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Oct 27th, 2014

Wound Healing & Amino Acids

The immune system plays a role in the early stages of wound healing.  It is responsible for preparing damaged tissue for repair and promoting the recruitment of certain cells to the wound area. Consistent with the fact that stress alters the production of cytokines, it has been discovered that the chronic stress associated with caregiving for a person with Alzheimer’s disease leads to delayed wound healing.  The research results indicate that biopsy wounds healed 25% more slowly in the chronically stressed group and in those caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, than in the unstressed control group.

Other risk factors for delayed wound healing include:

•  Arthritis

• Chronic liver disease

• Diabetes

• Excess alcohol intake

• Impaired self-caring

• Inadequate nutrition

• Inflammatory disease

• Older age (over 65 years)

• Poor circulation

• Poor cognition/cognitive dysfunction

• Smoking

• Vascular disease

• Weakened immune system

 

Opposing these risk factors, amino acids and other micronutrients are well documented for aiding in wound healing.  How?  Wound healing requires the body to replace injured tissue with new tissue, which requires increased consumption of nutrients, particularly protein and calories.  Improved nutritional status enables the body to heal wounds faster, and accelerated wound healing has actually been observed with nutritional supplementation. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein; you cannot rebuild tissue without them.  Following are some of the ways free-form amino acids aid in wound healing:

  • Nutrition profoundly influences the process of wound healing. Nutritional depletion exerts an inhibitory effect, and nutritional supplementation with such positive effectors as the amino acid arginine, can stimulate wound healing.  The use of amino acid supplements glutamine and arginine enhances wound healing and should be increased.
  • Nutritional care is cost-effective.
  • “Arginine … is involved with protein synthesis … with cell signaling through the production of nitric oxide and cell proliferation through its metabolism to the amino acid ornithine and the other polyamines.  Because of these multiple functions, arginine is an essential substrate for wound healing processes.  The requirement for this amino acid in tissue repair is highlighted.”

If you have a stubborn lesion, a burn or an ulcer, you may want to take free-form amino acid supplements for four to six weeks and note if this helps to speed the wound healing process.  However, always discuss any changes in your recovery process/approach with your health care professional.

You can learn more by reading Dr. Dan’s new book, Recharge Your Body & Mind with Amazing Amino Acids

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