With school sports seasons coming up, most athletes have begun preparing physically and mentally for the game. But one of the most important and often overlooked parts of preparing for high-contact sports is preparing the brain itself.
Texas Christian University’s football team put players on a preventative regimen of DHA (an omega-3 fat most commonly found in fish oil and algae) and regularly measured markers of neuronal injury found lower levels of markers of neural injury throughout the season in players taking DHA than those not taking the preventative dose. This is controlled for the exposure to contact, which had a positive correlation with markers of neuronal injury.
Of additional interest, while performing this study, the football team noted less than half the expected amount of concussions for a team of their size and calibre, compared to past rates.
Micheal Lewis, MD, author of When Brains Collide and Founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, recommends one daily dose of 3,000 mg combined EPA and DHA. While different brands and formulas of fish oil may vary, this will be equivalent to 5 capsules/day of most common brands of fish oil. For vegan and vegetarian athletes, brands of algae-derived EPA/DHA supplements do exist.
Keep in mind that female athletes may be considerably more likely than their male counterparts to suffer a concussion, so while this is important for men, it is equally, if not more important that female athletes across all sports begin preparing their brains for play.