A Review of Electrolyte, Mineral, and Vitamin Changes After Traumatic Brain Injury

Veronica I. Kocik*, Michael D. April, Julie A. Rizzo, Bradley A. Dengler, Steven G. Schauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Despite the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in both civilian and military populations, the management guidelines developed by the Joint Trauma System involve minimal recommendations for electrolyte physiology optimization during the acute phase of TBI recovery. This narrative review aims to assess the current state of the science for electrolyte and mineral derangements found after TBI. Materials and Methods: We used Google Scholar and PubMed to identify literature on electrolyte derangements caused by TBI and supplements that may mitigate secondary injuries after TBI between 1991 and 2022. Results: We screened 94 sources, of which 26 met all inclusion criteria. Most were retrospective studies (n = 9), followed by clinical trials (n = 7), observational studies (n = 7), and case reports (n = 2). Of those, 29% covered the use of some type of supplement to support recovery after TBI, 28% covered electrolyte or mineral derangements after TBI, 16% covered the mechanisms of secondary injury after TBI and how they are related to mineral and electrolyte derangements, 14% covered current management of TBI, and 13% covered the potential toxic effects of the supplements during TBI recovery. Conclusions: Knowledge of mechanisms and subsequent derangements of electrolyte, mineral, and vitamin physiology after TBI remains incomplete. Sodium and potassium tended to be the most well-studied derangements after TBI. Overall, data involving human subjects were limited and mostly involved observational studies. The data on vitamin and mineral effects were limited, and targeted research is needed before further recommendations can be made. Data on electrolyte derangements were stronger, but interventional studies are needed to assess causation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E101-E109
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


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