Can specific nutrients stimulate bowel wound healing?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of review is to provide an overview on specific nutrients which play an important role in bowel wound healing, and to judge the efficacy of supplementation to derive recommendations for clinical practice.

Recent findings

Glutamine, arginine, butyrate, ω-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, and several micronutrients are involved in bowel wound healing. However, with regard to clinical trials, the efficacy of supplementation of specific nutrients on bowel wound healing in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases has not been clarified yet. In patients undergoing colon surgery, sufficient evidence exists that the perioperative supply of an enteral immunomodulating formula enriched with arginine, nucleotides, and ω-3 fatty acids may improve intestinal wound healing, considering the lower risk of wound infections, wound dehiscence, and intra-abdominal abscess.

Summary

Even if a range of nutrients are involved in bowel wound healing, only perioperative supply of an enteral immunomodulating formula to cancer patients undergoing colon surgery, can be recommended. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to elucidate the efficacy of individual nutrients on intestinal wound healing.

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