Do you enjoy watching Grey’s Anatomy, House or other medical shows on TV? Perhaps the reason medical shows are so popular is because a large percentage of us will go “under the knife” for some type of surgery, whether major or minor and if not you, a family member or friend will. Here’s a way to use nutrients to help reduce healing time and possible complications.
Let’s look at the rationale as to why pre- and post-operative nutrients are essential. Think about the last time you visited someone in the hospital. Have you ever left a hospital feeling recharged or revitalized? Personally, I feel drained when I get back in my car. If that’s the feeling the visitor gets, how about the patient? The stress, worry and anxiety are multiplied when you are the one going through a procedure.
My cousin had a stroke about 6 years ago and in the same year my other cousin died of stomach cancer, so I still have some vivid memories about the experience. Confusion and stress were my first emotions. “Where to go, who to see, where is the doctor on call, has the doctor been called, what tests have been ordered, what’s taking so long.” So right off the bat we can see a need to support the adrenal glands.
What are some of the other factors to consider? Many patients are depleted of vital nutrients before they get to the hospital which could be one of the reasons why they are there. While in the hospital, depending on the patient and quality of care, a patient’s diet may still be deficient of nutrients.
Routinely patients will receive electrolyte fluids which have the potential of further depleting magnesium and possibly thiamine. Keep in mind patients are injured by the surgical procedure itself. Also, a patient has to detoxify the anesthesia drugs that are used to perform the testing or surgery. A good night sleep is a rare commodity during a hospital stay. Nurses may be in and out, and lack of sleep can be an added stress. Also your immune system may be compromised because in any hospital there are plenty of germs to go around.
Both stress and injury require an increased caloric need for adequate recovery and rehabilitation. Caloric need alone is increased by 30 to 50%. I start by evaluating a patient’s nutrient status 4-6 weeks before surgery. If the patient is elderly, their nutrient status may already be marginal. But you don’t have to be elderly to be deficient.
My point in discussing these factors is to help you realize maintaining adequate levels of basic nutrients and trace minerals, along with vitamin C, zinc, essential fatty acids and proteolytic enzymes can mean fewer days in the hospital, a reduction in the risk of infection or secondary disease, and a faster recovery. Basic nutrients and trace minerals are needed for tissue repair and wound healing.
Vitamin C is one of the most important single nutrients; it is effective for any kind of stress and known for wound healing and healthy scar formation. However, large doses of vitamin C (over 1,000 mg per day) should not be taken 12-24 hours prior to surgery as it may interfere with anesthesia.
Also Zinc is a critical pre- and post-nutrient. Zinc plays a role in wound healing through its effects on nucleic acid and protein synthesis and enhances immune function. Because Western diets are borderline low in Zinc, increased Zinc is needed for tissue healing.
Essential fatty acids are needed to modulate pain, reduce inflammation and enhance immune function.
Proteolytic enzymes can enhance healing by improving drainage and facilitating the removal of damaged cells which allows oxygen and nutrients to reach the site of injury faster. Proteolytic enzymes when taken properly can reduce healing time by as much as 50%. That’s half the recovery time. If you’ve ever felt the pain and stiffness from surgery, think what that could mean.
If you or someone you know is going in for surgery, consult with Dr. Godo far in advance. Ask about pre- and post-operative nutrients. Dr. Godo can show you which nutrients are effective and recommend the dosage that is right for you. Building your nutritional reserves for surgery can set you up for a safe and speedy recovery. And honestly, it’s the smart thing to do.