Are there any good over-the-counter medications or nutritional supplements to help people with TBI who have short-term memory problems?
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2011. Reviewed July 25, 2018.
About the author: Brian D. Greenwald, MD
Dr. Brian Greenwald is medical director of Center for Head Injuries and the associate medical director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. He is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.
David Lloyd replied on Permalink
I agree with the headline that not all nutritional supplements are safe after a brain injury, but when I listened to the recording, I heard only recommendations for specific supplements which I actually disagreed with. I avoid food supplements pills in general. They are expensive, and they are not as valuable as a diet that is rich in nutrition-dense foods.
The only thing this video specifically says should be avoided are sleep-inducing medications that can exacerbate memory and focusing difficulties after a brain injury. When did Benadryl become classified as a food supplement?
There is a general principle that "pills" regardless of what they contain tend to cause kidney failure if too many are taken. It doesn't matter whether they are medications or supplements, what matters is not taking 10 or more artificially concentrated substances in pill form.
I don't use food supplements, but I do buy and use a lot of nutrition-dense foods, which are far more cost-effective than supplement pills. I put freeze-dried papaya in my salt shaker to break down acidic foam in the stomach that causes acid reflux. (It also helps you digest your food, and you get more nutrients from the food you eat when you digest them with full-strength stomach acid. Papaya with every meal enabled me to stop taking Nexium for acid reflux, and let me cut back on the total number of pills I was taking). I also put a little cayenne pepper in my salt shaker because cayenne pepper has strong anti-inflammatory properties. (I don't actually put any salt in my salt shakers. Instead, I flavor my food mostly with ascorbic acid powder with a little KCl and the other two ingredients I just mentioned, papaya and cayenne, in roughly equal quantities.)
Instead of taking resveratrol supplements (which improve brain metabolism and reduce inflammation), I put freeze-dried maqui berries and acai berries in my daily vegetable smoothies that contain equal parts of spinach, kale, and beets. My mix also contains milled sifted flaxseed powder (must be kept in freezer to preserve Omega 3) for Omega 3 and because it is a heart-healthy soluble fiber.
I do not use ginkgo biloba extract. Extracts are concentrated, and are, in my opinion, indistinguishable from drugs except that drugs have undergone safety testing. Instead, one of the vegetables in my daily smoothies is Ginkgo leaf. Not a concentrated extract, but a daily serving of the actual vegetable that has been used for thousands of years with no ill effects. (Ginkgo has no nootropic benefits at all, but it does improve brain blood circulation which can improve memory and focus in people with brain injuries. Ginkgo is also a blood thinner which should not be used in combination with other blood thinners.)
Timothy replied on Permalink
He never said Benadryl is a supplement. He said it is medicine that should be avoided if someone has had a brain injury.
Dale replied on Permalink
What about L-Theanine?
Susan replied on Permalink
I tried taking Theanine It’s been 10 yrs since my TBI. I’m having horrible anxiety. I can’t stop crying. I thought it would help. But it is making me so scared and sad
Susan replied on Permalink
I tried Theanine 11 yrs post Severe TBI. The first few hours were fine. About 8 hours after taking Theanine. I had horrible anxiety, nervousness. It reminded me of coming down from cocaine. Which is something I tried 20 yrs ago.
ET replied on Permalink
Continuing with the author's thread, L-theanine is found naturally in green tea. And actually the L-theanine and caffeine combination in green tea have a synergistic effect. Remember to heat the water to 170 degrees rather than a full boil at 212 in order to avoid the bitter flavor of green tea.