Former NFL Quarterback Shares How He Protects His Brain Health

Every 12 months, 1.6 million to a few.8 million instances of delicate stressful mind damage (MTBI) associated with sports activities are estimated to happen in america1 Concussions are one instance of an MTBI. They happen when a bump, blow or jolt to the pinnacle or frame reasons the pinnacle and mind to transport from side to side unexpectedly. The jarring motion can stretch and harm mind cells whilst additionally resulting in chemical adjustments within the mind.2

The National Football League is well-acquainted with concussions, as it is estimated that 0.41 of them happen all over each NFL recreation.3 For the ones now not all for aggressive sports activities, concussions might happen because of falls,4 automobile injuries or different accidents.

As the hazards of concussions, particularly repeated ones, have change into well known, analysis into their reasons and results has larger, with one find out about appearing that almost all concussions and repetitive head have an effect on exposures amongst school soccer avid gamers happen now not all over video games however all over preseason coaching and soccer practices.5

This has triggered requires prevention methods and training, as concussions have severe implications for long-term neurological well being. Jay Cutler, a former quarterback who performed within the NFL for 12 seasons with the Bears, Broncos and Dolphins, is now dealing with the repercussions of repeated concussions; he is sharing the herbal choices he is turning to for hope of restoration.6

Repeated Concussions Can Lead to Brain Disease

Chronic stressful encephalopathy (CTE) is a modern mind illness that used to be as soon as believed to impact essentially boxers however is referred to now to happen in all sorts of touch sports activities and the army7 — any job that results in repeated concussions places you in danger. According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation:8

“In CTE, a protein known as tau misfolds and malfunctions, reasons different proteins to misfold, and units off a series response the place this malfunctioning tau slowly spreads all through the mind, killing mind cells. CTE has been observed in other people as younger as 17, however signs don’t normally start showing till years after the onset of head affects.”

Early signs, which might start as early because the affected person’s 20s, come with temper and behaviour adjustments, progressing to:9

Problems with impulse keep watch over


Mood swings




Problems with sleep

Short-term reminiscence loss


Impaired judgment


CTE does not in most cases happen after one or two concussions. Most people affected have had masses or hundreds of blows to the pinnacle, together with now not best concussions but in addition many lesser affects that do not motive “full-blown” concussions, however which continuously are the most important issue.10 Cutler suits the outline of the ones maximum prone to CTE and has said, “CTE, it’s coming at some point.”11

“I’ve damaged enough things and brain parts and heart and everything in my life, if I make it to 80, or anything after that, I’ll be happy,” he stated … “I might say without a doubt my reminiscence is not the similar because it used to be 5 years in the past.

The quantity of concussions I’ve had are almost definitely within the double digits. It’s gonna catch as much as me one day. I’m simply seeking to lengthen it up to imaginable

Omega-3s and Low Sugar for Brain Health

Knowing his chance of mind illness is excessive, Cutler is being proactive in doing all he can to offer protection to his mind well being. “Trying to chop sugar. Heavy quantities of fish oil had been tied to well being within the mind,” Cutler stated.12 Indeed, daily sugar consumption impairs spatial memory and neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory processes.13

Animal research have additionally proven {that a} high-sugar nutrition has a tendency to change inhibitory neurons within the prefrontal cortex,14 the place decision-making and impulse keep watch over are targeted. Aside from impaired impulse keep watch over and the lack to lengthen gratification, this variation may additionally building up the danger of psychological well being issues.15

So, reducing down on sugar is a smart transfer on Cutler’s phase. Even in case you are differently wholesome, with out Type 2 diabetes or glucose tolerance, eating an excessive amount of sugar, and the connected upper blood sugar ranges it reasons, has a destructive impact on cognition, in all probability by means of inflicting structural adjustments in spaces of the mind related to studying.16

Adding in omega-3 fats may be smart, as omega-3 fat are essential for your mind. A find out about within the magazine Neurology discovered “older women with the highest levels of omega-3 fats … had better preservation of their brain as they aged than those with the lowest levels, which might mean they would maintain better brain function for an extra year or two.”17

In addition, older adults with reminiscence court cases who ate up docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on my own or together with eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), had progressed reminiscence.18 EPA and DHA are two sorts of omega-3 fatty acids. Low DHA ranges had been connected to reminiscence loss and Alzheimer’s illness, and a few research counsel degenerative mind illnesses might doubtlessly be reversible with enough DHA.19,20

