Micronutrients for Healing
We all know that the body has the amazing ability to heal itself. This is especially evident when we look at cuts and scrapes, they seem to just magically get better. Generally, we don’t even give it a second thought once the bleeding stops, with it not until something major happens that gives us pause to think about how our wounds heal and how best we can support our bodies during this regenerative time.
Point in case, recently I had an “incident” in the kitchen which may have seen me adding a little of myself to the cooking than I would like. Once the bleeding stopped and medical treatment was sort there wasn’t much, I could do… other than look at ways to help support my body and do what it does!
Enter Micronutrients! Protein (a macronutrient) is generally considered the hero of wound healing with its amino acids but for cellular repair (and rebuilding) to occur micronutrients better known as vitamins and minerals also play an essential role in helping our bodies heal.
Zinc is perhaps the best know of all the micronutrients for this role. Commonly signs of slow healing can be attributed to deficiencies in the powerhouse micronutrient. Predominately zinc is a cofactor in hundreds of proteins making it essential for DNA synthesis and repair as well as regulation of the extracellular matrix (the bit that helps the cells all talk to each other), making it important to cell growth, repair and movement.
Iron is more commonly associated with energy levels, making haemoglobin and helping oxygen around the body. However, iron is also essential to collagen production, which is why skin conditions such as poor pallor, or brittle fingernails and hair are classic signs of inadequate iron levels. Iron levels may also help increase macrophage activity (a type o
f immune cell that degrades dead cells and aids in the destruction of harmful organisms such as bacteria) and their response to inflammation and healing.
Copper is not a micronutrient that many of us give thought to, however, it is associated with vascular growth and remodelling of the extracellular matrix. Copper deficiency is considered rare but can bee is seen in some people with a genetic condition such as coeliac or malabsorption issues.
Foods high in Iron Copper and Zinc are usually those from animal sources such as meats and seafood. However, mushrooms, nut seeds and leafy greens are also great choices. There is no better time than when in the acute wound healing phase to limit processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol, as always lots of whole fresh foods to satisfy the nutrient intake of your body during this period of healing.
Allison is a qualified Naturopathy and Nutritional & Western Herbal Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing in Mudgee, she specialises in gut health and stress-related conditions. Allison possesses a strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real-world solutions to help clients reach their health goals.