Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Darned Flesh

Healing a stitched wound (or any wound) is an important bodily function, one close to my heart, or more pertinently close to my posterior proximal femur. One doesn't want to aggravate the wound as it tries to pack with scar tissue. One especially doesn't want to tug or in any way RIP OUT the slender pieces of black plastic thread that are delicately holding the flaps of [my] skin in place while mending goes on. It will result in an acute case of the holy-hibijibies in the stitchee.1

I'm glad I know that nutrients like zinc and vitamins A and C are vital in the formation of scar tissue and new skin. See, I want some new skin there, some with good tensile strength and an aftermath not too noticeable upon nominally close inspection. (There aren't too many people who will have the pleasure, or maybe the torment, of inspecting the skin on my posterior proximal femur anyway. Still, give the lady her prerogative.)

Back to healing. The Alternative Medicine Review2 has a very nice 19-page synopsis of everything I was going to say in 2 paragraphs. They even have a nice chart that says it all in absolutely no paragraphs at all:

So if you're the victim of a laceration presently or in the near future and you're looking for the least amount of downtime and minimal scarring, make sure you're getting a little extra Vitamin C (fruits/vegetables), Vitamin A (meat and dairy are best absorbed; vegetable sources not well absorbed but work for non-meat eaters - go for red and orange colored foods), and zinc (meat) (vegetarians tend to be low in this nutrient, although peanuts and other legumes offer some). Supplements are always good insurance.


1 Photo of the mock up of the detail for Needle, Thread and Knot thanks to its designers Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, also known for the design of the Clothespin which stands majestically (45 ft. tall) at the corner of Fifteenth and Market Streets in Philadelphia, PA. The finished structure of the 59 ft. tall Needle, Thread and Knot erected in the Piazzale Cadorna in Milan, Italy can be seen here. I love how the placement of the knot makes it appear that the intervening street is being sewed up.

2 MacKay D, Miller AL. Nutritional support for wound healing. Altern Med Rev: 2003, 8(4); 359-377.

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