Bart and JoelThe BART Foundation aims to promote better outcomes for brain injury survivors by answering three questions – which alternative therapies are likely to work, where can they be found, and how can they be afforded? One of the ways we fulfill our mission is by carefully watching global research and clinical trial outcomes and sharing that information, in user-friendly language, with the TBI/ABI community.

Omega 3 oil supplementation is one of the safe alternative therapies that we at the BART Foundation believe may result in better outcomes for brain injury survivors and this recent research article supports this therapy’s use and is applicable to both the TBI/ABI community and the wider population.

Anxiety: Experienced By Those With and Without TBI/ABI

Omega 3 oilsAnxiety, the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom for those with and without TBI/ABI, is a psychological state derived from inappropriate or exaggerated fear leading to distress or impairment. Treatment options for anxiety include psychological treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and pharmacological treatments, mainly with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Individuals with anxiety tend to be more concerned about the potential adverse effects of pharmacological treatments (eg, sedation or drug dependence) and may be reluctant to engage in psychological treatments that can be time-consuming and costly. As a result, evidence-based safe treatments are required.

Researchers recently evaluated the association of anxiety symptoms with omega-3 treatment compared with controls in varied populations. In a JAMA Network published review and meta-analysis, 19 clinical trials involving 2240 participants from 11 countries were analyzed for changes in the severity of anxiety symptoms after omega-3 PUFA treatment. This meta-analysis showed that improvement in anxiety symptoms was associated with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid treatment compared with controls in both placebo-controlled and non–placebo-controlled trials. The positive effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were stronger in participants with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  This review indicates that omega-3 PUFAs might help to reduce the symptoms of clinical anxiety. Further well-designed studies are needed in populations in whom anxiety is the main symptom.

Omega-3 Fish Oils: a Safe Alternative Therapy for All

barleans-logoOmega-3 fish oils are one of the safe, alternative therapies the BART Foundation believes may help brain injury survivors. Dr. Michael Lewis, a thought leader in this area of research, recommends only using fish oils that have been double distilled, and preferably reconstituted in their original triglyceride form. In a recent video interview with The BART Foundation, Dr. Lewis explains how Omega 3 oils help the brain recover. Dr. Lewis advocates for Omega-3’s use, under a physician’s supervision, as a treatment for a range of acquired brain injuries.

Barlean’s Oils, a source of premium quality essential oils, has generously agreed to make its oils available at a steep discount to ABI survivors who find themselves on a tight budget. Details of this unique charitable program, including how one qualifies for the discount, are available from Barlean’s at 1-800-445-FLAX. Be sure to mention “The BART Foundation’s Discount” when you speak with a customer service representative.