Recovering from a surgery or injury is an uphill battle that requires proper rest, nutrition, and protection of the healing area. You’re here because you want your wound to heal more quickly, and wound healing supplements may be able to help.
The longer a wound takes to heal, the more difficult your life becomes, and the higher the likelihood that your wound gets infected or causes other health complications. Wound healing supplements are one way of many to speed up the healing process.
Supplements to promote wound healing like essential vitamins, trace minerals, and collagen can cut your recovery time by up to 20%. Of course, this supplementation should be done under the guidance of a medical health professional.
So what are the best wound healing supplements, what can they do to help you recover?
In this article, we’re going to share 15 of the best supplements for wound healing. We’ll also dive into why medical professionals use these supplements to promote wound healing, and share a few natural sources of these wound healing supplements so you can easily add them to your diet.
15 wound healing supplements to shorten your recovery time
Here are our top supplements for swift wound healing:
Collagen wound healing is a natural process in the human body, which calls upon many compounds, including L-arginine. That’s why the first item on our list of wound healing supplements is L-arginine. This amino acid is necessary for aiding in the production and repair of tissue.
That’s not the only purpose that this supplement serves. L-arginine is also converted into nitric oxide, which helps the body maintain a positive nitrogen balance. This nitrogen balance aids in collagen formation by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the wound.
L-arginine is naturally found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. However, occasionally, a person’s need for L-arginine may exceed their ability to consume it naturally. If that’s the case, supplementing with L-arginine may be beneficial.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a vital role in 100’s of bodily functions - including wound healing. As much as 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C may help anyone with an open wound heal faster.
Vitamin C intake is vital to an effective wound healing diet because of its role as a cofactor in collagen synthesis. Vitamin C and collagen work hand-in-hand to build new skin tissue and close up the wound site.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps protect cells from free radicals that may cause heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
If you want to incorporate vitamin C as one of the wound healing supplements in your diet, sun-dried tomatoes, citrus fruits, and dark green vegetables are all great sources of this powerful vitamin.
3. Vitamin D
Third on our list of wound healing supplements is vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin commonly found in food and produced through skin exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
In its active form, vitamin D, also called calcidiol or calcitriol, can aid in healing bone fractures, burn injuries, and diabetic foot ulcers.
Vitamin D is mostly generated from skin exposure to sunlight, and if you live in an area with little sun, or have a genetic vitamin D deficiency, you may benefit from vitamin D supplements. You can also find vitamin D in eggs, fatty fish, cod liver, and beef liver.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is popular among consumers that want to prevent scars and heal wounds, earning it a spot on our list of wound healing supplements.
Most medical professionals recommend using vitamin E on the skin after an injury has healed and new skin has formed. Do not use any supplements on an open wound unless it is recommended by your doctor.
The wound healing supplements on our list are generally meant to be taken orally. Consult with a doctor to determine if vitamin E or any of these potential wound healing supplements can help you topically vs orally.
In terms of your diet, nuts and seeds are the best sources of Vitamin E, with the highest concentration found in almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Zinc is required for the activation of over 300 enzymes. One of these enzymes, superoxide dismutase, helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules in cells. Other enzymes such as DNA polymerase, RNA polymerase, protease, and carbonic anhydrase also rely on zinc as a cofactor.
A deficiency in these enzymes can delay the wound healing process. This is why many regard Zinc as one of the best supplements for wound healing.
That’s not the end of it, either.
Zinc is essential in many other processes, including cell membrane stabilization, carbohydrate metabolism, and the mobilization of essential vitamins. Similar to vitamin C, Zinc decreases oxidative stress and levels of specific inflammatory proteins.
These reasons combine to form the consensus that lower zinc levels are associated with impaired wound healing.
The highest concentration sources of zinc include seafood like oysters, crab, and mussels, as well as pork, mushrooms, kale, and legumes.
Copper, an essential trace element, makes our list of wound healing supplements because of its role in numerous healing processes. For example, copper is a necessary cofactor for the formation of new blood cells.
Better blood flow usually means better wound healing since the blood brings fresh nutrients and oxygen to the wound.
Copper is also linked to improved elasticity and resistance in wounds. Its increased presence during the first few days of wound healing makes it a formidable presence in the wound healing process.
Although copper deficiency is rare, it may present itself in people with celiac disease or people with a genetic malabsorption syndrome. For this reason, doctors may prescribe copper in a regiment of wound healing supplements.
Iron plays many key roles in the wound healing process, including oxygen transport to cells, the formation of hemoglobin and collagen, mitochondrial respiration, and the breaking down of free radicals.
Unlike copper deficiency, iron deficiency is much more common, resulting in hypoxia, inflammation, and skin infections.
Luckily, iron naturally occurs in animal proteins, seafood, and poultry. Ask your doctor before incorporating wound healing supplements like iron into your diet.
8. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient. One of its roles in the body is controlling the inflammatory response. It’s also involved in epidermal turnover, where the dermal layer of skin replaces itself over time. This is important because epidermal appendages like hair follicles, nails, and sweat glands help protect the skin during the wound healing process.
