The controversial topic of vitamins and their correlation to wound healing has been proven to be beneficial in several cases. A diversity of selected vitamins and minerals play a significant role in wound healing, each with their own specific function in the different phases associated with proper recovery. Along with evidence based vitamins that are effective in wound healing, daily habits such as proper diet, fluid replenishment and rest play a synergistic effect in those who want to speed up the wound healing process. As you continue reading, you will familiarize yourself with essential vitamins and minerals that play a vital role in wound healing.
Vitamin A, which can be also called retinol, is a critical antioxidant that plays several roles in the wound healing cascade. Retinol works in the body to help improve immune response, cell differentiation and epithelial cell formation. In any recently acquired wound its it critical to ensure that you protect it against any possible bacteria that can manifest at the site of the wound leaving Vitamin A a great candidate for appropriate wound healing. Retinol also has the ability to accumulate collagen at the site of injury. Collagen is needed in the wound healing process in order for the wound to close and essentially recover from the injury. As you can see, adequate consumption of vitamin A is important for those who suffer from a wound, due to its multi-functional abilities. Retinol can be found in many foods that are usually implemented in a daily healthy diet such as red fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish and dark green vegetables.
Ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C is by far the most important vitamin for proper wound healing. Many certified medical doctors highly recommend vitamin C for their patients when they experience a wound. Dr. Michael Fioriollo, a New York City plastic surgeon who also serves as a spokes person for American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP), states “ In fact, I’d recommend 2,000 mg of vitamin C to anyone with an open wound because there is evidence that it helps them heal faster.” Dr. Michael Fioriollo continues stating, “ I put all my patients on post-operative vitamin C because you need vitamin C to heal.” Ascorbic acid provides support throughout the entire process of wound healing. This dominant vitamin maintains sufficient collagen synthesis, sharpens immunologic response, and orchestrates monocytes to the site of injury. A clinical study on mice published in August 2012 indicated that applying vitamin C on the site of injury decreases healing time and enhances skin strength with an increase amount in collagen production in the healing tissue. Vitamin C is easily accessible at any vitamin shop or pharmacy, or could be added in a daily diet consisting of bell peppers, guavas, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas and papayas.
Vitamin B complex
A vitamin B complex is another ingredient that is added to the cocktail in order to enhance wound healing and repair. Vitamin B complex consists of several B vitamins, such as vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and so forth, combined into a single tablet. A vitamin B complex is believed to speed up the healing process by increasing protein synthesis and the amount of repair cells to the site of injury. A study indicated that the a high protein diet in combination with vitamin B has resulted in a more rapid response in wound healing than those who do not incorporate a vitamin B complex in their diet. This is primarily due its ability to metabolize carbohydrates and proteins to create energy which the body requires for cell growth and movement. It only makes sense to give the body the additional energy it needs to compensate for the wound by administering an energy source. Vitamin B is found in a variety of foods such as poultry, eggs dairy products and fish for those who do not prefer to take oral tablets.
Similar to vitamin C in functionality, zinc plays a vital role throughout the entire wound repair process. Zinc, being the second most abundant trace element in the human body, demonstrates its importance due to its ability for DNA synthesis and replication, hemostasis, and production of antibodies and immune function. Parallel to vitamin C, zinc supports the production of protein and collagen synthesis. Although zinc plays an identical role to vitamin C, and knowing that vitamin C has proven to be evident in the wound healing cascade, zinc has only been proven effective in those who do not have normal zinc serum levels. A large population that falls into this category are those who suffer from chronic venous ulcers. Before adding zinc to your daily diet, you should consult with your doctor in order to determine if zinc in appropriate for you. Zinc can be found in cooked oysters, beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, nuts, pork, chicken, beans and mushrooms.
Copper and selenium
Copper and selenium are supplementary antioxidants that are commonly used today for the purpose of wound healing due to their distinct attributes. Selenium has the ability to support vitamin C, which its importance was discussed earlier. On the other hand copper controls a very important reaction regarding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which essentially accelerates the overall wound healing process.
Additional wound healing techniques
Although vitamins play an essential role in wound healing, a proper diet, hydration and rest must be implemented in order to speed up the wound healing process. A well rounded diet consisting of high protein, especially arginine and glutamine, assist in providing the body with additional energy, supports immune response and enhance collagen growth. Proper hydration throughout the healing process is important because it can help facilitate proper circulation and detoxification. Additionally, rest is very important in effective healing because you want to utilize all your natural energy to be focused on the wound. If you are being active while experiencing a wound, the wound starts to fight for extra energy needed to for it to properly heal.
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Written by Zen Project Manager, Matthew Banther