Proper nutrients can help speed healing after surgery

Kali Simmonds
Published on February 8, 2011

Question: I am going for knee surgery. I tend to be a slow healer and was wondering if there is anything to enhance the healing process?

Answer: Yes, there are several things and I have had many patients who were very pleased, as were their surgeons, with their post-surgery results when they took added nutrients after surgery.

Also, those who plan well ahead can build up their nutrient levels prior to surgery respecting the pre-surgery directions of what they should and should not take.

When you heal from surgery you want to minimize scar tissue inside and on the incision. You can optimize healing by using vitamin A to stimulate growth of new skin cells, vitamin C and zinc for collagen production in skin, ligaments and tendons, MSM to reduce scar tissue internally and within the incision and calendula cream with aloe and vitamin E topically once the stitches are gone to stimulate new cell growth.

I remember having a dime size cold sore on my cheek. The skin typically takes about 27 days to turnover. When I used calendula topically and took vitamin A and C and zinc internally it completely healed in one week from the time of the outbreak. I have had similar feedback from many individuals who used calendula to heal their skin from burns, including touching hot things, sunburns and even radiation burns.

Question: In your opinion what are the best practices/products to slow the aging process?

Answer: Being happy most of the time, meditation, getting adequate sleep, avoiding refined sugar and flour as much as possible, exercise, dealing with and letting go of emotional pain and eating a hunter-gatherer-type diet can help. Supplementing with a good multiple, as well as extra vitamin D, fish oil and magnesium help.

R+ Lipoic acid has shown promise in the prevention/treatment of many health issues, including antiaging, increasing insulin sensitivity, diabetic neuropathies, cataracts, glaucoma, liver disease and neurological disease such Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and ALS. It is important to use the R+ form as opposed to products which just say “alpha lipoic acid” because they are only contain half of the right kind of lipoic acid and will only stay in the body for 22 minutes if they are not sustained release which will stay in the body for eight to 10 hours.

Resveratrol is a compound found in various berries (cranberry, blueberry, grapes) and herbs. Studies with trans-resveratrol have reported a diverse range of benefits in the areas of heart health, immunity and inflammation. Research has also revealed that trans-resveratrol mimics the biological longevity effects of a calorie-restricted diet.

Time magazine did a feature on resveratrol describing it as one if not the most promising substances for anti-aging. It has been shown to slow or even reverse the aging process.

Dr.Oz recommends taking 500 mg of resveratrol per day which would be equivalent to dozens of bottles of wine. Resveratrol is being referred to by many scientists as one of the best discoveries in the past 100 years. Another anti-aging practice is the use of an infrared sauna which is very effective for detoxifying, burning hundreds of calories in a 30 minute session, boosting immunity and improving circulation.

Kali Simmonds, ND, is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practicses in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of a health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. Simmonds welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3, or by email at