Low levels of vitamin A are linked to slower wound healing and a higher susceptibility to infection. Good sources of vitamin A include beef liver, milk, leafy greens, and eggs.
Many doctors consider vitamin A as one of their go-to wound healing supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery because it promotes collagen production.
9. Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is a product comprised of eight water-soluble B vitamins:
- B-1 (thiamine)
- B-2 (riboflavin)
- B-3 (niacin)
- B-5 (pantothenic acid)
- B-6 (pyridoxine)
- B-7 (biotin)
- B-9 (folic acid)
- B-12 (cobalamin)
Water-soluble means that they dissolve in water, and the body doesn’t store them. Instead, vitamins are transported to the body’s tissues in intracellular fluids.
So what do these eight vitamins have in common regarding wound healing? B vitamins play a role in cell proliferation, which increases the number of cells. The faster this process takes place, the faster wounds can heal.
Supplementing with vitamin B complex can be especially beneficial for people that choose to exclude animal products from their diet, as eggs, dairy, and fish are the main sources of B vitamins.
10. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is known as the “blood-clotting vitamin,” and its assistance in producing 4 of the 13 proteins needed for blood clotting makes it a valuable piece in the coagulation process.
Vitamin K is actually representative of two fat-soluble vitamins, K1 and K2, found naturally in plant foods like dark leafy greens, as well as eggs and dairy.
Did you know that 99% of the body’s mineral content is Calcium? Most often associated with healthy teeth and bones, Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting. Calcium is so essential to the human body that it comprises almost 2% of it.
Following skin injury, calcium concentration in the epidermis increases, acting as a barrier while the wound heals - this is why calcium has made it onto our list of wound healing supplements.
The foods highest in calcium include tofu, milk, spinach, black eyed peas, and trout.
Selenium is a chemical element that acts as an antioxidant, helping lower inflammation and boost the immune system. Selenium is of increased importance to people with diabetes, who can use the element to accelerate the wound healing process.
Inadequate selenium levels are linked to immunosuppression, emphasizing the importance of getting adequate selenium from the diet. Selenium is naturally found in poultry, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and shellfish.
Magnesium is a chemical element that acts as a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic processes, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and collagen synthesis. Topical agents containing magnesium sulfate are known to increase collagen synthesis and angiogenesis.
Due to its analgesic effect, magnesium also eliminates the pain sensation caused by wounds.
Many people, especially athletes, are deficient in magnesium because they lose a lot through sweat. Moreover, the average person doesn’t get enough magnesium through their diet, and a deficiency can aggravate the inflammatory response and slow tissue regeneration.
The best natural sources of magnesium include nuts, hemp seeds, whole grains, greens, and dark chocolate. Magnesium is also safe to supplement in some forms when dietary needs aren’t met.
Bromelain, an enzyme found only in pineapple, has been found to reduce post-surgical swelling, bruising, and pain. Bromelain has both internal and external anti-inflammatory properties, and can trigger the body to make swelling and pain-fighting substances.
15. Collagen protein
Last, but certainly not least, is collagen protein. Many of the supplements we have mentioned on this list have been cofactors in collagen synthesis - and there is a reason we recommend all of them!
Collagen protein is what your body uses to knit your wounds back together. So, simply speaking, if you don’t have enough collagen stores in your body, it’s going to be difficult to heal your wounds effectively.
Collagen is a protein that the body makes naturally. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein in the human body. Unfortunately, our collagen production also starts to slow down every year after we hit our mid 20s.
That’s why it’s important to supplement with collagen if you aren’t getting enough from your diet. Collagen is found in animal products, so bone broth, meat, fish, and eggs are all foods high in collagen.
Unfortunately, even if you eat a lot of animal products, you might not be getting as much collagen as you think. That’s because protein in its whole form is hard for your stomach to digest.
If you want to make sure you are getting the most wound healing benefits out of collagen, the best collagen products are supplements that are hydrolyzed. This means they have gone through the chemical process of hydrolysis to break the molecules into easily digestible pieces.
You should also make sure your supplement comes from a trusted source, as most collagen products aren’t regulated by the FDA. If you can, buy a medical-grade collagen supplement like ProT Gold.
Medical-grade collagen is FDA-regulated and tested and overseen by medical professionals. ProT Gold collagen is trusted for use in thousands of clinics across America, and is the go-to liquid protein for wound healing for many doctors.
Doctors have used ProT Gold collagen products:
- As preventative wound healing supplements
- To accelerate wound healing in diabetics
- To decrease post-surgery recovery times
- To promote healthy joints
- And much, much more…
ProT Gold collagen supplements have undergone the process of hydrolysis more than once to break the molecules down to 1% of their original size. This makes the supplements fully absorbable in just 15 minutes or less.
If you are looking to take just a few wound healing supplements to get yourself back on your feet, ProT Gold should absolutely be one of them.