The Potential for DHA to Mitigate Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

By: Bailes JE, Patel V
Publication Name: Military Medicine
Year: 2014

Scientific knowledge of omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) has grown in the last decade to a greater understanding of their mechanisms of action and their potential therapeutic effects. Omega-3 FAs have shown therapeutic potential with respect to hyperlipidemia, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and mild cognitive impairment. Laboratory evidence and clinical interest have grown such that omega-3 FAs have now assumed a role in concussion management. This has coincided with recent research that has also helped to increase the scientific understanding of cerebral concussion; although concussion or mild traumatic brain injury was assumed to be a malfunctioning brain without anatomical damage, we now know that there is the potential for damage and dysfunction at the cellular and microstructural levels. Specifically, with concussion abnormal metabolism of glucose may occur and intracellular mitochondrial dysfunction can persist for several days. In this article, we discuss the role of omega-3 FAs, particularly docosahexaenoic acid, in concussion management.