Arginine supplementation and wound healing

Joyce K Stechmiller, Beverly Childress, Linda Cowan
Nutrition in Clinical Practice 2005, 20 (1): 52-61
Modern advances in nutritional therapies have led to the specific use of arginine supplementation for protein synthesis, cell signaling through the production of nitric oxide, and cell proliferation through its metabolism to ornithine and to polyamines. Arginine is classified as a nonessential amino acid that becomes a conditionally essential substrate in stressed adults. Arginine has been shown to enhance wound strength and collagen deposition in artificial incisional wounds in rodents and humans. A role for dietary intervention in the form of arginine supplementation has been proposed to normalize or enhance wound healing in humans. Although this hypothesis is frequently discussed, the therapeutic effect of arginine supplementation on chronic wound healing in humans is still undetermined and requires further objective evidence. Well-designed clinical trials are required to determine whether arginine supplementation is effective in enhancing healing of acute and chronic wounds in humans and how much arginine is recommended to meet metabolic needs during the phases of wound healing.


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