Based on the results of a small study of 30 former NFL players a Dr. claims that his protocol can reverse brain damage- improving brain function. The study was lead by Dr. Daniel Amen of the University of California Medical School at Irvine and is titled “Reversing brain damage in former NFL players: implications for traumatic brain injury and substance abuse rehabilitation.”

Dr. Amen describes a study group of retired NFL players who demonstrated brain injury and cognitive impairment. The study proposed a change in diet and exercise along with supplements could reverse brain damage and restore cognitive function. For 6 months the athletes were followed for the study.

The athletes were to lose weight by exercise. They were given a healthy diet and supplements including fish oil (5.6 grams a day); a high-potency multiple vitamin; and a formulated brain enhancement supplement that included nutrients to enhance blood flow (ginkgo and vinpocetine), acetylcholine (acetyl-l-carnitine and huperzine A), and antioxidant activity (alpha-lipoic acid and n-acetyl-cysteine).

The trial study average was six months. Brain scans of the former NFL players generally showed increased brain perfusion, especially in the prefrontal cortex, parietal lobes, occipital lobes, anterior cingulate gyrus, and cerebellum. This study purports to demonstrate that cognitive and cerebral blood flow improvements are possible in this group with multiple interventions.

There is a good article describing the study by Jordan Fallis.

The study and the article set out the protocol provided to the former NFL players. I recommend the article as the author provides good background information and sources for many of the supplements:

  • The Players were directed to exercise on a regular basis and to change their diet including a recommendation to eliminate alcohol, any other drugs, and cigarettes.
  • High-Quality Sleep was important for brain health.
  • As part of the diet include foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  My favorite is Salmon.  But the Players were given a fish oil supplement of 5.6 grams each day.
  • The NFL players took a high potency multi-vitamin each day.
  • Increase blood flow to the brain with ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine.
  • The players took a supplement of  Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) and Huperzine A to increase levels of acetylcholine in their brain.
  • To increase antioxidants – Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)  were taken daily.
  • The NFL players also took a supplement of Phosphatidylserine (an amino acid that supports cognitive function).
  • Check and optimize health markers- like your weight, glucose levels and other levels in your blood.

Even though this is a small study, I would encourage you to read it and the article by Jordan Fallis as well.

James C. Wright

Attorney at Law

Butler, Vines & Babb

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