My daughter sustained a sports-related concussion.
Q. Hi Terry, “My daughter sustained a sports-related concussion. She now has post-concussion syndrome, and her symptoms include a 24/7 headache. Nothing has helped her. Can you tell me what you would suggest?” — Hope S., Arlington Heights, IL
A. Dear Hope, Concussions can have symptoms that persist for months or years afterwards. Because concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury, I strongly encourage you to discuss any supplement usage with your daughter’s primary healthcare practitioner, as they may have additional insight.
With that being said, I do believe I have some ingredients that may help alleviate some of the headaches your daughter is experiencing. These ingredients help stop the inflammation and blood vessel constriction that are frequently associated with headaches.
Curcumin is excellent at relieving pain and inflammation throughout the body. Because it is able to cross the blood brain barrier, it can exert its benefits where it is truly needed. In an animal model of traumatic brain injury, curcumin was shown to decrease activation of certain inflammatory immune cells and neuronal (brain cell) death, and this was after the injury occurred. Curcumin on its own can be difficult to absorb so I prefer an enhanced absorption curcumin that is blended with turmeric essential oil for even greater benefits.
Boswellia fights an inflammatory pathway that virtually nothing else in the natural or conventional medical realm can touch. It has even been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of headache pain in individuals with chronic cluster headaches. I believe boswellia is most effective when it is standardized to its primary anti-inflammatory compound, AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic-acid), while minimizing the amount of beta-boswellic acid, which can actually be pro-inflammatory.
DLPA is a combination of two forms of the amino acid phenylalanine. The “l” form improves mood-elevating compounds in the brain, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The “d” form of phenylalanine appears to block a nervous system enzyme (enzyme carboxypeptidase A) that intensifies pain signals and inhibits another enzyme that breaks down one of our natural pain-killers, thus keeping it active longer.
Magnesium has a long history of usage for migraines, and other types of headaches. It is estimated that about half of all migraine sufferers are magnesium deficient. There are many forms of magnesium, but not all of them are absorbed well, and some can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. I think the best form of magnesium is bound (or chelated) to the amino acid glycine. This improves both its absorption and minimizes the chance for negative side effects.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of headaches, partly due to its effects on homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is associated with damage to blood vessel walls and high levels have been correlated with headaches and migraines. I prefer vitamin B6 in the human form, as pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) because it does not require conversion by the liver, and can go to work right away.
I would take 90 mg of vitamin B6, 300 mg of magnesium, and 1650 mg total of curcumin, boswellia, and DLPA.
Terry . . . Naturally