A Simple Nutritional Algorithm for Patients with Chronic Wounds

I will be the first to admit that I did a bad job recognizing and treating nutritional deficits in chronic wound patients for at least 2 decades.  However, I have totally reformed and am now as emotional about this issue as a former smoker is about cigarettes. Once I saw with my own eyes the miraculous impact of simple things like L-arginine and Vitamin D – I realized how often that nutritional supplementation was THE KEY to success for patients who had failed a lot of expensive treatments.

I have some good excuses for being late to get on the nutrition bandwagon. One of them was that I got fed up with the materials that were supposed to help me. I know a lot of nutritionists and they are some of the smartest, most detail oriented people I know. I realize that the area of nutrition is complicated and that’s why we need experts – but I used complexity as an excuse to do nothing! I needed something that a busy doctor could use. I didn’t want to be told that the patient needed “400 more calories a day,” for example – I needed someone to say “given them two cans of this two packets of that.” I needed an algorithm with actual products listed.

Patients nearly always have to buy supplements with their own money and they can be expensive. I can’t tell a patient to go buy something unless I am: 1) certain that it works and 2) know exactly what they ought to buy. I understand why experts don’t want to appear biased for one company’s products and why published papers about supplementation list generic products – but for goodness sake, can’t someone just tell me what to DO?

I am grateful to the Nestle team who agreed to provide a product specific algorithm for patients with chronic wounds. I call it my “simple girl” approach to nutritional supplementation in patients with nonhealing wounds. It was developed by nutritional experts (not me) but designed for wound care practitioners.  It’s simple and logical so even a doctor can use it. And, here it is. No strings attached.  Yes, I wish I had access to a nutritionist for all my patients, but I can use this algorithm to recommend specific products that will help them heal and not waste their money.


Here are links to a few of my previous articles about nutrition and my journey to figure this out and spread the word:

Caroline Fife, MD

Dr. Fife is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Intellicure, Executive Director of the US Wound Registry, and Editor of Today’s Wound Clinic.

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