The Role of Nutrition in Wound Healing: Overview

Wound Healing, Nutrition for wound healing


Wound healing is a process that involves the body’s natural mechanisms of repairing damaged tissues. In the wound-healing process, the injured tissues are replaced by new tissue produced by the body. Nutrition consumption is one of the most important factors that significantly influence the speed and effectiveness of the healing process. 

When the body sustains a wound, stress hormones are released, and there are metabolic changes for supplying nutrients to the injured area for healing. This process is known as the catabolic phase, and if it is prolonged or the body fails to provide adequate nutrition for healing, it results in protein energy malnutrition (PEM). 

In this blog, we will learn about the role of nutrition in the wound healing process.

What are the phases of wound healing?

Phases of wound healing include:

  • Inflammatory phase: In this phase, neutrophils, monocytes, and other inflammatory cells enable phagocytosis and remove bacteria, leading to the ultimate wound cleaning and typically lasts up to 6 days.
  • Proliferative phase: The proliferative phase starts in 5-7 days after injury. New blood vessels (angiogenesis) form, and fibroblast cells begin paving a collagen network for stabilizing the wound and preparing it for epithelization (the process of covering the denuded epithelial surface).
  • Remodeling phase: The wound started maturing and remodeling the collagen formed during the proliferative phase, which takes over 12 months.
  • Maturation phase: The newly formed tissues gradually gain strength and flexibility, and the collagen is continuously remolded, resulting in the scar tissue becoming less noticeable.

What are the effects of nutritional deficiencies on wound healing?

Effects of nutrition deficiencies in wound healing involve:

  • Protein: Protein deficiency results in delayed wound healing impairs the proliferative phase of fibroblast proliferation and reduces collagen production and overall tissue formation.
  • Carbohydrate: The synthesis of adenosis triphosphate(ATP) is impaired by carbohydrate deficiency.
  • Vitamin C deficiency: Insufficient vitamin C slows down the wound matrix formation, which leads to a delay in healing.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency: Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency results in chronic inflammation and hinders the healing process. 
  • Zinc deficiency: Lack of zinc increases the wound site infection risk and slows the healing process.
  • Vitamin A deficiency: Vitamin A impairs the body’s ability to infection on the wound site and weakens the immune system.

Nutrition for Wound Healing

Macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fluids and micronutrients like vitamins and amino acids are beneficial for wound healing and provide the necessary raw material to repair and rebuild damaged tissue for wound healing.

Macronutrients and micronutrients for wound healing include:

  • Protein: Protein works as the building blocks for tissues, enables fibroblast proliferation and collagen production and maintains and repairs body tissues. Red and white meats, eggs, fish, dairy products, soya beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are high-quality protein sources promoting wound healing.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates promote insulin production, which is essential during the proliferative phase of wound healing for supporting anabolic processes. Energy is released by carbohydrates, facilitating inflammation, collagen synthesis, angiogenesis and increasing cellular activities. 
  • Fats: Mono- and polyunsaturated fats provide additional energy for healing chronic wounds like inflammation, angiogenesis, collagen synthesis, and cellular proliferation. The demand for essential fatty acids increases after injury, which are significant components of cell membranes.
  • Amino acids: L-arginine and glutamine are amino acids that play critical roles in structural protein synthesis. Arginine is a precursor to nitric acid, which aids the inflammatory responses. Glutamine helps minimize the risk of infectious complications and inflammatory injury for patients with chronic wounds and also gives energy.
  • Zinc: Zinc affects immunity and aids fibroblast proliferation, collagen synthesis, and epithelization, promotes skin cell production, and reduces wound strength. Shellfish, red meat, milk products, poultry, and eggs are good sources of zinc.
  • Iron: The iron (hemoglobin) provides oxygen to the wound site, boosts collagen production, and strengthens the wound. Offal fish, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, red meat, dried fruits, nuts, and yeast extracts are the best sources of iron.
  • Hydration: Hydration maintains the skin elasticity, improves blood circulation and helps supply oxygen and nutrients to the wound.  

Vitamins for wound healing

Vitamins are responsible for several enzymatic processes that improve wound outcomes.

  • Vitamins A: The proliferation of melanocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and epithelial cells by binding itself to retinoic acid receptors has been regulated by vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A also plays a role in the functioning of B and T cells.
  • Vitamin B: B1( thiamine), B2(riboflavin), B3(niacin), B6(pyridoxine), folic acid, and pantothenate are essential factors that facilitate anabolic processes for wound healing and enzymatic reactions for leukocyte formation.
  • Vitamin C: The production of free radicals is prevented by vitamin C supplements, and it also synthesizes collagen production, cellular migration, and transformation, which increases the rate of wound healing.

Consult Professor Dr. Robert Hierner for wound care in Dubai

 Proessor. Dr. Robert Hierner is among the most distinguished plastic and reconstruction surgeons in Dubai. He has a broad educational background in national and international top centers encompassing more than 30 years of experience. 

He has an international reputation as a wound care specialist in Dubai and a pioneer in the development of holistic wound care in Dubai delivered by a multidisciplinary and multi-professional team.

Book an appointment today.