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Nutritional Supplements May Accelerate Wound Healing in Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU)—which is usually of vascular or neuropathic origin following trauma, pressure, or burn—is costly to treat and can cause personal pain and suffering for affected patients. In addition, the ulcers are notoriously difficult to cure, and compared to the general patient population, diabetics usually experience delayed wound healing — so much so that amputation is inevitable for about 2 percent of diabetes patients.

While researchers are aware that each patient’s nutritional status and underlying diabetic complications and comorbidities can delay healing, they have been unable to locate interventions that can improve a patient’s prognosis.

Researchers from the Department of Surgery at the University of Nevada studied the issue extensively by developing an overview of how DFUs are currently treated. As their findings confirmed the current unsatisfactory state of affairs, the investigators then studied the effectiveness of using nutritional supplement mixtures consisting of arginine, glutamine, and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) to speed up wound healing in DFUs.

The proposed basis for including those three substances in the supplement was as follows:
  • Argine, a vasodilator, reduces bacterial load and potentiates the immunologic process, contributing to infection/inflammation reversal and expediting tissue repair.
  • Glutamine stimulates protein synthesis, supports immune function, and promotes intestinal mucosal integrity.
  • HMB, a normal anabolic muscle component, controls intracellular synthesis.


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