The following quotes are from the Journal of Dental Research, "Factors Affecting Wound Healing", March 2010.
"For more than 100 years, nutrition has been recognized as a very important factor that affects wound healing....
Protein is one of the most important nutrient factors affecting wound healing. A deficiency of protein can impair capillary formation, fibroblast proliferation, proteoglycan synthesis, collagen synthesis, and wound remodeling. A deficiency of protein also affects the immune system, with resultant decreased leukocyte phagocytosis and increased susceptibility to infection (Gogia, 1995). Collagen is the major protein component of connective tissue and is composed primarily of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Collagen synthesis requires hydroxylation of lysine and proline, and co-factors such as ferrous iron and vitamin C. Impaired wound healing results from deficiencies in any of these co-factors (Campos et al., 2008)....
The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on wound healing are not conclusive. They have been reported to affect pro-inflammatory cytokine production, cell metabolism, gene expression, and angiogenesis in wound sites (McDaniel et al., 2008; Shingel et al., 2008). The true benefit of omega-3 fatty acids may be in their ability to improve the systemic immune function of the host, thus reducing infectious complications and improving survival (Arnold and Barbul, 2006)...
Vitamin C has many roles in wound healing, and a deficiency in this vitamin has multiple effects on tissue repair. Vitamin C deficiencies result in impaired healing, and have been linked to decreased collagen synthesis and fibroblast proliferation, decreased angiogenesis, and increased capillary fragility. Also, vitamin C deficiency leads to an impaired immune response and increased susceptibility to wound infection (Arnold and Barbul, 2006; Campos et al., 2008). Similarly, vitamin A deficiency leads to impaired wound healing...
Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been suggested to have a role in decreasing excess scar formation in chronic wounds. Animal experiments have indicated that vitamin E supplementation is beneficial to wound healing (Arnold and Barbul, 2006; Burgess, 2008), and topical vitamin E has been widely promoted as an anti-scarring agent. However, clinical studies have not yet proved a role for topical vitamin E treatment in improving healing outcomes (Khoosal and Goldman, 2006)...
Several micronutrients have been shown to be important for optimal repair. Magnesium functions as a co-factor for many enzymes involved in protein and collagen synthesis, while copper is a required co-factor for cytochrome oxidase, for cytosolic anti-oxidant superoxide dismutase, and for the optimal cross-linking of collagen. Zinc is a co-factor for both RNA and DNA polymerase, and a zinc deficiency causes a significant impairment in wound healing. Iron is required for the hydroxylation of proline and lysine, and, as a result, severe iron deficiency can result in impaired collagen production (Shepherd, 2003; Arnold and Barbul, 2006; Campos et al., 2008)...
As indicated above, the nutritional needs of the wound are complex, suggesting that composite nutrition support would benefit both acute and chronic wound healing. A recent clinical research study examined the effects of a high-energy, protein-enriched supplement containing arginine, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc on chronic pressure ulcers and indicated that this high-energy and nutrition-enriched supplement improved overall healing of the pressure ulcer (Heyman et al., 2008). In summary, proteins, carbohydrates, arginine, glutamine, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron play a significant role in wound healing, and their deficiencies affect wound healing. Additional studies will be needed to fully understand how nutrition affects the healing response."
That article was rich in big medical and scientific words. But the parts I picked out give a clear understanding of nutrition and wound healing.
The next article comes from The University of Maryland Medical Center website information on Burns:
"Following these tips may improve your healing and general health.
- Eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers). One study found that high doses of vitamin C post burn reduced fluid requirements by 40%, reduced burn tissue water content 50%, and reduced ventilator days.
- Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
- Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold water fish, tofu (soy) or beans for protein.
- Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Drink 6 - 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
- A daily multivitamin, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins and trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 - 2 capsules or 1 tablespoonful oil, 1 - 2 times daily, to help reduce inflammation, and for healing and immunity. Cold-water fish, such as salmon or halibut, are good sources, but you may need a supplement to get a higher dose. Omega-3 fatty acids can interact with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin, and may decrease clotting time.
- Vitamin C (1,000 mg 2 - 6 times per day) helps skin heal by enhancing new tissue growth and strength. Lower dose if diarrhea develops. You should use vitamin C only under a physician's guidance if you have cancer, certain blood iron disorders, kidney stones, diabetes, and a metabolic deficiency called "glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency" (G6PDD).
- Vitamin E (400 - 800 IU a day) promotes healing. May be used topically once the burn has healed and new skin has formed. Higher doses may help in healing burns. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E if you are scheduled to have surgery. Vitamin E can interact with certain medications, including, but not limited to antiplatelet / anticoagulant drugs. Speak with your doctor.
- Coenzyme Q10, 100 - 200 mg at bedtime, for antioxidant and immune activity. Coenzyme Q10 may have a blood-clotting effect and can interact with blood-thinning medications (anticoagulant / antiplatelet drugs).
