Saturday, July 26, 2014

Micronutrient Deficiencies May Slow Down Wound Healing

Wound care is the process by which the skin repairs itself following any kind of injury, whether it’s the smallest paper cut or a major traumatic injury. Many common childhood injuries require either basic or advanced wound care - including scrapes and skin punctures due to common playground accidents, or surgical incisions for common surgeries such as appendectomies.

Basic topical wound care, such as regularly changing bandages and keeping the cut clean and dry, is common knowledge. But the role nutrition plays in aiding wound care in children is less well known.

Proper nutrition during wound care is vital for effective healing. If the body is suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiencies, it could lack the correct building blocks that enable effective wound healing. Diet can affect how fast a wound heals, how strong the wound tissue becomes and how well the body fights off infection. A poor diet can turn a normal wound into a chronic one that never heals.

There is a lack of consensus regarding nutritional guidelines for wound healing because there have been no generally accepted guidelines governing optimal nutrition to aid the wound healing process for children or adults.

Against this background, a recent study published the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice sought to create evidence and consensus-based recommendations on optimal nutrition guidelines that would support wound healing in children. The study’s researchers were also trying to understand whether micronutrient deficiencies affect wound healing in children.

As a result of an initial meta-analysis of the current research, 6 articles were found that addressed the researchers’ clinical questions, and based on this information, they formulated 5 clinical recommendations. The researchers applied these recommendations to the care of 49 patients from December 5, 2011, to December 5, 2012.

According to the study:
Evidence supported evaluating patients for vitamin C, zinc, and protein deficiency. Of the patients where laboratory values were checked, 9 patients were zinc deficient (33%) and 12 patients were vitamin C deficient (48%).
The implementation of the researchers’ recommendations has led to increased awareness and testing for micronutrient deficiencies in children undergoing wound care treatment. In addition, there is closer monitoring of nutrition status and intake during the wound healing process.

This is an interesting study that will hopefully further the case for an international consensus on proper nutritional guidelines for wound care and other medical issues. We look forward to continued research into the impact of nutrition on disease and wound care.

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