Vitamin D supplement accelerates recovery after concussion
A crucial factor in concussion recovery is vitamin D levels. For this reason, if your vitamin D level is on the low side, after a severe blow to your head your brain will recover faster if you take a vitamin D supplement.
A brain vitamin?
A few weeks ago we wrote about an animal study in which a combination of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids puts a injured brain in order more quickly. We already suspected that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may speed up recovery from traumatic brain injuries.
But what about vitamin D?
For that reason, we wasted several hours of our lives in the great electrical library that has the World Wide Web. We found the human experimental study that South Korean neurologists, affiliated with Ulsan University Hospital, published in World Neurosurgery in 2019.
In this study, Jong Min Lee experimented with 345 people who had suffered concussion. The subjects' average vitamin D level was 13.6 nanograms per milliliter. That is 34 nanomoles per litre.
The measured levels were low. Only 5 percent of the subjects had healthy vitamin D levels.
The researchers divided their subjects into 2 groups. The subjects in one group received standard treatment and acted as a control group. The subjects in the other group received an intramuscular injection containing 100,000 units of vitamin D, provided their vitamin D levels were too low.
1 and 3 months after the injection, the researchers again measured the vitamin D levels of the subjects in the experimental group. If the levels too low, the subjects were given extra vitamin D.
Supplementation increased the vitamin D level to an acceptable level.
Before the supplementation started and after 4 months, the researchers measured the cognitive abilities of the subjects using a battery of standardized tests.
Koreans tested the subjects with, among other things, the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS-E]. In the experimental group, the scores improved a little more than in the control group, but the difference was minor and not statistically significant.
The researchers achieved better results when they tested their subjects with the Mini Mental State Examination [MMSE]. According to the scores on that test, the subjects in the supplementation group recovered significantly faster than the subjects in the control group.
The researchers suspect that vitamin D helps keep brain cells healthy after an injury. As a result, a healthy vitamin D level limits brain damage at a cellular level.
"Administration of vitamin D supplements to patients with mild-to moderate traumatic brain injury with significant vitamin D deficiency during the acute phase of the injury may improve the long-term performance and cognitive outcomes", write the Koreans.
"The treatment strategies should be individually planned for the patients with traumatic brain injury based on their baseline vitamin D level."
World Neurosurg. 2019 Jun;126:e1421-6.
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