Football is a dangerous game, mainly due to head-banging concussions. Now animal experiments suggest that taking the omega-3 fatty acid DHA might offer a new way of protecting against traumatic brain injury. Although only preliminary, the results raise the "intriguing" possibility of preventive treatment with DHA in groups at high risk of concussion and brain injury, such as military personnel and athletes in contact sports.
In an experiment, rats were treated with DHA at varying doses, equivalent to those used in humans taking DHA supplements. After one month of treatment, when tissue and behavioral responses to induced traumatic brain injuries were compared between groups of treated animals, the damage was significantly reduced in rats taking the highest dose of DHA. So football players should take their fish oil supplements–and if this shows up in their urine tests, they should be exonerated: They’re only protecting their heads!
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