If you’ve ever undergone surgery, either “emergency” (like, “We need to remove your appendix NOW!”) or “elective” (a strange term basically meaning, “You can put your surgery off until it’s convenient for either of us, but let’s not forget about it.”), you may remember you needed to undergo “surgical clearance”.
Often you’re handed what looks like a shopping list of ‘to-do’ items checked by your surgeon or assistant. Minor procedures just need a physical exam and a ‘sign-off’ signature from your doctor. The more elaborate procedures may require blood tests, electrocardiograms, stress tests and so forth.
All of these steps are perfectly reasonable. You certainly don’t want your surgery to start with somebody suddenly noticing that you have severe high blood pressure, rampantly out of control diabetes, or are teetering on a heart attack.
But it has struck me as odd how virtually no attention is ever paid to maximizing the success of a surgical procedure with good nutrition and nutritional supplements, especially an elective procedure, where you’ve got some advance notice and time for preparation.
Keep in mind that surgery will be a ‘stressor’ and your body will be calling on all its reserves to heal what all those people wearing masks and gloves have been doing to it, and afterward clearing all those chemicals poured in to keep it asleep. You may feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck and then, for good measure, the truck reverses gears and runs over you again. It’s best to prepare your body for surgery as best you can. You will definitely heal faster.
So, the weeks before any elective procedure is very much a time for conscious, healthful eating. Select from a good variety of protein, try to get 5-10 servings of veggies and fruit daily, and high-quality whole grain carbs. Keep your salt low, and your sugar and junk food nearly nonexistent.
You are probably taking many of these important supplements already but during the month before and the month after your surgery, the following merit special attention:
- A high potency general multiple (Pure Encapsulations ONE or Integrative Therapeutics Multiplex, either one a day of the former, two a day of the latter);
- Integrative Therapeutics Buffered Vitamin C 1,000 mg twice a day;
- Thorne Vitamin D 5,000 IU a day;
- A good probiotic as you’ll likely be receiving enough antibiotics to muck up your microbiome (Megaspore or OrthoBiotic);
- Bioactive Collagen (Vital Protein) one scoop daily for wound healing;
- Detoxication Factors (Integrative) twice a day (for clearance of anesthetic post-op).
The only supplements not to take before surgery are vitamin E and fish oil as these interfere
with blood clotting.
Many surgeons (incorrectly) want their patients to stop Vitamin C before surgery, which is based more on opinion than any bona fide research. Dr. Andrew Weil and I encourage increasing Vitamin C and recommend it by intravenous infusion.
If you have the time, schedule two or three of WholeHealth Chicago’s “Pre-Surgical” infusions. This is a blend of vitamins (including high dose vitamin C, extra magnesium, minerals and immune boosters). You do not need to be a patient at WholeHealth Chicago and the infusions are available at both the Clybourn and the Beverly offices.
David Edelberg, MD