment plan. For more information, contact us at 604-929-5772.
CERNAK I, SAVIC V, KOTUR J, PROKIC V, VELJOVIC M, GRBOVIC D.
Characterization of Plasma Magnesium Concentration and Oxidative Stress Following
Graded Traumatic Brain Injury in Humans. J Neurotrauma. 2000;17(1):53-68.
Engle D. The Concussion Repair Manual. Las Vegas, Nevada: Lifestyle Entrepreneurs
Fromm L, Heath D, Vink R, Nimmo A. Magnesium Attenuates Post-Traumatic
Depression/Anxiety Following Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats. J Am Coll Nutr.
Packard R, Ham L. Pathogenesis of Posttraumatic Headache and Migraine: A Common
Headache Pathway?. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 1997;37(3):142-
Post-concussion syndrome – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic.
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Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Monteferrario F, Antoniello N, Manni R, Klersy C. The Effect of
Melatonin, Magnesium, and Zinc on Primary Insomnia in Long-Term Care Facility
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Yilmaz C, Karali K, Fodelianaki G et al. Neurosteroids as regulators of
neuroinflammation. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2019:100788.
What are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are just one of many symptoms that can occur in perimenopause or menopause. There is an intricate pathway of hormones that come into play with regards to balancing hormones. Once key thing to remember is the role that the adrenal glands play in keeping our hormones balanced and supporting us in being symptoms free.
When we enter into our mid 40’s (or earlier for some women with premature ovarian failure), our adrenal glands begin to take a front seat to our hormone health. The adrenal glands are our “fight or flight” hormone producing glands. They produce the hormones that respond to panic, or keep up awake for long hours for those working in emergency setting. The adrenal glands also regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and produce sex hormones. So if you are in a continuous state of stress, we can notice symptoms in all of these areas. High blood pressure or low blood pressure. Shakiness when we don’t eat regularly. Increased feelings of stress and overwhelm. And all of the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Hot flashes, insomnia, low sex drive and weight gain, just to name a few.
What can you do?
If you feel that stress is a culprit for your hot flashes, consider the following actions:
- Try and stick to a regular schedule for meals, exercise and sleep. Bedtime by 10pm is ideal. Keep your workout light. Exercise exhaustion puts further stress on the adrenal if you are not conditioned properly.
- Eat protein with each meal. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you from feeling shaky, and reaching for foods that are less than healthy.
- Try a B complex. Most people tolerate a B complex very well. Please take with food as it will cause nausea without food. It will also turn the urine bright yellow. This is completely normal.
- Pick 30 min a day to deal with the most stressful things on your list or in the news. 60 minutes might be more realistic for some, but let yourself really feel what you are feeling every day. I recommend the same for people who are grieving a loss. These feelings are much the same right now for most of us.
- Limit caffeine intake. If you have caffeine, have it with food and choose organic. Coffee and tea are very heavily sprayed and can be considered endocrine disruptors.
- Seed rotation. This is pretty old school Naturopathic Medicine, but it works! From the new moon to the full moon, incorporate ground flax and pumpkin seeds in your diet. From the full moon to the new moon, do the same with sunflower and sesame seeds. Nut butters work too. These combinations boost estrogen and progesterone, respectively.
Cathryn Coe, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and owner of Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic.