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Vitamin C & Zinc for Wound Healing

By Pik Ho

Poor nutrition makes wounds take longer to heal, according to Drugs.com, which states that the most important nutrients for wound healing are protein, zinc and vitamin C. To ensure optimum wound healing, you should consume the recommended level of vitamin C and zinc through food sources. Meeting the requirement through regular foods is generally a better method than taking supplements.

Process

Immediately after injury, the wound site has an increased level of free radicals that are ready to invade your immune system, according to LifeExension. Your body, in response, reduces blood loss to prepare for healing. Lymphocytes and other immune cells arrive at the wound and and clear damaged debris, engulf and digest any bacteria. Long-term healing begins afterward by forming a new collagen network, which is the basis of scar tissue.

Function

Vitamin C generates collagen and provides extra strength and stability to collagen fibers. It is also an antioxidant, which is responsible for fighting against free radicals that are harmful to your health.

Zinc is involved in DNA synthesis, cell division, protein-synthesis, bacterial-growth inhibition, maturation of T-lymphocytes and immune response.

Food Sources

Vitamin C is abundant in fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, potatoes and broccoli.

Meat and seafoods such as beef, liver and crab are good sources of zinc. Other food sources of zinc in smaller amount are nuts, seeds, eggs, milk, wheat germ and whole-grain products.

Adverse Effects

According to a study published in "Annals of Long Term Care" in 2010, higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin C and zinc can cause problems. Side effects of high vitamin C levels include nausea, diarrhea, uricosuria and uric acid stones. Although acute zinc toxicity is rare, routine high doses of zinc supplementation can cause copper deficiency, immunosuppression and gastrointestinal distress.

Considerations

If you eat a balanced diet, there is no need to take supplements. In fact, misuse of supplements may lead to overdose. The recommended daily allowance for elemental zinc is 15 milligrams per day, whereas supplements contain 20 or 25 milligrams. Ask your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid possible overdose.

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