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Omega-3s May Protect Brains In American Football Athletes

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“High-dose omega-3 supplements may give NCAA American Football athletes protection from repetitive head injury as well as conferring cardiovascular benefits, suggests a new study.” [Source:]


There is growing evidence that athletes suffering repetitive head injuries are at increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Several studies are currently evaluating these risks and examining ways in which they could be reduced.

In this latest study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers assessed the effect that omega-3 fatty acid supplements had on serum levels of neurofilament light in American Football players over the course of a season. Serum neurofilament light is a known biomarker of nerve fiber injury and a surrogate marker of head trauma. American-style football is associated with a high incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion).

Promisingly, the researchers found that daily doses of omega-3 fatty acids could attenuate elevations in serum levels of neurofilament light. In addition to noting cardiovascular benefits, they concluded that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids has potential neuroprotective effects. While acknowledging that further studies are needed, the researchers say their data suggest athletes in other contact sports may also benefit from omega-3 supplementation.

To learn more about the roles of omega-3 fatty acids in protecting and enhancing health, see this article on our website.

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