Can Russell Wilson's Water Help Concussion Recovery?

By Harry Kerasidis, MD

A Yahoo! Sports report today has Russell Wilson, an NFL quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, claiming that a special water helped him clear the cobwebs from a concussion. Is this possible? Can any water help with concussion recovery, or just Wilson's particular brand?

In my new book, I answer these questions in the chapter Re-building the Brain. The book "Concussionology: Redefining Sports Concussion Management For All Levels" will be available soon in an e-book formatted for all reading devices, as well as soft-cover.

For the record -- I don't know much about Wilson's brand of water with special nanobubbles and electrolytes. But I assure you, water is the best drink for concussion recovery.

Here's The Best Drink for concussion recovery. Excerpt from Concussionology, Ch. 9.

The Best Drink

The brain makeup is also predominantly water. Anything that dehydrates the brain, like too much caffeine or alcohol, can decrease cognitive functioning. To rehab the brain, you will need to begin to prefer water over any other liquid. Water helps the brain and body in many ways and can’t be over-emphasized.

Shoot for drinking 100 ounces per day for optimal brain health.

Besides water, I would also recommend switching to drinking green tea instead of coffee. Green tea has been associated with lowering risk of Alzheimer’s because of its bioactive compounds and antioxidant benefits. Among the many benefits of green tea, is the active ingredient caffeine, which is a known stimulant.

Green tea doesn't contain as much caffeine as coffee, but enough to benefit the brain and body. Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory.

Green tea also contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-Theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain.
Studies show that caffeine and L-Theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function.

Because of the L-Theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can provide more sustained energy than coffee.

Bottom Line: Water is the best medicine for concussion recovery. And, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid, L-Theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

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Harry Kerasidis, M.D is the founder and medical director for the sports concussion management platform XLNTbrain, LLC, based in Maryland. He is also the founder of Chesapeake Neurology Associates in Prince Frederick, Maryland and serves as the Medical Director for the Center for Neuroscience, Sleep Disorders Center and Stroke Center at Calvert Memorial Hospital. His new book, “Concussionology: Redefining Sports Concussion Management For All Levels” comes out next month. Details available by signing up at xlntbrain.com.