Not All Nutritional Supplements Are Safe After Brain Injury

 

Are there any good over-the-counter medications or nutritional supplements to help people with TBI who have short-term memory problems?

 
It's certainly a question that's being researched with regards to nutritional supplements that can be helpful after someone has had a traumatic brain injury. There are some good guidelines out there for things like Ginkgo biloba, CDP-choline, also sometimes called Citicoline, both that can be useful. I will often recommend, also, people to supplement their diet with some Omega-3 or fish oil. You can also use flax seed oil which I will recommend to people who are vegetarians, which are thought to be good building blocks for brain tissue itself to help maintain brain tissue. I think as important as it is to think about medications that can help with regards to short-term memory, it's also important to think about things to avoid that can hurt short-term memory. Benadryl and all the sleep medications that have Benadryl in it, which are common, is one of the medications that can have a negative effect on people with brain injury and should be avoided.
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2011. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Comments (4)

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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.)

He never said Benadryl is a supplement. He said it is medicine that should be avoided if someone has had a brain injury.

What about L-Theanine?

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.