Is Omega 3 fish oil effective as part of brain injury treatment?

After dealing with brain injuries in my law practice for decades and in my family virtually all my life, I am always interested in new approaches to brain injury treatment and rehabilitation. I was therefore intrigued by recent news stories about the use of Omega 3 fish oil in treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Anecdotal reports of good recovery from brain injury after administration of high doses of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are exciting to people searching for anything that might help a loved one who has suffered TBI.  CNN, for example, has reported on brain injury victims recovering well after use of fish oil supplements. The use of Omega 3 fish oil as part of medical treatment of traumatic brain injury is certainly an interesting area for further medical research.

But as generally benign and potentially helpful as fish oil may be, it is not necessarily a miracle cure for TBI.  Before rushing down to the grocery store to load up on fish oil for a recent victim of traumatic brain injury, one should consult with a physician to make sure it does not conflict with prescribed medications, is not bad for other medical conditions, and that dosages are appropriate to avoid undesirable side effects. Even if large doses of fish oil did your injured family no lasting harm, the transient side effects of excessive dosages could be unpleasant. In addition, one should research the different brands of fish oil and get medical advice about which is best.

If I had a mild concussion, I would take reasonable dosages of Omega 3 fish oil after confirming it would not conflict with any prescribed medications, on the theory that it might help and probably wouldn’t hurt. But I am a lawyer, not a doctor. Before you try  megadoses of Omega 3 fish oil for TBI, consult your physician.

Ken Shigley is past president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12), double board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy and Civil Pretrial Advocacy by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, and lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice.  His Atlanta-based civil trial practice is focused on representation of plaintiffs in cases of castastrophic personal injury an