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Dr. Ronald Hoffman Details the Supplements You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take Before Surgery

New York, NY, June 03, 2015 --( In his latest article, “Supplements and Surgery: What You Need to Know,” renowned Integrative Physician Dr. Ronald Hoffman takes on two questions he gets asked frequently: “Are there any nutritional supplements I can take to promote recovery? Are there any that I should avoid?”

Dr. Hoffman challenges a University of Michigan handout for surgical patients that lists supplements to avoid prior to surgery. “Certain ‘problematic’ herbs are singled,” says Hoffman. “But you’ll see that, at the end of the day, they’re pretty much discouraging the use of supplements altogether. This is mostly unjustified.”

Hoffman says that while garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, Kava (and other sedating herbs like Skullcap, Hops, and Valerian), milk thistle and St. John’s Wort, ephedra, licorice, and fish oil should be reduced or avoided before surgery, some supplements are beneficial to the surgical patient; Magnesium: Surgery is a form of trauma, and the shock of trauma depletes magnesium. Many surgical patients are magnesium-deficient because of the medications they take, poor absorption, or skimpy diets. Magnesium regularizes heart rate and promotes circulation.

Vitamin D: Especially in orthopedic surgery, vitamin D deficiency hampers proper recovery. Have your vitamin D levels checked before surgery, and supplement with 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day accordingly.

Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid counters free radical damage and is an essential co-factor for collagen synthesis, necessary for proper wound healing.

Zinc: Essential for wound healing and immunity.

Selenium: A vital co-factor for glutathione, the body’s premier antioxidant, selenium also confers protection against infections.

L-glutamine: Studies have shown that this amino acid revs up the immune system, cuts infections, and promotes cell growth and organ repair. It also counteracts “leaky gut syndrome” which can occur transiently during surgical stress.

L-arginine: According to research arginine has been shown to promote healing and reduce post-op infections. In fact, it has long been incorporated in a nutritional booster formula for surgical patients called Impact (available by prescription only).

Probiotics: Surgical patients often receive oral or intravenous antibiotics while in the hospital, so it makes sense to replenish beneficial bacteria, and provide a bulwark against hospital-acquired C. dificile infections.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC): While some authors claim that NAC can increase bleeding risk, more recent studies have exonerated it. One recent paper showed that its use pre-operatively did not increase blood loss in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. NAC is a premier antioxidant, and it has been shown to protect the liver and kidneys from operative stress. Take 500-600 mg twice daily.

Bromelain: Studies have shown that its anti-inflammatory effects help reduce post-operative swelling, heal wounds more quickly, and even reduce post-surgical pain.

Pycnogenol: While some express concern over the potential blood-thinning effects of pycnogenol before surgery, it may be an ideal post-surgery supplement because of its ability to counteract swelling.

CoQ10: This supporter of mitochondrial energy metabolism has been found to enhance the contractility of heart muscle. Studies have confirmed that it cuts the number of erratic heartbeats heart surgery patients experience and can reduce recovery time.

Arnica: Homeopathy is controversial, but among the most cherished traditional remedies for trauma is Arnica. Although research is inconclusive, considerable anecdotal evidence supports its use, and it’s harmless.

Hoffman adds, “Consider taking a balanced multivitamin to plug your nutritional gaps before and after surgery.”

Dr. Ronald Hoffman is a pioneering complementary medicine practitioner, Director of the Hoffman Center for Integrative Medicine based in New York City, and host of the popular and long running syndicated weekly radio program and podcast “Intelligent Medicine.” Read the full article at the Intelligent Medicine website.
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