In phrases of mind trauma, in particular, DHA might assist the mind face up to oxidative stress whilst protecting membrane homeostasis and serve as after damage. University of California at Los Angeles researchers prompt that nutritional DHA might “counteract broad and fundamental aspects of TBI [traumatic brain injury] pathology that may translate into preserved cognitive capacity.”21 In addition, omega-3 fat could also be really helpful for concussions by means of:22

  • Reducing organic markers of mind damage and mobile apoptosis
  • Protecting towards decreased plasticity of neurons and impaired studying when used previous to a concussion
  • Maintaining genomic balance and mobile homeostasis

While Cutler discussed fish oil, the perfect resources for EPA and DHA come with cold-water fatty fish, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies. If you don’t devour those fish frequently, believe taking a krill oil complement. You can be told extra about why krill oil is preferable to fish oil within the infographic underneath.

krill oil vs fish oil

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Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) for Brain Injury

Cutler may be the use of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to assist maintain his mind well being — any other forged choice. NAD is a crucial signaling molecule23 that is additionally believed to play a very powerful position in longevity. This is partially because of its position as an very important substrate for sirtuins,24 which can be enzymes associated with wholesome ageing, in addition to its position in DNA restore.

NAD modulates power manufacturing and lots of enzymes and in so doing controls masses of processes for your frame together with the survival of cells and effort metabolism. NAD is influenced each day by means of what you devour, workout ranges and extra, and in addition declines with age, resulting in adjustments in metabolism and an larger chance of illness.25

NAD depletion is not unusual in instances of neurodegeneration and concussions.26 In a mouse find out about, intracortical management of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a precursor to NAD, helped offer protection to towards central mind damage.27 Cutler stated:28

“I’m doing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) remedy. I’m doing it via IVs now. NAD is in all of the cells for your frame, the mitochondria, the power that pushes every cellular to serve as.

As you grow older, you lose NAD. So I’m doing NAD remedy, which, at a core stage, is helping the entirety for your frame. I’ve spotted that that is without a doubt helped me. Anything I will be able to do this present day, I’m seeking to get all for.”

A find out about is underway in school soccer avid gamers to decide if NR supplementation (750 milligrams an afternoon for 12 weeks) impacts the degrees of NAD within the mind.29 If the consequences are favorable, it will pave the best way for NR for use as a preventive instrument for managing sports-related concussion and TBI.30

Concussions Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Even in case you are now not a qualified athlete, the repercussions of a concussion may also be important. Many other people don’t search scientific consideration after falls or different blows to the pinnacle, however you have to be searching for concussion signs, which is able to closing for days to months:31

Unable to recall occasions previous to or after successful or fall

Appears dazed or shocked

Forgets an instruction, is puzzled about an task or place, or is undecided of the sport, rating, or opponent

Moves clumsily

Answers questions slowly

Loses awareness (even in brief)

Shows temper, habits, or character adjustments

Headache or “pressure” in head

Nausea or vomiting

Balance issues or dizziness, or double or blurry imaginative and prescient

Bothered by means of mild or noise

Feeling gradual, hazy, foggy, or groggy

Confusion, or focus or reminiscence downside

Feeling off or “not right”

Since further head accidents after a concussion may end up in important damage, steer clear of actions that can additional injure your mind. Children and youths, as an example, must now not go back to sports activities till the concussion is totally healed. Be certain to get good enough sleep within the aftermath and steer clear of strenuous bodily or psychological job. You might want to take extra common breaks all over paintings or training.32

More Natural Strategies for Concussions

If you have got had a concussion or know any individual who does, “The Concussion Repair Manual: A Practical Guide to Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injuries” by means of Dr. Dan Engle, board-certified in psychiatry and neurology, might assist. Among his best methods for repairing neurological serve as in case of injury like a concussion are:

Flotation remedy, which induces sensory deprivation; with out environmental stimuli, your mind has extra power to place towards recuperation

Omega-3 fat

Vitamin D

Melatonin, specifically in case you are having problems with sleep


Pulsed electromagnetic box remedy

Transcranial direct present stimulation


Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), which comes to publicity to high-pressure oxygen at other concentrations inside of a stress chamber, has additionally proven promise for making improvements to mind damage33 and different neurological stipulations.34 Traumatic mind damage is one among best 15 stipulations for which US insurance coverage firms can pay for HBOT.35

If your concussion signs are critical or chronic, you must search scientific help, and needless to say your mind might nonetheless be improving for months and even years following a concussion.36 Because of this, methods to optimize your brain health in each the fast and longer term will likely be really helpful.

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