FDA Warns About 'Concussion Supplements'
Doctor says no supplement can treat concussion symptoms
Aug. 28, 2014
A doctor says you should watch out for nutritional supplements that claim to help concussion symptoms. There's no evidence they do.
"There is no research - no peer-reviewed research - that supports any of those claims," said Todd Arnold, physician with St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. He says supplements such as Neuro Impact Concussion Response Formula and NeuroPruTect claim on their labels to treat concussion-related symptoms as well as prevent and treat post-concussion sydrome. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning this week about such supplements, and the FDA sent warning letters to the makers of at least three supplements that are coming close to violating the law with their labeling. "Although are marketed as dietary supplements, they are promoted as drugs through claims made on the firms’ websites," said a statement from the FDA.
The concussion supplements are typically nothing more than vitamins - Vitamin B-12 is usually used, Arnold said, along with Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Arnold says a problem is that the FDA has no regulatory authority over supplements. "People can build a supplement in their garage and claim that it does whatever. As long as they are labeled supplements and not drugs, then the FDA has to accept that, and it's consumer beware," Arnold said.
This isn't to say that supplements don't provide any benefits. Often times, Arnold says they do. "But as we learned with ephedra a decade or so ago, sure it helps you lose weight, but it comes with such a tremendous quantity of side effects that effect the body negatively, and some people even died," said Arnold. He adds that taking a supplement that supposedly helps the brain isn't going to help you play a sport or resume an activity sooner after a concussion. "I don't think a pill will be taken on a Tuesday, and people will come in and say 'hey, I'm ready to go' on a Wednesday. I don't think doctors will fall for that," Arnold said.