Can Fish Oil Really Cure Brain Injuries?


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Traumatic brain injuries are nothing to joke about.  Usually very damaging and if one is lucky enough not to pass away from one, they are usually in a coma fighting for their life.  Now, if I told you that something as simple as fish oil could be used to save these injured people's lives would you believe me?  Probably not.  A recent study tells the story of two young lives that were dramatically saved by fish oil after suffering a brain injury and going into a coma.  

The horrifying stories basically go the same way.  The boys (two separate occasions) were both on deaths front-door step.  They were being kept alive by the help of a ventilator while in a coma.  No doctor gave either a chance.  For the first patient, the doctors felt there was nothing else they could do except give the fish oil a try, in hope to "re-build" his brain.  After giving large doses of fish oil through feeding tubes, improvement was occurring.  Day by day, week by week.  The fish oil seemed to be working and indeed, after months of the specialized treatment the patient was back on his feet, learning how to live again.  Almost the same exact circumstances happened for the second patient and both families claim that fish oil saved their son's lives.
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Now before jumping to conclusions about how absurd this topic is and how it must be cause by chance, hear me out.  Fish oil contains something called omega-3 fatty acids, which is basically what your brain is made of.  The thinking was not out of the realm of possibilities that this would work, it had just never been done before the first test that happened about six years ago.  

After these miraculous recoveries, doctors and scientists started to think that maybe these omega-3 fatty acids could help people's brains in other ways as well.  Maybe this could lead to a cure of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly and just improve the health of one's brain.  Again, after seeing the results of the brain injury instances, this is not a terrible hypothesis.  

Recently a Time Magazine article displays the results of a many studies that have been done.  The article talks about many studies that were done that agree with the statement that more omega-3 lowers certain blood levels that helps Alzheimer's patients and increases brain volume which resulted in better test scores by the patients.  However, much of those above explanations were reached by using observational data.  The one experimental study shows a random double-blind placebo trial done by studying the effects of either a omega-3 pill or its placebo.  The study was done on 3,563 patients all over the age of 60 who were in good health. After months of studying, it was revealed that the omega-3 group did no better on "standard tests of mental abilities, memory or verbal fluency."
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Definitely an unfortunate set of results, but it was stated that by no means does increasing one's intake of omega-3 harm a person's health.  It was recommended to make sure to have a regular intake of the omega-3, but just do not expect to become 
miraculously smarter by having that in your system.  

After learning all of this information about omega-3, it is leading me to make my own conclusion.  Obviously the experimental data speaks for itself, that healthy people over the age of 60 with a fully developed brain received no benefit by taking the omega-3.  But what I do think is a valid aspect of these studies is that, there is obviously a chance for a huge gain for someone that had been involved in a tragic accident who has severe brain damage.  Also what do you all think about maybe giving babies or young children, whose brains are still developing, a larger intake of omega-3.  Maybe this could improve a still-developing brain?  

Also on a more sensitive note, one of our own Penn State cheerleaders has unfortunately endured a tragic brain injury, do you guys think that possibly giving her a high dose of omega-3 could improve her health? (I have no idea if they have tried that already or not)  Just a thought, I would love to hear what all of you have to think about this topic.



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