Research Reports - Assessment of dietary adequacy for important brain micronutrients in patients presenting to a traumatic brain injury clinic for evaluation

Nutr Neurosci. 2013 Sep 24

Wahls T, Rubenstein L, Hall M, Snetselaar L

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate dietary adequacy of patients presenting for evaluation at
an outpatient traumatic brain injury (TBI) clinic.
METHODS: We identified 14 key micronutrients with defined dietary intake
reference ranges that are considered important for brain health. Adult patients
completed the Brief NutritionQuest Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to
calculate estimated nutrient intake. Medical records were abstracted for
diagnoses, body mass index, and neurobehavioral subscale scores. Nutrients were
assessed individually and were also summarized into a summary score. Associations
between individual nutrients, summary nutrient intake, and neurobehavioral scores
were assessed.
RESULTS: A total of 39 FFQs were completed by subjects, and 25 (64%) had recorded
neurobehavioral scores. No subjects met the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs)
for all 14 micronutrients. Ten (26%) met the RDAs for 6 or fewer nutrients, and
10 met the RDAs for 11-12 nutrients. Of 12 nutrients with sufficient sample size
for analysis, 11 (92%) were associated with worse mean somatic scores, 9 (75%)
were associated with worse cognitive scores, and 8 (67%) were linked with worse
affective scores for those with the lowest nutrient intake compared with those
who had the highest intake. However, only four nutrients were statistically
associated with the somatic mean score: folate (P = 0.010), magnesium (P =
0.082), vitamin C (P = 0.021), and vitamin K (P = 0.024). None were linked with
cognitive or affective scores.
DISCUSSION: Diets failing to meet RDAs for important brain nutrients were common
in an outpatient TBI clinic, with the worst mean neurobehavioral scores for those
patients not meeting the estimated average requirements.

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