Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Innovative Use of Omega-3s

J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Jul;35(5):469-75. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2016.1150796.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI), with its diverse heterogeneity and prolonged secondary pathogenesis, remains a clinical challenge. Clinical studies thus far have failed to identify an effective treatment strategy when a combination of targets controlling aspects of neuroprotection, neuroinflammation, and neuroregeneration is needed. Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) offer the advantage of this approach. Although further clinical trial research is needed, there is a growing body of strong preclinical evidence and clinical experience that suggests that benefits may be possible from aggressively adding substantial amounts of n-3FA to optimize the nutritional foundation of TBI, concussion, and postconcussion syndrome patients. Early and optimal doses of n-3FA, even in a prophylactic setting, have the potential to improve outcomes from this potentially devastating problem. With evidence of unsurpassed safety and tolerability, n-3FA should be considered mainstream, conventional medicine, if conventional medicine can overcome its inherent bias against nutritional, nonpharmacologic therapies.

Keywords: DHA; Omega-3; TBI; brain injury; concussion; decosahexanoic acid; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection; neuroregeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Concussion / drug therapy*
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Therapy


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3