Our bodies have an incredible natural capacity to heal tissue damage after surgery. However, age, nutrition, and overall health can affect how long that recovery takes. Therefore, giving your body the best vitamins for wound healing after surgery is critical for bouncing back quickly.
Your post-surgery process may involve exercise, physiotherapy, and wound dressings, but more and more studies emphasize the need for proper nutrition.
Finding the best vitamins for wound healing after surgery can be challenging without proper guidance. It's important to look for clean foods - free of any additives or toxins that can delay healing.
If you’re on the hunt for the best wound healing diet, this blog will look closely at the supplements & vitamins that may help with wound healing after surgery. But before we get into our list, let’s discuss the critical factors that determine how your surgical wounds heal.
How surgical sounds heal
Most surgical wounds heal within a few weeks, depending on how large the operation is, and they typically go through four primary stages of healing.
Immediately after the incision is made, platelets form around the open wound to stop bleeding and prevent further cell damage. This is called the hemostasis phase, and it occurs when the cut is still fresh.
The next stage, inflammation, is how the body prevents infection and further bleeding. During this phase, white blood cells and enzymes enter the wound area to clear out debris and bacteria to prepare the area for new tissue growth.
The third stage, cell proliferation, begins from three days to a week after you leave the operating table. During this stage, the body gets busy rebuilding the wounded area with new collagen fibers and networks of blood vessels - effectively filling in the wound.
Finally, is the maturation stage around the one-month mark. In this stage, all the new collagen protein fibers will be slowly realigned to make your scar tissue smoother and stronger over time. This process can take up to one year to complete.
If this timeline doesn’t seem to describe your case, and you’re wondering what to do if a wound won’t heal, please consult your doctor. You can also boost your natural healing process with daily supplements and the right vitamins for wound healing after surgery.
But what would be affecting your wound healing in the first place? Let’s look at a few things that can slow wound healing down.
Factors that can affect the wound healing process
Age, health, nutrition, and underlying conditions can affect your body's capacity to heal. Whether your wound heals after three weeks or three months will depend on these key factors.
Age has a major effect on how the body performs, including the structure and function of the skin. As you grow older, collagen production in the body slows. This means that there are less stores of collagen to create new skin and form tissue fibers.
As a net result, your body starts to lose the ability to recover, which can also affect wound healing. This means that the older you get, the longer it takes to go through the healing stages.
A balanced diet mixed with vitamins for wound healing after surgery can help to ensure that you bring your body back to good health. Conversely, if you’re not getting a balanced diet, it can slow wound healing down.
Many whole foods are missing the essential nutrients and vitamins for wound healing after surgery, such as vitamin C and collagen, that aid in faster recovery.
Unfortunately, certain medical conditions can affect your body's natural ability to heal. A weakened immune system will cause your wounds to take longer to heal, turning an acute wound into a chronic one.
In addition, people with diabetes also suffer from slow healing wounds, which can cause fatal complications.
Cardiovascular issues such as low blood pressure or heart disease can increase the risk of slow wound healing. When there is a decrease in blood flow, this will slow down cell repair and cause tissue damage.
Luckily, no matter your age or health, you can help your body heal more efficiently by providing it with a balanced diet of primary vitamins for wound healing after surgery.
Seven supplements & vitamins for wound healing after surgery
If you’ve ever wondered, “what can I eat to make my wound heal faster?” - this list of the best supplements and vitamins for wound healing after surgery is for you. Here are our favorite healing supplements:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that aids collagen formulation and is one of the main vitamins for wound healing after surgery.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that improves bodily function for quick healing and recovery. It is essential for your body’s immune response and general metabolism as well.
Vitamin C wound healing properties help to reduce inflammation and protect skin cells from damage. This powerful vitamin can also support the connective tissues in your skin, muscle, and blood vessels to promote healing.
When undertaking vitamin C wound healing, you can add oranges, grapefruit, blackcurrants, and strawberries to your diet. You can also find vitamin C in vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, kale, spinach, or brussels sprouts.
Studies have also shown that high vitamin C levels assist wound healing and reduce raised scar formation. You can take up to 2,000 mg as part of a vitamin C wound healing regimen. Some doctors also recommend a dosage of 1-2 grams of vitamin C daily for post-surgery recovery.
Zinc is a trace element that works well with other necessary vitamins for wound healing after surgery. The role of zinc in wound healing can be found in cell replication and migration, protein synthesis, and cell repair.
Zinc also supports the healing process through membrane repair, oxidative stress, coagulation, immune defense, and tissue re-epithelialization.
If you don’t get enough zinc in your diet, the deficiency can actually result in impaired wound healing. Conversely, high levels of zinc can have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce inflammation levels after surgery.
