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Supplement Speeds Wound Healing

Antioxidant Cocktail Contains 4 Skin-Friendly Substances

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"Obviously, more study is needed before we can routinely recommend this product to plastic surgeons to help their patients heal faster, but it certainly is promising," Rohrich tells WebMD. "The next step is to separate each of these four ingredients out to better determine which one is really providing the benefit, or if there is an synergetic effect in which all four or some combination of them work together."

His current study, published in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, was funded by Enzymes, Inc. of Parkville, Mo., the company that manufactures InflammEnz.

Doctors Not Surprised

Two experts contacted by WebMD -- both members of the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP), which represents doctors that work professional and amateur boxing matches -- weren't surprised by these findings because they say the wound-healing properties of some of these ingredients are well-known ... and often used.

"As a plastic surgeon, I put all my patients on post-operative vitamin C because you need vitamin C to heal. I also recommend it to boxers following a fight," says Michael A. Fiorillo, MD, a New York City area plastic surgeon who serves as a spokesman for the AAPRP. "In fact, I'd recommend 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C to anyone with an open wound because there is evidence that it helps them heal faster."

The amount of vitamin C in an InflammEnz pill is 150 milligrams.

However, vitamin C is not routinely given to boxers before a fight because it can "thin" the blood similarly to aspirin, explains Ferdinand Louis Rios, MD, a general surgeon in California who is also with the AAPRP and once served as team doctor for the U.S. Olympic boxing team.

"But I do recommend it following an injury to the skin because it builds collagen, and I have long used it post-operatively in my surgical practice," he tells WebMD.

Rios also has given grape seed extract supplements to speed healing in his surgical and boxing patients, and Fiorillo says that using bromelain as a post-operative measure "has been around for a while, and seems to definitely promote healing."

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SOURCES: Brown, S. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, July 2004; vol 114; pp 237-244. Rod J. Rohrich, MD, chairman, department of plastic surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; and president, American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Michael A. Fiorillo, MD, plastic surgeon and director, Rockland Plastic Surgery LLP, New City; and spokesman, American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP). Ferdinand Louis Rios, MD, general surgeon, Novato, Calif.; and spokesman, American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP); and former team physician, U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
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