Fish oil, key to recovery

Health Watch, Normal

The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

 IN September 2012, 16-year-old Grant Virgin was left for dead in a hit-and-run accident

Clinically dead until paramedics revived him, he suffered severe brain damage and hospital staff told his parents he probably would not live through the night.

His injuries included a torn aorta, a traumatic brain injury, compound bone fractures and spinal fractures. 

But now, he is defying all odds and his family credit fish oil to his extraordinary recovery.

On the night of the accident, the ER doctor advised Grant’s parents, JJ and John Virgin, to “let him go”. 

This infuriated the Virgins.

“The fact that this doctor wasn’t fighting for his life blew my mind. He’s not dead yet,” JJ told CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta.

“As a parent, how could you ever let go not knowing that you hadn’t done every single possible thing that you could for you son?”

JJ, a fitness expert from California, said it got them “very aggressive and assertive to save our son’s life, because they weren’t going to do it”.

Two weeks after the accident, Grant was in a coma (pictured above) and his family was told to “just wait” and that nothing further could be done to aid his recovery.

“The brain has its own time schedule,” one doctor told JJ.

Grant’s family ignored his doctors and decided to investigate alternate options to help their son. 

First, they tried progesterone which early studies have shown may reduce inflammation and help improve brain function. 

Rubbing the cream into his skin daily, they soon noticed an improvement: Grant woke and started repeating short phrases like “I love you” over and over again.

The Virgins then saw a CNN story on high dose omega-3s being used in the treatment of brain trauma. 

While acknowledging there were no large scale studies to prove the efficacy of fish oil on healing injuries like Grant’s, the Virgins started administering 20 grams of fish oil per day through his feeding tube. 

Two days later, Grant phoned his mother and talked in full sentences. 

On receiving the call, his mother thought she had had dream. 

Dr Michael Lewis told CNN: “If you have a brick wall and it gets damaged, wouldn’t you want to use bricks to repair it? By supplementing using (omega-3 fatty acids) in substantial doses, you provide the foundation for the brain to repair itself.”

Gradually, Grant’s other faculties started to return and soon he was walking. 

Now, over a year later, he (above) is walking, talking and has made a near full recovery.