Surgery can be a painful and hard process to go through. Luckily, there are certain supplements that can be taken before and after the procedure to prepare your body for the intricate process of repairing itself.
Some nutritional supplements help speed wound healing while others reduce bruising, swelling, and discomfort such as pain and itch. Others are recommended to prepare your body for the intense experience and increase resilience.
Optimizing your post-surgical diet by eating healthy foods and taking supplements also improves the immune response and prevents wound infections, sepsis (blood poisoning), and other possible complications.
The following vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and bioflavonoids are recommended to promote surgical healing:
Vitamin C supplementation is highly recommended by experts. It helps promote healing and it is the key nutrient required for making collagen, which is what heals your tissue together.
It plays an essential role in collagen formation, a resilient immune function, and as a tissue antioxidant. Also, it is a free-radical scavenger.
Without proper amounts of vitamin C proper healing is not possible. Additional vitamin C intake before, during, and after the operation is especially recommended for those who smoke and others who may risk being deficient.
Read more about the role of vitamin C in wound healing.
“As a plastic surgeon, I put all my patients on post-operative vitamin C because you need vitamin C to heal. I also recommend it to boxers following a fight,” “In fact, I’d recommend 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C to anyone with an open wound because there is evidence that it helps them heal faster.” “But I do recommend it following an injury to the skin because it builds collagen, and I have long used it post-operatively in my surgical practice.”
says Michael A. Fiorillo, MD, a New York City area plastic surgeon who serves as a spokesman for the AAPRP (American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians).
The next supplement and possibly one of the most important is zinc. Medical research has shown that zinc supplements can increase the speed of healing dramatically.
Zinc has reduced healing time after surgery by 43% in some cases. It plays a vital role in the immune system can reduce inflammation, bacterial growth, and scar tissue creation, whereas a deficiency can worsen the scar.
Zinc also helps to aid proper metabolism, balance blood sugar, and increase sensory perception.
Additional supplements that help you reduce post-surgery healing time
Vitamin B has just recently been noticed for its benefits in the healing process. However, there is limited information on its exact benefits and function in the healing process.
Vitamin B complex is thought to speed up wound healing, increase protein synthesis and the amount of repair cells at the wound. It also prevents excessive inflammation. Vitamin B5 is particularly beneficial right after the wound occurs.
Opt for either a Vitamin B complex or a multi-nutrient that contains 25 to 50 mg of the B complex vitamins.
Another important supplement is vitamin A. it is required in cell growth (especially epithelial and bone formation), which is very important in the healing process that takes place after surgery.
It is known to activate production of connective tissue, including collagen (promotes tissue synthesis), and helps new blood vessels grow , which is necessary in nourishing newly formed tissue. Vitamin A also enhances resistance to infection by stimulating the body’s immune function.
A very popular supplement is arnica montana. Arnica is a mountain extract that has been used for many years.
It helps reduce and clear bruising and it also speeds the healing process after surgery. Available as a cream and in capsules. One of the most popular brands of capsules is .
Another well-known and popular substance is Bromelain. It is used to reduce bruising, swelling (edema), pain, and healing time. Certain claims are disputed because studies show mixed results.
Various studies however indicate that Bromelain reduces swelling, bruising, pain after surgery and physical injuries, and healing time. Bromelain is often used in conjunction with Quercetin. Quality brands that offer both in one are and .
Quercetin, a plant pigment naturally found in foods such as onions, is a so called bioflavonoid. It promotes histamine release in the body and thus acts like an anti-inflammatory. Usually after surgery inflammation is a common response by the body.
While it is totally normal, it can be quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Luckily Quercetin is known for its anti-inflammatory traits. On top of that, it is also know in speeding up the healing process. More about bromelain and quercetin.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of protein. Protein, boosts the immune system. In the human body it breaks down into amino acids.
Adequate dietary protein is absolutely essential for proper wound healing. Especially L-Arginine and Glutamine are very important and commonly used to shorten post-surgery recovery time.
They can increase the amount of reparative collagen, help white blood cells and fight of bacterial infections. Glucosamine appears to be the rate-limiting substrate for hyaluronic acid production in the wound. (hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the human body and plays a role in injury recovery)
Probiotics are not only known for their specific healing benefits regarding certain surgeries but they are known to have beneficial effects in general.
Surgeryl patients often receive antibiotic treatment. This disrupts the gut flora and may create fungal disorders (including yeast infections), digestive problems, and diarrhea.
Probiotics can help neutralize these unwanted effects.After surgery, it’s recommended to use a strain that contains acidophilus and bifida bacteria.
Enzymatic Therapy offers and which provide all strains known to improve our health. More about the benefits of probiotics after surgery.
Aloe Vera and Centella Asiatica
Aloe Vera and Centella Asiatica, are botanicals that have been used for centuries to enhance wound healing. However, scientific research should be expanded to fully proof their efficacy.
In conclusion, all of these supplements have been found to be beneficial before, during, and after surgery. Many of these can be naturally found in your diet but intake by food is often not sufficient. Therefore, many medical professionals recommend to take supplements.
Clinical evidence demonstrates that Coenzyme Q10 is especially useful when undergoing heart surgery. Mayoclinic speaks of “promising evidence to support the use of CoQ10 before heart surgery.”
A study compared patients undergoing cardiac surgery. One group was given CoQ10 supplements while the other group got a placebo during 2 weeks before the operation. The CoQ10 group showed improved healing and strengthened heart function.
Another study demonstrated that oral coenzyme Q10 therapy for 7 to 10 days preoperatively could improve clinical outcome.
A popular, well-reviewed product containing all the essential nutrients is this .
Why Take Supplements After Surgery?
Your dietary intake influences all kinds biological and chemical processes in your body. These processes affect how quickly one recovers after surgery.
Wound healing involves the activity of an intricate network of blood cells, tissue types, cytokines, and growth factors. This results in increased cellular activity, which causes an intensified metabolic demand for nutrients.
Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet, ideally optimized with appropriate supplements, (e.g. vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals) can enhance the surgical healing process.
Studies show that recovery rates times can be reduced dramatically in some cases.
Malnutrition results in less quick and less optimal healing of the body. Some people have a deficiency which may cause certain post-surgical complications.
- not properly healing wounds.
Depletion of one or more vitamins or minerals can have a major, negative influence on the healing process.
It is essential to avoid deficiencies but also people who do not have a deficiency can find valuable benefits it taking these substances.
In addition, non-dietary supplements can be beneficial to the healing process. For instance compression garments and post surgery aids.
a dietary supplement protocol to provide nutritional support for the normal body functions of wound and soft tissue healing would contain at least Bromelain, vitamin C and vitamin C helpers such as OPCs and/or Rutin and/or Quercetin.
This combination of natural substances has an evidence base for its application in the nutritional support of the normal body functions of cutaneous and soft tissue healing. (The Holt Institute of Medicine)