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Nutrition • July 15, 2019 Surgery Recovery

A friend of mine has a son that has had multiple shoulder injuries and she was asking about alternative approaches to surgery.  Even though there are some great new options that are not surgical, sometimes surgery is necessary, so I started thinking about protocols I would set up for pre and post-surgical treatments. 

 

The main focus should be getting the body’s inflammation under control before surgery and upregulating the immune system/response to any invasive procedure, and keeping it at a steady level through recovery in order to lay down new repair tissue without an overreaction of the body that creates scarring. 

 

Below are some recommendations for preparing the body for surgery which is a stressful, foreign invasion, as the body sees it. These interventions should be started 4 weeks prior to procedures, if time allows:

 

Diet  

  • Avoid inflammatory foods such and Gluten and Dairy products and keep sugar intake as low as possible. 
  • Add anti-inflammatory foods such as whole fruits and vegetables and cook with turmeric and ginger. Teas work well if you don’t like the tastes.
  • Add detox foods like cruciferous veggies if your diet is lacking. Try roasting them with Olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  • Increase lean proteins to keep muscle mass intact and allow the body to lay down new healthy tissue through recovery.

 

Supplements before surgery

  • Balanced Immune contains Curcumin and Resveratrol among other powerful anti-inflammatory agents.  2 twice a day will help with pain prior to and after surgery.
  • CollaGEN powder to stock up for the process of tissue layer replacement and healing.  This formula has specific collagen that is unique in the supplement world for joints and tendons.  1 scoop twice a day is best.
  • Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C in the regular world, is an antioxidant which helps to protect cells from free radical damage and is needed to make collagen to aid in wound healing.  I would start at 1 capsule twice a day and work up to 2 capsules twice a day.

 

The body’s immune response to even the smallest of paper cuts triggers chemical reactions through cytokines, which serve to maintain balance (homeostasis) and clean up the dead tissue after a wound and prevent infection. This is a good response, but the problem is when this is not controlled and when something as big as surgery can trigger this uncontrolled inflammation.  Post-surgical protocols should include all things that control swelling, pain and increase the rate of healing tissue. Therefore, stay with the diet and supplement suggestions above through at least 8 weeks afterward to ensure a quick and complete recovery. They are not bad suggestions for a long-term healthy lifestyle either. 

 

Here are some 8-week post-surgical add ons: 

 

  • Proteozyme is a systemic enzyme that breaks down scar tissue and brings balance to the immune system response to acute trauma, relieving pain and swelling in the tissues. Take 2 of these on an empty stomach at 9-10 am and then 3-4 PM.  Do this the whole 8 weeks after surgery.
  • SPM Active boosts the body’s cleanup mechanisms caused by the initial immune response to trauma by promoting the removal of microbes and apoptotic cells, therefore decreasing pain caused by these leftovers which, if left in the system, can explode to create additional inflammation, pain, and swelling in tissues. This not-so-cheap supplement can be used PRN after recovery is over.  I would use 2 pills twice a day for at least 2 weeks after surgery.

 

A good life has its share of trauma, whether your shoulder injury is due to an accident driving your Honda, or the result of over-use driving your ball on the golf course.  In the cases where planned procedures like surgeries are necessary, it is nice to know there are things we can do to help in the process of rebuilding our bodies so we can get out there and enjoy life.