Dr. Michael DiMaio
Nutrition And Wound Healing
Nutrition plays a significant role in wound healing since it enables optimal healing
to occur. Proper nutrition enhances the body’s ability to regain its balance. Because of
children’s susceptibility to wounds, parents need to understand the basic process of
wound healing and the role of nutrition in wound care. Wound healing takes place
through three interrelated phases: inflammatory; the proliferate stage; and the process of
remodeling. Each stage of wound healing is marked by different nutritional needs.
Problems with wound healing is explained by three main reasons: inadequate nutrition
and diet lacking in vitamins and minerals; infection; and problems with organ function.
Well nourished individuals experience rapid and improved wound healing. Parents can
promote wound healing by ensuring their children have adequate and appropriate
nutrition made up of appropriate calories and nutrients.
All wounds and their healing results in new demands on the body which call for good
nutrition. The family’s diet need to be rich in protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamin A
and C, as well as a variety of minerals. Of these, proteins is especially important because
“protein deficiency contributes to poor healing rates, with reduced collagen and increased
wound dehiscene.” the most needed minerals include iron, cooper and zinc; iron is
especially notable since it assist with resistance to infection. The value of zinc is that it
plays an important part in rebuilding the wound matrix and scare tissue. According to
(Anonymous 1999), researches with the National Institute of Nutrition have observed that
vitamin C plays a strong role in wound healing. Six ounce of orange juice daily provides
the adequate amount of vitamin C which allows the cells to conduct their biochemical
reactions, including wound healing. A balanced amount is important because excess can
cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Another means to obtain the required
amount of vitamin C is eating fruits and vegetables daily that are rich in this vitamin.
In the inflammation stage of wound healing, the blood vessel constrict and
coagulation begins. It is during this stage that the body uses nutrients to promote healing
and to restore damaged immune function. During the proliferative stage new tissues and
blood vessel develop and wound scar is formed. In the remodeling phase, wound edges
move and scar strengthens (Leininger, 2002). Proper wound healing demands adequate
perfusion, oxygenation, and blood flow. The essential elements is tissue perfusion since
it enables oxygen to enter the healing tissue.
Nutrients consist of polyunsaturated fatty acids and amino acids, glutamine,
arginine, and nucleotides (Nelson, 2003). Fatty acids fight against inflammation and also
help with wound healing. Dietary protein is a source of energy; lack of protein will result
in a slow rate of healing. The mineral vitamin K is essential for blood clotting as well for
preventing infection (Nelson, 2003). Calories and protein allow for a good nitrogen
balance. Good nutrition provides the increased energy that is required by the healing
wound as a result of inflammation and cellular activity. The main source of energy for
healing is glucose (Nelson, 2003). Other source of vitamin is found in B1 and
manganese. Parents must be aware that overfeeding or providing too many calories will
cause metabolic stress.
All individuals must have adequate calories and protein for metabolic support. It
is very important to establish a well balanced diet and good nutrition status. Proper
nutritional support will provide the calories and nutrients needed for wound healing
(Leininger, 2002). It is not...
References: Anonymous (1999) making a case for vitamin C. Tufts University Health & Nutritional
Letter, 17 (4), 3.
Leininger , S. (2002). The role of nutrition in wound healing. Critical Care Nursing
Quarterly, 25 (1), 13-22.
Nelson , E.A. (2003) Nutrition for optimum wound healing
Nursing Standards, 18 (6), 55.
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