Bobby Ghassemi, a former high school football player who was left
in a coma after a devastating car accident, regained his health
after physicians administered high-dose omega-3 fats through a
is 60 percent fat and DHA (docosahexanoic acid, a type of omega-3
fat) alone makes up about 15 percent to 20 percent of your brain's
cerebral cortex; it's found in high levels in your neurons --
the cells of your central nervous system, where it provides structural
studies as well as another documented case in a coal miner with
severe brain damage suggest omega-3 fats are highly beneficial
for helping to trigger the brain’s healing process after traumatic
the apparent benefits, high-dose omega-3 therapy is still considered
an “unorthodox” treatment for traumatic brain injury, and is not
routinely ordered as a standard of care; if a family member suffers
from a traumatic brain injury, you may have to be their advocate
to have this treatment administered.
1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury in the United
Once the person
is stabilized, there is no known treatment to help their brains
recover; most physicians, instead, adopt a "wait and see" approach
to determine if the person will regain neurological function.
This was the
case with 17-year-old Bobby Ghassemi, a former high school football
player who was left in a coma after a devastating car accident.
said he might remain unresponsive, so his parents, desperate for
help, contacted their friends and eventually made contact with a
physician who suggested an "unorthodox" treatment the family now
credits with giving their son his life back: omega-3 fats.
Nutrition Can Kill You
is a very sad illustration of a profoundly important principle that
you and your family need to have a DEEP appreciation of the critical
importance of food in helping your body recover from the trauma
of the injury that required hospitalization. Unfortunately most
all hospitals serve foods that are as bad as or worse than the Standard
When you are
just living your typical life this is not typically a problem. It
will make you more susceptible to developing colds and flus and
will certainly increase your risk of virtually every chronic disease.
you are in the hospital the use of this poor-quality food can literally
mean the difference between life and death. This is partially related
to the massive exposure to highly virulent organisms in virtually
all hospitals, bacteria that are highly resistant to nearly all
antibiotics and very deadly.
So if you or
anyone you know or love is admitted to the hospital you are best
served by making sure you optimize their nutrition.
You will, of
course, need to cooperate with the staff, as there are many procedures
that require the patient to be fasting or have some special diet
to prepare for a procedure or surgery. But once you work through
those issues it is best to eat your own healthy food, not the food
that is typically served in most hospitals.
of your brain is made up of fat. DHA (docosahexanoic acid, a type
of omega-3 fat) alone makes up about 15 percent to 20 percent of
your brain's cerebral cortex. It's found in high levels in your
neurons – the cells of your central nervous system, where it provides
brain is literally built from omega-3 fats, it makes sense that
high doses of them following injury might support your brain's natural
In the case
of 17-year-old Bobby, his father convinced doctors to try high-dose
omega-3 fat therapy, which was administered through a feeding tube.
Two weeks later, the teen emerged from his coma and soon began to
recognize family members, colors and numbers. Three months later,
he was able to attend his high school graduation, and although he
is still recovering, he has made remarkable improvements, which
his family and a supporting physician believe are due to the omega-3s.
How Do Omega-3s
Support Brain Healing?
There are likely
several mechanisms at play. For instance, omega-3 fats:
genes that help cope with brain damage while turning off those
that promote brain inflammation3
animals have been promising, with one, for instance, showing that
rats supplemented with the omega-3 fats EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
and DHA healed more quickly following an acceleration-induced brain
there is one other documented case of a remarkable brain injury
recovery using omega-3 fats, which was in 2006. Randal McCloy Jr.,
a coal miner, was the only survivor of the Sago Mine explosion disaster,
and he suffered severe brain damage as a result. His neurosurgeon
administered high doses of EPA and DHA and believes the combination
helped successfully reduce inflammation and repair the brain damage.
this is still considered an "unorthodox" treatment for traumatic
brain injury, and is not routinely ordered as a standard of care,
primarily because large-scale human trials have yet to be conducted
(and are not likely to be conducted since omega-3 fats are widely
available over the counter, and are not easily patentable by pharmaceutical
If a family
member suffers from a traumatic brain injury, however, the research
suggests high doses of omega-3 fats may be incredibly healing, even
life saving, and you may have to be their advocate to have this
Phenomenal for "Everyday" Brain Health, Too
animal-based omega-3 supplement is something that I recommend for
virtually everyone, especially if you're pregnant. Omega-3 fats
are considered essential because your body cannot produce them,
and must get them from your daily diet. DHA-rich foods include wild
fish, liver, and brain—all of which are no longer consumed in great
amounts by most Americans.
When your omega-3
intake is inadequate, your nerve cells become stiff and more prone
to inflammation as the missing omega-3 fats are substituted with
cholesterol and omega-6 instead. Once your nerve cells become rigid
and inflamed, proper neurotransmission from cell to cell and within
cells become compromised.
that the unsaturated fatty acid composition of normal brain tissue
is age-specific, which could imply that the older you get,
the greater your need for animal-based omega-3 fat to prevent mental
decline and brain degeneration.5
low DHA levels have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer's disease,
and research suggests degenerative conditions can not only be prevented
but also potentially reversed. For example, in one study,
485 elderly volunteers suffering from memory deficits saw significant
improvement after taking 900 mg of DHA per day for 24 weeks, compared
found significant improvement in verbal fluency scores after taking
800 mg of DHA per day for four months compared with placebo.7
Furthermore, memory and rate of learning were significantly improved
when DHA was combined with 12 mg of lutein per day.
Omega-3s are Essential
and marine oil supplements such as krill oil are a direct source
of EPA and DHA. Plants, on the other hand, contain the parent omega-3,
alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can be converted into EPA and
DHA. However, this conversion is ineffective in general, and appears
to get progressively more ineffective with age.
of ALA to EPA and DHA is typically severely impaired by inhibition
of delta 6 desaturase, an enzyme necessary for the conversion. Elevated
insulin levels impair this enzyme, and over 80 percent of the U.S.
population has elevated insulin levels, so chances are high that
you'll be part of this significant majority... Therefore, you want
to make sure you get the bulk of your omega-3 from animal
sources, not plant sources, to make sure you won't develop a deficiency.
In fact, omega-3
deficiency is likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans,
and may be a significant underlying factor in up to 96,000 premature
deaths each year.
I prefer krill
oil compared to all other animal-based omega-3's because while the
metabolic effects of krill oil and fish oil are "essentially similar,"
krill oil is as effective as fish oil despite the fact
that it contains less EPA and DHA.8
This is because krill oil is absorbed up to 10-15 times as well
as fish oil due to its molecular composition (Its EPA and DHA fatty
acid chains are phospholipid bound), and is less prone to oxidation
(rancidity) because it is naturally complexed with the potent fat-soluble
Fish oil is
in a triglyceride molecule that has to be broken down in your gut
to its base fatty acids of DHA and EPA. About 80-85 percent is never
absorbed and is eliminated in your intestine (this is why fish oil
can cause you to experience burp back and why about half of all
people cannot tolerate fish oil). Then once the fatty acids are
absorbed into your bloodstream, your liver has to attach it to phoshphatidyl
choline for it to be used by your body.
of krill is that all of it is in the correct form in the
original pill, so your body uses virtually 100 percent of it. As
a result, most people only need two to three 500-mg capsules
of krill oil per day (each capsule typically contains about
50 mg of DHA and 90 mg of EPA) to support optimal brain, and overall,