A new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise conducted during the 2014 football season at Texas Christian University shows fish oil could help reduce the brain-damaging effects of head trauma. In the double-blind study of 81 football players, more than 60 started taking DHA at the beginning of the summer of 2014 and were monitored over the course of a season. Dr. Michelle Kirk and her team wanted to see whether DHA helped protect the athlete’s brains. To test, they focused on an biological indicator of brain trauma called neurofilament light (NFL). Research shows NFL increases as the number of physical impacts increase. In other words, the more hits on the field, the more NFL in the blood. So the question: Could DHA lower levels of neurofilament light?
“If they were on the DHA, they had a 40% reduction in that NFL compared to those that were on the placebo,” Kirk says. “That may indicate that DHA can be protective against some brain trauma.”