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Efficacy of vitamin supplementation in situations with wound healing disorders: results from clinical intervention studies

Ellinger, Sabine; Stehle, Peter

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: November 2009 - Volume 12 - Issue 6 - p 588–595
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328331a5b5
Functional foods: Edited by Nathalie M. Delzenne and Peter Stehle

Purpose of review This review evaluates the efficacy of vitamin supplementations for prevention and treatment of pressure ulcer and surgical wounds on the basis of recent clinical intervention studies.

Recent findings Intervention studies show that an energy and protein-rich oral nutritional supplement providing high doses of vitamin C and zinc in combination with arginine may prevent the development of pressure ulcers. This measure seems to improve the healing of pressure ulcer, which is questionable for vitamin C alone. For surgical wounds, data from randomized controlled studies are scarce, but results on the use of vitamin C in combination with pantothenic acid are promising.

Summary Considerable evidence suggests that supplementation of vitamin C together with zinc by an oral nutritional supplement rich in energy, protein and arginine may be an efficient tool for pressure ulcer healing in contrast to single vitamin C. The evidence for prevention of pressure ulcer by such an oral nutritional supplement is comparably low. This fits also for single vitamin C supplementation in the healing of surgical wounds. Further, well designed and well powered studies on the benefit of antioxidant vitamins for wound healing within a diet providing adequate energy and protein are necessary.

Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences – Nutrition Physiology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Correspondence to Dr Sabine Ellinger, PhD, Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences – Nutrition Physiology, University of Bonn, Endenicher Allee 11-13, 53115 Bonn, Germany Tel: +49 228 733814; fax: +49 228 733217; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.