Effect of docosahexaenoic acid on a biomarker of head trauma in American football

Research Type: 
Concussion Literature

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to reduce axonal trauma associated with traumatic brain injury in rodent models. However, the optimal dose in American football athletes is unknown. This study examined the effect of differing doses of DHA on serum neurofilament light protein (NFL) over the course of a season of American football. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design eighty-one (n = 81) NCAA Division I football players were assigned to ingest either 2 g/d, 4 g/d, 6 g/d of DHA, or placebo. DHA supplementation increased plasma DHA in a dose-dependent manner. Serum NFL increased to a greater extent in starters (AUC, 1995 ± 1383 pg/mL/day) versus non-starters (1398 ± 581 pg/mL/day; p = 0.024). Irrespective of dose, supplemental DHA attenuated serum NFL coincident with increases in serum NFL by a small to moderate magnitude (ES = 0.4 to 0.7).

Citation:  Oliver, J. M., et al. (2016). "Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid on a Biomarker of Head Trauma in American Football." Med Sci Sports Exerc 48(6): 974-982.
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