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Antioxidant micronutrients may benefit trauma patients

January 10, 2014

According to a new US study, increased intakes of micronutrients, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C and D, are recommended for trauma patients with wound-healing problems, as they seem to have higher nutrient requirements and increased oxidative stress.

The observational study measured blood concentrations of several micronutrients as well as oxidative stress and inflammation markers in 44 trauma patients with disorders in wound healing (1). The study results showed that the majority of patients showed micronutrient levels below the recommended range: 86% of patients had insufficient levels of beta-carotene, 71% had low levels of selenium, 64% of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and 59% of vitamin D. In addition, plasma antioxidant capacity was decreased, indicating elevated levels of oxidative stress.

The researchers commented that trauma patients with problems in wound healing frequently suffer from reduced plasma concentrations of several micronutrients probably due to inflammation, increased require- ment of micronutrients and oxidative burden. Thus, adequate nutritional measures are strongly recommend- ed to trauma patients. An insufficient intake of micronutrients may lead to intra-/extracellular deficiencies resulting in an imbalance of pro- and antioxidants, which exerts cytotoxic effects and, consequently, may impair wound healing. In addition, it is known that several vitamins and trace elements, such as vitamins A, C and D and zinc, are involved in collagen synthesis and cell division, which are important for the wound-healing process. Disorders in wound healing are frequently observed post-surgically in patients with vascular diseases and soft tissue trauma.

References

  1. Blass S. C. et al. Extracellular micronutrient levels and pro-/antioxidant status in trauma patients with wound healing disorders: results of a cross-sectional study. Nutrition Journal. 2013; 12:157.