Nutrition supplementation for diabetic wound healing: a systematic review of current literature

Skinmed. Jul-Aug 2013;11(4):217-24; quiz 224-5.


There are 25.8 million people with diabetes in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet). This number is expected to increase by 1 million per year. Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) occur in patients with a history of poorly controlled blood glucose. Almost 30% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older experience DFUs caused by an impaired nerve sensation. It is one of the more persistent types of chronic wounds, which poses an economic burden on individuals and society and reduces the quality of life of patients and their families. This paper reviews the efficacy of nutrition supplementation in diabetic wound healing, including both human and animal studies. Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses methods, the search was conducted in PubMed and ISI's Web of Science databases. Studies in which diabetic wounds/foot ulcers were treated with specific nutritional or herbal suplements were selected. This review includes 4 human and 9 animal studies that met the criteria of the search. Positive outcomes in the human studies were not significant while the nutritional supplements used in the animal studies were effective and promoted wound healing. The most notable effect of supplementation with curcumin, L-Arginine, or vitamin E have been shown in animal sudies. More human studies need to be conducted to determine the efficacy of these nutritional supplements in promoting wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aloe*
  • Animals
  • Arginine / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Diabetic Foot / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use
  • Wound Healing*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Preparations
  • Vitamins
  • Arginine
  • Curcumin
  • royal jelly