- L-glutamine, 500 - 1,000 mg 3 times daily, for support of gastrointestinal health and immunity. Glutamine in high doses can affect mood particularly in patients with mania. There is some concern that people who are sensitive to MSG (monosodium glutamate) may also be sensitive to Glutamine. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy, severe liver disease with confusion, or a history of seizures, should not take Glutamine. Glutamine can interact with certain medications, so speak with your physician.
- Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 - 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day. Taking antibiotics can upset the balance of bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics or "friendly" bacteria can help restore the balance, improving gastrointestinal and immune health. Some clinicians have raised concerns about giving probiotics to severely immunocompromised patients. More research is needed. Refrigerate your probiotic supplements for best results.
HerbsMinor burns may be treated with herbs, but you should never take or apply any herb when you have moderate to severe burns. Call for emergency help first. Never apply herbs to an open wound.
Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
These herbs may be applied topically (externally) to minor burns:
- Aloe (Aloe vera), as a cream or gel. Apply externally to the burned area, 3 - 4 times daily as needed, for soothing and healing.
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis), or pot marigold, as an ointment or a tea applied topically. To make tea from tincture, use 1/2 to 1 tsp. diluted in 1/4 cup water. You can also steep 1 tsp. of flowers in one cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain and cool. Test skin first for any allergic reaction.
- Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) as a cream containing 1% of the herb, may help repair skin tissue.
- Propolis, a resin created by bees to build their hives, has been used historically to treat skin wounds. One study found that people given propolis to apply to minor burns healed as well as those treated with silver sulfadiazine, a prescription ointment. More research is needed, however. If you use propolis for a minor burn, test skin first for any reaction. Do not use propolis if you are allergic to bee products or salicylates.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses controlled, low voltage electrical stimulation of the skin to relieve pain. Recent studies have suggested that TENS applied to acupuncture points (called electroacupuncture) on the ear (auricular acupuncture) may relieve pain for people with burns.
Massage and Physical TherapyMassage Therapy
People with burns suffer pain, itching, and anxiety both from the burn itself and during the healing of wounds. Some studies suggest that massage may help ease these symptoms in both the emergency care and recovery phases. People receiving a massage reported significantly less itching, pain, anxiety, and depressed mood compared to those who received standard care only. Ask your doctor before using massage after a burn...
HomeopathyAlthough few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies in the treatment of burns, professional homeopaths may consider the following measures to treat first- and second- degree burns, and to aid recovery from any burn. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person’s constitutional type -- your physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for each individual.
- Place the burned area in cold water until the pain goes away (this generally takes at least a few minutes).
- Arnica Montana -- taken orally immediately after the burn.
- Calendula -- apply to the skin for first-degree burns and sunburns. This remedy is sometimes considered the treatment of choice for children. Calendula may also be used in the healing stages of second- and third-degree burns to stimulate regrowth of skin and to decrease scar formation.
- Hypericum perforatum -- used on the skin if there are sharp, shooting pains with the burn.
- Urtica urens -- taken orally for stinging pains, itching, and swelling of first-degree burns. A cream or gel may also be applied to the skin for first-degree burns and sunburns. This remedy may be used for children.
- Causticum -- taken orally for burning pains with great rawness (as from an open wound) or when there are long term physical or emotional symptoms after a burn.
- Phosphorus -- taken by mouth for electrical burns, especially if the individual is easily startled and excitable.
Several studies suggest that hypnosis may reduce pain and anxiety and enhance relaxation in people with burns.
Therapeutic touch (TT) is based on the theory that the body, mind, and emotions form a complex energy field. Therapists seek to correct the body's imbalances by moving their hands just over the body, what they call "the laying on of hands." This practice has been used for a number of conditions including pain and anxiety, but studies have shown conflicting results. One study of patients hospitalized for severe burns suggests that TT may reduce pain and anxiety associated with burns.
Source: Burns | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/burns#ixzz2bcamXZ6d
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I included a few things not directly related to diet but thought they were important to include. There are hundreds of other sources I could site. But I wanted to provide a bit of evidence that diet has in healing. From my standpoint, where you get your food is equally important. Grass fed beef is better than regular beef at the store. Organic eggs and chicken are better than non-organic. Local produce from farms are better that produce trucked in from another part of the country. The evidence from that is provided through the Weston A Price Foundation from many scientists and doctors. You can visit them at http://www.westonaprice.org/. For sources for raw milk and organic dairy and meat you can visit http://www.realmilk.com/. That website offers sources of raw milk in the U.S. and many other countries.
I personally am embarking on the GAPS diet to help heal my gut and in the process heal my immune system and skin. (http://www.gapsdiet.com/) I will be starting it in a few days and am prepared for my skin to actually get worse - my theory being that the body will have more nutrients for healing therefore healing more areas at once making my symptoms worse but for a shorter duration than if I continued with my regular way of healing. This is not based on any scientific research - just my own observations of others and my own thinking.