After you've emerged from surgery, your body's tissues and cells need extra nourishment to heal. Several specific vitamins might help promote healing so you can quickly return to doing the things you love. However, every medical situation is different, and some vitamins might interact with certain drugs. Talk to your physician before adding a vitamin supplement to your post-surgery lifestyle.
Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, is critical for your body's ability to synthesize collagen and connective tissues. Thus, it's extremely important for promoting rapid healing of wounds, with poor wound healing often linked to vitamin C deficiencies, warns the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements. For example, a 2001 research study in the "Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery" medical journal reports that, in animal testings, vitamin C supplementation promoted faster healing of fractured bones. Additionally, the "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care" journal in 2009 noted that vitamin C supplementation in humans, administered alongside protein and zinc supplementation, helped with the healing of surgical wounds.
Vitamin E, in doses ranging from 400 to 800 IU daily, might help stimulate wound healing, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Applied topically, it might even help encourage new skin to grow, such as in the cases of topical skin burns. Even after the surgical wound has healed, topical use of vitamin E might even help minimize scar tissue.
Vitamin D encourages muscle and tissue strength and regeneration, which might help patients experience improved recovery after surgery, according to the Intermountain Medical Group. This might be due to the way the vitamin helps increase the performance of body tissues. For example, a 2009 study in the "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" journal notes that vitamin D supplementation increased muscle fibers and led to increased physical and athletic performance in athletes.
Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, can help improve the speed at which wounds regenerate and heal, "especially following surgery," says the University of Maryland Medical Center. This can affect post-surgery recovery throughout the body -- even in the mouth. In a double-blind 2005 study published in the "Journal of Periodontology," researchers noted that taking a vitamin B complex supplement encouraged periodontal wound healing in a "statistically significant" way.
- U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- "Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery"; "The Contribution of Vitamin C to Healing of Experimental Fractures"; C. Yilmaz et al.; July 2001
- "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care"; "Efficacy of Vitamin Supplementation with Wound Healing"; S. Ellinger et al.; November 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; "Wounds"; Steven Ehrlich; June 2010
- Intermountain Medical Group; "Can Vitamin D Reduce Muscular Weakness"; July 2010
- "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise"; "Athletic Performance and Vitamin D"; J.J. Cannell et al.; May 2009