Efficacy of vitamin supplementation in situations with wound healing disorders: results from clinical intervention studies

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 Nov;12(6):588-95. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328331a5b5.


Purpose of review: This review evaluates the efficacy of vitamin supplementations for prevention and treatment of pressure ulcer and surgical wounds on the basis of recent clinical intervention studies.

Recent findings: Intervention studies show that an energy and protein-rich oral nutritional supplement providing high doses of vitamin C and zinc in combination with arginine may prevent the development of pressure ulcers. This measure seems to improve the healing of pressure ulcer, which is questionable for vitamin C alone. For surgical wounds, data from randomized controlled studies are scarce, but results on the use of vitamin C in combination with pantothenic acid are promising.

Summary: Considerable evidence suggests that supplementation of vitamin C together with zinc by an oral nutritional supplement rich in energy, protein and arginine may be an efficient tool for pressure ulcer healing in contrast to single vitamin C. The evidence for prevention of pressure ulcer by such an oral nutritional supplement is comparably low. This fits also for single vitamin C supplementation in the healing of surgical wounds. Further, well designed and well powered studies on the benefit of antioxidant vitamins for wound healing within a diet providing adequate energy and protein are necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Arginine / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use*
  • Pantothenic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Pressure Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Arginine
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid