A potential role exists for nutritional interventions in the chronic phase of mild traumatic brain injury, concussion and sports-related concussion: A systematic review

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) represents a significant burden for individuals, economies, and healthcare systems worldwide. Recovery protocols focus on medication and physiotherapy-based interventions. Animal studies have shown that antioxidants, branched-chain amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids may improve neurophysiological outcomes after TBI. However, there appears to be a paucity of nutritional interventions in humans with chronic (≥1 month) symptomology post-mTBI. This systematic literature review aimed to consolidate evidence for nutrition and dietary-related interventions in humans with chronic mTBI. The review was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO; CRD42021277780) and conducted following the Preferred Reporting for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Three reviewers searched five databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL Complete and Cochrane), which yielded 6164 studies. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. The main finding was the lack of interventions conducted to date, and a quality assessment of the included studies was found to be fair to good. Due to heterogeneity, a meta-analysis was not feasible. The six nutrition areas identified (omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, Enzogenol®, MLC901, ketogenic diet and phytocannabinoids) were safe and well-tolerated. It was found that these nutritional interventions may improve cognitive failures, sleep disturbances, anxiety, physical disability, systolic blood pressure volume and sport concussion assessment tool scores following mTBI. Potential areas of improvement identified for future studies included blinding, reporting compliance, and controlling for confounders. In conclusion, further research of higher quality is needed to investigate the role of nutrition in recovery from mTBI to reduce the burden of chronic outcomes following mTBI.

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