For most MMA fighters, head trauma is an afterthought. Not all forms of martial arts are traumatic to the brain, but the sport lends itself to more head injuries than most. Like professional athletes or aspiring amateurs of any sport, performance is the goal, not health.
Other sports have already studied brain injuries incurred by athletes. NFL football has many rules and a “concussion protocol”. Ownership at the Seattle Seahawks has dedicated funding for brain research. The primary concerns for athletes aren’t acute trauma to the brain, but consistent and chronic head injuries – the kind MMA provides.
When performance is the goal, quitting for the sake of neurological protection isn’t always an option. Luckily, modern technology and science offers a variety of methods to mitigate some of the trauma caused by MMA.
Neuro Protective Agents for MMA Fighters
There are a wide variety of neuro protective agents that modern science has extracted for supplemental use. Many of them provide neurological protection to a degree. None of them are substitutes for a healthy trauma-free lifestyle, but when quitting MMA is not an option, they are proven tools.
Many of these compounds, called nootropics or smart drugs, are already utilized for treating Alzheimer’s, senile dementia and age related neuronal loss. Much of the trauma from MMA accelerates the degradation of these neurons. Here are some modern neuro protective agents that are effective for MMA fighters.
Oxiracetam – even though this analogue of piracetam (explained below) is newer and more potent, it is definitely the first choice for neuro protection. Studies in animals with brain trauma showed that it is tremendously powerful in halting and in some cases even reversing neurological degradation. For MMA fighters dealing with constant concussions and trauma to the brain, oxiracetam benefits are tremendous.
Whether you already have trauma or you want to protect yourself in the future, it is a good idea to utilize oxiracetam as a neuro enhancer and protector. To amplify the effects of oxiracetam (and any racetam), you should also include some type of choline source for synergistic effects.
Piracetam – typically piracetam is the first smart drug used for neuro protective purposes, but it is less potent than the oxiracetam analogue. Nonetheless, there are more studies on the efficacy of piracetam for enhancing your brain and the analogue provides plenty of unique advantages. A nootropic “stack” utilizing both oxiracetam and piracetam (along with choline) is probably one of the most comprehensive ways to protect your brain in the short and long-term.
Ginkgo biloba – another memory enhancer useful for MMA fighters is a traditional Chinese herb used for thousands of years. Modern scienceand research has validated the ancient claims in healthy individuals. Using placebo controlled double-blind studies (the most comprehensive), scientists confirmed the memory advantages when consumed in certain doses.
While Asian ginseng (panax) is said to perform in a similar capacity, studies have not proven this true. However, there is a well-known synergy between Asian ginseng and ginkgo biloba so it may be useful for MMA fighters to utilize the two together.
Protect Your Brain, Fight Your Best
Career ending injuries in any sport are saddening, but eventually athletes move on with life. In the case of MMA, chronic head trauma can lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) or Pugilistic dementia, which make it nearly impossible to enjoy life.
Mixed martial artists like Gary Goodridge admit, “sometimes, I come home (and) I can’t talk. I’m not going to lie. It’s called being ‘punch drunk.’ You stutter your words.” With so much of the body’s regulation managed by the brain, it is important to mitigate the risks as best as possible.
By utilizing nootropics like piracetam, oxiracetam and ginkgo biloba, MMA fighters can protect their neurological connections as best as possible for longevity and sustainability.
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