Think those claims that dietary supplements can help speed concussion recovery sound too good to be true? You're right. And the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees.
This week, the FDA released a consumer update on companies that market dietary supplements that purport to heal—and in some cases prevent—concussions. The advertising has received more attention with the start of fall school sports, and the agency is stepping up its enforcement actions to warn companies when their claims are false.
"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches, and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," said Gary Coody, FDA's national health fraud coordinator. "Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or [traumatic brain injuries]."
Because the dietary supplement market is a crowded one that requires no product registration, "products making false claims can slip through, at least for a time," according to the FDA.
The supplements are available in some retail outlets, but companies also rely heavily on social media for their advertising. Frequently, the supplements include tumeric and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
The bottom line, according to Coody, is that "there is no dietary supplement that has been shown to prevent or treat [concussion]. If someone tells you otherwise, walk away."
Keep up with APTA's work on concussion and TBI: check out the association's position on the role of physical therapists in concussion management, visit APTA's Concussions webpage, connect with resources on the Traumatic Brain Injury webpage, and direct patients to the Physical Therapist's Guide to Concussion, located on APTA's MoveForwardPT.com consumer website.
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