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Integrative Concussion Recovery for Improved Brain and Body Outcomes Dr. Haile Michaelson


Concussions, often termed mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs), can have significant repercussions on various aspects of health and well-being. While traditional management focuses on rest, physical therapies and basic guidelines for symptom alleviation, encompassing physical therapy, NSAIDs, gradual return to work, stimulation reduction, rehab specialists including Physiotherapists, Chriopractros, PTs, OTs, and clinical counsellors for support.  These are each valuable contributors to recovery, however an integrative approach including key botanicals, nutrients & prescriptions, and IV therapy is showing better recovery markers and results.

Contributing core factors include glutathione supplementation, IV vitamin infusions, functional medicine formulations, and targeted support for vision, sleep, adrenal function, hormonal balance, serotonin, and dopamine. 

Let’s explore the integration of these modalities into concussion recovery protocols, supported by relevant research.

Glutathione and IV Vitamin Infusions: Foundational Support

Glutathione supplementation and IV vitamin infusions form the cornerstone of integrative concussion recovery protocols. Glutathione's antioxidant properties mitigate oxidative stress, while IV vitamins provide essential nutrients crucial for brain health and function. Research has demonstrated their efficacy in reducing inflammation, promoting neuroprotection, and facilitating neuronal repair, as outlined in studies by Atif et al. (2018) and Patel et al. (2020).

Mitochondrial Support: Energizing Brain Recovery

Mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in post-concussion symptoms. Coenzyme Q10 and acetyl-L-carnitine offer mitochondrial support, enhancing energy metabolism and cognitive function, as evidenced by studies such as Sullivan et al. (2017). There are combination products designed to support mitochondria that can be chosen based on each patient’s symptoms.

Vision Support: Restoring Visual Function

Concussions often disrupt visual processing and function. Integrative approaches incorporating vision therapy and targeted nutritional support, such as omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, have shown promise in improving visual outcomes post-concussion (Ciuffreda et al., 2018). Dosing omegas for recovery, and additional anti-oxidants are often also tailored to each patient. 

Sleep Optimization: Enhancing Recovery and Restoration

Sleep disturbances are common after concussions and can hinder recovery. Sleep may need support via neurotransmitter supplements, nervous system regulation and hormone support. Melatonin supplementation, along with behavioral strategies for sleep hygiene, can improve sleep quality and promote neurorestoration (Gupta et al., 2021).

Adrenal Support: Addressing Stress Response Dysfunction

Concussions can dysregulate the body's stress response system, leading to adrenal insufficiency. Research has shown that adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola rosea and Glycerrhyza glabra (licorice root), coupled with lifestyle modifications, support adrenal function and resilience (Panossian & Wikman, 2009). There are also glandular based supports which will help mitigate long term chronic adrenal insufficiency by helping build the glandular tissue. 

Hormonal Balance: Regulating Neuroendocrine Function

Concussions often disrupt hormonal balance via acute stress, and lowered production of key hormones. This of will impact mood, cognition, and overall well-being. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), tailored to individual needs, can restore hormonal equilibrium and optimize recovery (Gordon et al., 2017). BHRT requires baseline testing and a prescription, with ongoing monitoring.  Estrogen and progesterone prescriptions are often overlooked but are key support for women recovering who are experience chronic brain fog, low mood and depression as side effects of their brain injury.

Serotonin and Dopamine Support: Balancing Neurotransmitter Function

Concussions can disrupt neurotransmitter production balance, leading to mood disturbances, depression, anxiety and cognitive impairment. Targeted supplementation with serotonin precursors like 5-HTP and dopamine precursors like L-tyrosine can support neurotransmitter synthesis and regulation, promoting mood stability and cognitive function (Young & Leyton, 2002).

Key Nutritional Support and the Ketogenic Diet: Optimizing Brain Fuel During Recovery

Nutrition plays a crucial role in brain health and recovery post-concussion. The ketogenic diet, characterized by low carbohydrate intake and high fat consumption, has shown promise in improving cognitive function and reducing inflammation (Yarar-Fisher et al., 2021). Ketones, the metabolic byproduct of fat breakdown during ketosis, serve as an alternative fuel source for the brain, bypassing glucose metabolism and providing neuroprotective effects.

A study by Gasior et al. (2006) demonstrated that the ketogenic diet reduces neuronal excitability and oxidative stress, enhancing neuronal stability and resilience to injury. Furthermore, ketones possess anti-inflammatory properties, modulating immune responses and mitigating neuroinflammation, which is prevalent in concussive injuries.

Other core nutrients and supports are as follows:

Anti-inflammatory support - high does omegas

Vitamins - B6, B12, MTHF, C, D, E

Blood Flow - Vinpocetin and Ginkgo Biloga

Antioxidants - NAC, and ALA

Brain Energy - Acetyl-l-carnitine, CoQ10

Cell Membrane Support - Phosphatidyl Serine

Comprehensive Recovery: Integrating Modalities for Synergistic Effects

By integrating these modalities into concussion recovery protocols, we can address the multifaceted nature of post-concussive symptoms and optimize outcomes. Synergistic effects arising from the combined approach may expedite recovery, improve functional outcomes, and mitigate long-term sequelae.

Integrative therapies, spanning glutathione supplementation, IV vitamin infusions, functional medicine remedies, vision support, sleep optimization, adrenal support, hormonal balance, serotonin, and dopamine support, offer a holistic framework for optimizing recovery and restoring well-being post-concussion. As research continues to elucidate the intricate mechanisms underlying concussion pathology and recovery, the integration of these modalities into clinical practice holds promise for revolutionizing concussion management and improving patient outcomes.


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