Thursday, July 06, 2006

Recuperation from Surgery

A fellow member of the emPower forums had this question to ask. I am curious to hear of case studies, personal experiences of people on a LC diet while recovering from surgery. As you can imagine, asking doctors/surgeons who have never LC'd may not be as informative as I would like.

I can imagine.

Whilst I have not had any personal experience recovering from surgery while on low carb, another member posted up some quotes from a couple of websites.

From the "go ask Alice" website, (a Q&A site hosted on the Columbia U server) came this response: Obtaining adequate calories and protein is vital. Protein is extremely important for recuperation because it's:

- required to form antibodies to fight infections
- vital for synthesizing collagen, which is necessary for scar formation
- utilized to rebuild damaged tissue
- the backbone for repair and maintenance of many crucial tissues in the body

In addition, plasma proteins, formed from dietary proteins, maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.

Other important nutrients specific to wound healing include:
Nutrient Good Sources
vitamin C citrus fruits, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dark green vegetables, cantaloupe, strawberries, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, papayas, mangoes
zinc meat, fish, poultry, beans

Anyone with post-surgery complications or depleted nutrition stores needs more calories and protein than s/he did before the procedure, regardless of his or her weight. A higher caloric intake also increases the need for B-vitamins. Supplements usually are not necessary since these nutrients are found in a wide array of foods.

So apart from potatoes and some of the fruit, this seems to be quite low carb.

Also from the "the healthier life" website: Dr Spreen tells me that branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are apparently the easiest form of protein for the body to use for repair, and that's why this nutrient is popular with many body builders. "BCAAs are readily available for incorporating into new proteins, both stuctural and enzymatic (and the enzymatic side may be even more important than the structural repair, if you can rank such things)."

The three BCAAs (leucine, valine, and isoleucine) are essential amino acids, which are also precursors of glutamine. Without BCCAs in our diets, we literally couldn't live.

About BCCAs, Dr Spreen says, "I've always felt that anything that makes it easier for the body to 'do its thing' is immunologically beneficial. If it has easy access to energy, readily available components for fixing whatever's damaged, and ways to move the body's biochemical processes around without having to worry about 'rationing' what's available, that HAS to make it easier to go out and eat invading organisms and fix whatever's broken."

BCAAs are available in supplement form, but are easily obtained from meat, whey protein, egg protein and other dairy products.

If you do a search on Mercola's website, (I refuse to link to that crackpot!) included in the top 10 responses to "surgery recovery" is an article titled "Optimism influences recovery from surgery" (top of the list!) and another article (number 6 on the list) titled "Prayer may speed recovery".

All that I can really say on the subject is that while I have been following the Paleolithic nutrition plan (to the best of my ability) I have never felt better or healthier. Colds are wiped out before they can establish themselves, minor injuries heal faster, I have more energy and skin problems (dryness, pimples - that sort of thing) clear up very quickly.


No comments: