We can't definitively say that Brain Armor or Neuro-Impact Concussion Response Formula won't help athletes recover from concussions faster. They're nutritional supplements, not medicines, so they're not subject to FDA approval or legitimate clinical trials to prove (or disprove) their claims. But in the absence of those clinical trials, there's nothing to stop us from giving this warning: it could be incredibly, incredibly dangerous to rely on "concussion recovery supplements" to get back into play.

As concussion awareness rises, so does the opportunistic market for concussion treatments. The Daily takes a look at the myriad snake oils out there, all promising fast and safe recovery from brain trauma. We reiterate that there's zero hard data on efficacy, but there is one number that should open your eyes. One of the treatments, Neuro-Impact, costs $499 for a week's worth of pills and powder.

Here's what an actual smart person has to say:

"In my opinion, the primary goal of concussion management is to return an athlete to play safely and not faster," said Philip Schatz, director of the Behavioral Neurosciences Program at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "I would question the motivation of anyone promoting a product claiming a faster return to play, as the recovery process is a natural one, and varies from person to person."

There's one and only one post-concussion treatment known to work: rest. Rest is slow, and it's boring, and it's frustrating for an athlete eager to get back on the field/court/rink. Those athletes are anxious, and that's why concussion recovery supplements exist. They're preying on the confused and ignorant and desperate, as quacks and hucksters have done for centuries. But there's real danger here. Pseudoscience and homeopathy will drain your money, but they might at least offer a placebo effect. These are concussions. There is no such thing as a placebo effect for normal brain function. If you get back to your sport before your brain has healed, you are putting yourself at risk in both the short and long terms.


Trust a doctor. Don't trust the guys making 500 bucks off of each jar of their "proprietary" (read: we're not telling you) formulas, and definitely don't trust the pro athletes being paid for their endorsements. There is a ton of good, real research being done, and major strides could one day be made in medical treatment of concussions. That day isn't here yet. Don't be a sucker, don't give your cash to frauds, and don't buy "concussion recovery supplements." They're all bullshit until proven otherwise.

MIND GAMES: Alarm over brain health supplements marketed to young athletes with concussions [The Daily]