Readers Note: There’s a lot of internal links in this article that will lead people to important pages for additional information. I did that in an attempt to keep this write up as concise and focused as possible:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI ) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) have been getting a great deal of attention in the past few years, and for good reasons. Are they related?
Approximately a decade ago I communicated with a Dr. Mark Gordon who was just starting to develop his thoughts and protocol regarding the association between TBI, and PTSD, or more accurately, TBI causing hormonal dysfunction leading to symptoms that are misdiagnosed as PTSD.
What Dr. Gordon has termed TBI – Hormone Dysfunction Syndrome.
Basic premise is, TBI causes damage/dysfunction of the pituitary and other areas of the brain with resulting alteration in specific hormones, which can manifest as very similar to PTSD. According to Gordon:
“Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is now recognized as a causative factor for hormonal deficiencies associated with personality changes. Psychological, Physiological, and Physical manifestations like; depression, anxiety, mood swings, bouts of anger, memory loss, inability to concentrate, learning disabilities, sleep deprivation, increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, loss of libido, menstrual irregularities, pre-mature menopause, obesity, loss of lean body mass, muscular weakness, and a number of other medical conditions can arise subsequent to head trauma
Dr. Gordon has now worked with a growing number of military personnel who have found relief from their symptoms where prior treatment with drugs such as SSRI’s did not help much.
My own experience is I have found military personnel, especially combat vets, commonly have lower testosterone levels, as well as other essential hormones, than expected for their age, bodyfat levels, or fitness levels. This is an area that requires more research and the powers that be should be focusing on that issue with more studies funded to examine the topic. Meanwhile, we have to do what we can now to help them where we can.
These suppressed hormone levels may be caused by a variety of factors, from pressure wave induced TBI to exposure to various chemicals, to extreme and prolonged stress, and various nutritional deficiencies.
Needless to say, in my view and experience, vets are not being routinely screened for hormone deficiencies – in particular testosterone – and often have to go out of the VA network to get the issue addressed. I have been consulting military personnel, retired and active duty over the years as to how to approach their situation, and there’s a mil/LEO dedicated section of this site with more info and resources.
In some cases, the suppressed hormones may in fact be due to TBI per above, in others, it may not be a causative factor. Regardless, anyone who has been diagnosed with TBI should get their hormones tested, preferably read by someone with extensive clinical experience in that area. In addition to properly balanced hormones, various nutrients, such as creatine, should be helpful for TBI and the NFL and Department of Defense (DOD) have been looking at creatine for that use. My view, there’s more than sufficient data to recommend the use of creatine now, and the safety profile of that supplement makes it a “no brainer” to use. No pun intended there…
Bottom line: There are a number of other supplements in addition to creatine as well as nutritional strategies that could help. The testing of hormones, balancing of hormones (if medically indicated) and use of various supplements, nutrition and other meds (if indicated), will see big improvements in people with TBI, and or, suppressed/imbalanced hormones, be they vets, LE, or civilian types.
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 30 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often ground breaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He’s also been published in peer reviewed journals.
You can also buy Will’s other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.