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What is the Connection Between Nutrition and Wound Healing?

By Vanessa Harvey
Updated May 17, 2024
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Nutrition and wound healing are closely connected because wounds cannot heal properly or at all if proper nutrition is not supplied to the body. Vitamins, minerals, various types of proteins and essential fatty acids are considered nutrients, but nutrition and wound healing involve more than just knowing what nutrients are and the options for obtaining them. Almost all of the tissues of the body can be repaired by the body itself if it is supplied with the nutrients it needs to repair and rebuild what has been damaged. This is the healing process.

Another interesting aspect of the connection between nutrition and wound healing is that, without proper nutrition, wounds are more easily sustained. It therefore might be said that malnourished organisms are more susceptible to the development of wounds of various types. Some situations and conditions affect the connection between nutrition and wound healing in the aspect that nutritional requirements can depend not only on the type of organism in question but also on the condition in which the body is found. For example, if a pregnant woman sustains injuries that produce wounds, her nutritional requirements are higher than those of another woman who is not expecting.

Learning the vital roles that nutrients play in the very complex process of keeping a body healthy helps one comprehend the strong connection between nutrition and wound healing. For example, vitamin A, also known as retinol, is essential to the growth and development of strong bones and teeth and is beneficial to the health of the mucus-secreting cells that line the intestinal, urinary and respiratory tracts. Bones, teeth and mucous membranes are tissues of the body that can sustain injury. The longer a wound lingers, the greater the chances are for infection. One of signs of a vitamin A deficiency is slow wound healing.

The connection between nutrition and wound healing is evident in the practices of all-natural medicine as well as conventional medical practices. For example, older people who suffer from slow wound healing might have their diet modified by a doctor to include a higher intake of protein, if their state of health will allow it. Vitamin C, like vitamin A, also is important in the connection between nutrition and wound healing because it is essential for the formation of collagen, which is a protein that helps to bind tissue cells together, resulting in healthy teeth, bones, skin and tendons. It also helps to fight infections, which is an indirect link between nutrition and wound healing.

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Discussion Comments

By irontoenail — On Feb 05, 2012

@browncoat - You never want to underestimate the ability of the body to heal itself in any circumstances.

One of my friends spent a summer planting trees in Canada, which is extremely tough work.

He always liked telling people about how he managed to heal the wounds that developed on his palms from using the shovels.

Because every time he worked during the day, the wound would get torn open again. So he had a chance to see the stages of wound healing when that kept happening.

He said the granulation just continued even without a scab and eventually the wound healed. He was being well fed and had a vitamin every day as well, so maybe that helped.

By browncoat — On Feb 04, 2012

@umbra21 - Actually, I think you're better off just trying to keep up a generally varied and healthy diet if you are recovering from an injury and need to pay attention to nutrition for wound healing.

I don't think any one nutritional supplement is more important than any other really, they all play a role in healing. If nothing else, you want to keep your immune system up to fight infection and you want to keep the rest of your body working well so that you feel good.

You never want to discount the ability of the body to heal itself if it is given the proper care and if the person feels good and healthy.

By umbra21 — On Feb 04, 2012

I've heard that one of the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency, also know as scurvy, is that old scars and wounds will reopen.

It makes sense that vitamin C is involved in collagen production then, because a lack of that is probably what reopens the wounds.

I'm not sure if it refers to older wounds which have been healed for a long time though. I do know that one of the later symptoms of scurvy is a lot of open wounds but I'm not sure if those form from old scars or just randomly.

Of course, it's pretty difficult to get scurvy in the modern world, since vitamin C is in most fresh fruit as well as being used as a preservative in soft drinks and candies. So you'd have to try pretty hard to get it.

But I imagine taking a vitamin C supplement if you are recovering from a wound wouldn't hurt.

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