Can you accelerate the process of healing and wound repair? Regardless of whether it was incurred from injury, burn, an inflammatory process, rash, or surgical incision, can you hasten the coagulation, entry of inflammatory cells, proliferation of skin and other cells, and laying down of structural tissue?
Yes, you can. It is possible to not only cut healing time in about half, but to also improve the integrity of the healed area with greater collagen content, less inflammation.
There are a handful of strategies that accelerate and improve the process of wound healing. They are:
- Boost oxytocin—We know that our L. reuteri yogurt provokes release of oxytocin from the hypothalamus/pituitary that, in turn, dramatically increase collagen deposition into healing wound tissue, while also accelerating the conversion of inflammatory cells from neutrophils to lymphocytes, a phenomenon that reduces inflammation and improves the security of the wound. Recall that oxytocin reverses immunosenescence, aging of the immune system.
- Increase collagen intake—The modern human diet is low in collagen intake, as we have abandoned practices such as consuming organs, eating tough cuts of meat rich in fibrous tissue, consuming skin. Collagen intake can therefore be a limiting factor in wound healing, primarily due to the limited pool of the amino acid, proline, available. We therefore compensate by eating more skin from poultry and fish, slow-cooking tough cuts of meat, consuming bone broth (just be mindful of lead intake), and including a tablespoon–or two, even better—of collagen hydrolysates/peptides in your daily routine. Not only is healing accelerated and more secure, but skin is smoother, hair is thicker, joint lubrication is improved, and blood pressure can drop by about 10 mmHg (likely due to a beneficial effect on the endothelium, i.e., the internal lining of arteries that modulate arterial tone).
- Up vitamin C intake—Because vitamin C facilities collagen deposition and need increases with wound healing, 500 mg or more of vitamin C per day can accelerate and improve the healing process.
- Get vitamin D right—Getting your 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood level to 60-70 ng/ml hugely accelerates bone healing, should bone injury be present.
Anecdotally, wheat/grain elimination, because it rapidly reverses skin inflammation and edema, can also help accelerate skin wound healing, though we have not formally studied this.
Identifying biomarkers for aging is a problematic area that I’ve discussed recently, but the capacity to heal can serve as a biomarker for aging. This is why children heal much faster than, say, someone in their 70s or 80s, sometimes not healing at all (chronic wounds, skin ulcers, etc.). Adopting the above strategies restores healing ability, effectively reversing decades of reduced capacity.
An unanswered question: If such strategies accelerate and improve the process of wound healing, do they also provide benefit outside a period of wound healing, i.e., taken chronically? Certainly wheat/grain avoidance, oxytocin boosting, collagen, and vitamin D provide substantial benefits outside of wound healing. Vitamin C is so benign and inexpensive that it certainly does not hurt to continue taking such a dose, also.