You can find Zinc naturally in meat, shellfish, nuts, seeds, dairy, and eggs, so you may not need a zinc supplement. Maintaining a completely balanced diet will boost your zinc levels, but you can consult your doctor to see if a zinc supplement may be beneficial for you.
3. Vitamin K
Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins for wound healing after surgery and overall health maintenance. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and rebuilding bone.
Without vitamin K's blood clotting function, it will be difficult to stop a wound from bleeding after surgery, which can seriously increase complications. Many people who use blood thinners need a stable vitamin K supplement to ensure normal blood clotting and bone health.
Supplements like vitamins K1 (phytonadione) and K2 (menaquinone) are commonly used for wound healing. In addition, vitamin K is prevalent in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Some doctors may recommend vitamin K supplements as vitamins for wound healing after surgery for patients with hemophilia. If you're using vitamin K supplements, you can start with 1-2 grams daily and follow your doctor's recommendation.
Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapple fruit extracts that is used for reducing pain and inflammation. The FDA has approved Bromelain as a safe food additive, and as such, it's commonly found in wellness vitamins for wound healing after surgery.
This powerful enzyme provides a strong anti-inflammatory response to help reduce muscle or tissue swelling following surgery. Some studies have also shown that Bromelain helps reduce pain and healing time for soft-tissue wounds.
Bromelain is typically found in pineapple juice and pineapple stem. However, it is commercially available in powder, capsule, or liquid vitamins for wound healing after surgery. An average dose of 80 to 300 mg of bromelain is recommended two to three times a day.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the general name for retinoids, consisting of fat-soluble essential micronutrients that typically occur in plant pigments. It is recognized as one of the top vitamins for wound healing after surgery to control the inflammatory response.
Research is still ongoing on the role of vitamin A wound healing, but it is believed that it is beneficial for epithelial and bone tissue development, cellular differentiation, and immune system function. It is also believed that low vitamin A levels can lead to delayed wound healing and an increased risk of infection.
If you want to try vitamin A wound healing, you can find this vitamin in eggs, kale, carrots, squash, oranges, red fruits, and dark green vegetables.
We recommend consulting with your doctor before trying vitamin A wound healing supplements. It is also best to follow an average dose of 750-770 mcg daily to get the best results.
Iron is a trace element that often interacts with vitamins for wound healing after surgery to aid in fast recovery. Iron is essential for hemoglobin formulation and helps to carry oxygen to injury sites to strengthen wounds.
The latest study showed that iron deficiency can impair skin remodeling and prevent collagen production, which is necessary for healing. Iron deficiency can also affect wound healing due to hypoxia and decreased bactericidal effects of leukocytes.
Iron is mainly found in food sources such as red meats, offal, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and yeast extracts.
If you want to try our iron supplements, a dose of about 15 to 20 mg daily is recommended for adults, and you can lower your iron supplement dose once the wound is fully healed.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found in your skin, ligaments, tendons, teeth, bones, connective tissues, and more!
Is collagen good for you? Well, as mentioned above, it is absolutely vital in the process of wound healing. So, if you are recovering from surgery (and even if you aren’t) the answer is a resounding YES!
Many clinical trials support collagen wound healing. It can help speed up your body’s natural healing process, and taking collagen supplements can even boost your own collagen production.
You will commonly find collagen wound healing dressings used in medical facilities to improve healing, but collagen wound healing can also start from the inside out.
Collagen may be among the best vitamins for wound healing after surgery. You can get collagen from animal products like meat, bone broth, and gelatin, but the very best way to ensure swift wound healing is through a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
Hydrolyzed collagen for surgical wound healing
Of all the vitamins for wound healing after surgery, hydrolyzed collagen truly stands out. That’s because collagen is one of the main components of the wound healing process, and providing your body with more of it will directly aid healing after surgery.
The final puzzle piece will be finding the RIGHT collagen supplement to your diet. Some collagen supplements contain unhealthy sweeteners or additives, or are just plain impossible to digest properly.
A hydrolyzed collagen supplement, also referred to as “collagen peptides,” is specially formulated for easy digestion. It has undergone the chemical process of hydrolysis to break the collagen molecules down into smaller, more bioavailable pieces.
When it comes to vitamins for wound healing after surgery, we strongly recommend a hydrolyzed collagen supplement like ProT Gold. ProT Gold nano-hydrolyzed collagen is proven to achieve full digestion in just 15 minutes or less, ensuring you can make the most of collagen’s healing benefits.
What’s more, ProT Gold is actually a medical-grade collagen. This means it is regulated by the FDA, overseen by medical professionals, and is certified safe to use in medical nutrition.
Best yet, ProT Gold collagen is available in both powder and liquid form, so it is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. With a simple daily dose of ProT Gold collagen, you can rest easy knowing that you are directly supporting your body's natural healing process.