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How does protein affect wound healing?

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Quick Answer

Nutrients derived from proteins play one of the most critical roles in wound healing, as a Journal of Dental Research article explains. A protein deficiency impairs collagen synthesis, wound healing and the working of the immune system by increasing the body’s susceptibility to infection. The synthesis of collagen, the structural protein that makes up connective tissue in the body, impacts wound remodeling.

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Full Answer

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They fall under two categories, essential and non-essential amino acids, as described by MedlinePlus.

The body is unable to synthesize essential amino acids, which means that a diet rich in protein helps stabilize their levels in the body, according to Wound Care Advisor. However, the body does produce non-essential amino acids, which means it does not solely depend on diet for them. However, during metabolic stress, such as when a patient is dealing with a chronic wound, the body may be unable to produce non-essential amino acids. To curb this deficiency, a protein-rich diet is essential.

To promote wound healing, non-essential amino acids such as glutamine and arginine are critical. Glutamine facilitates the synthesis of nucleic acids, which is useful for increasing the cell count during wound healing. Arginine works by enhancing the deposition of collagen, which enhances the tensile strength of the wound to speed up the healing process. It also improves the retention of nitrogen and nitric oxides that modulate immune functions and promote wound healing, as Wound Care Advisor explains.

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