DHA supplements reduce diffuse axonal injury

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Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly found in fish oil. Although the human body does not manufacture very much DHA naturally, a large percentage of our DHA is found in the white matter areas of our brains.

Diffuse axonal injury-which is a common injury in falls or car accidents-can twist, stretch, and shear the white matter tracts of the brain.  DHA has therefore been of interest to scientists researching methods of reducing diffuse axonal injury damage.

In a preliminary animal study, algae-derived DHA was administered for 30 days after diffuse axonal injury. Researchers found a reduced amount of damage in animals that received supplementation that was significantly better than animals that did not receive supplementation. Further clinical studies are needed to determine dosage recommendations for humans (10mg or 40 mg doses were administered to the animals, equal to roughly 1-3 grams for humans). In the meantime, DHA is considered safe, easily accessible, and potentially beneficial to traumatic brain injury survivors.

Bailes JE & Mills JD. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduces traumatic axonal injury in a rodent head injury model. Journal of Neurotrauma. (August 2010).