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Helping Patients with Wounds Meet Their Protein Needs

From the desk of Dr Nancy Collin, PhD, RDN, LD, NWCC, FAND

Patients with wounds must consume an adequate amount of protein each day to build new tissue. If your patient is not consuming a well-balanced diet, chances are he or she is not consuming an adequate amount of dietary protein to meet the body’s physiologic needs.

The average healthy adult requires approximately 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight/day. This means a patient who weighs 150 pounds requires about 55g of protein each day. Since most people do not measure their food in grams it is always helpful to relate the information in ounces so that patients understand. We do this by dividing the number of grams by 7 because generally one ounce of protein contains 7g. Thus, in our example, the patient needs about 8 ounces of protein daily.

Typically, a healthy person gets this amount by eating a varied diet each day of three well-rounded meals plus snacks. One can easily meet this amount by consuming the equivalent of ¾ cup of cereal with 1 cup of milk for breakfast, 3 ounces of chicken in a sandwich at lunch, and 3 ounces of lean beef with 1 cup of cooked vegetables and 1/2 cup of brown rice for dinner. However, for many chronically ill adults with a wound, consuming even this baseline amount can be challenging.

What’s more, as the adult body ages and fights chronic diseases, dietary protein needs increase while total body protein, or lean body mass (LBM), decreases. LBM is the metabolically active tissues of the body and losses are frequently seen in the skeletal muscles, organ tissues, and components of the blood and immune system. Loss of LBM can often lead to falls, compromised wound healing, less ability to fight off infections, and a longer recovery time from illness and surgeries. To avoid these consequences, it is imperative to educate patients on the importance of protein and provide practical advice on how to meet their daily goals.

For patients who are too weak or ill to consume enough food to meet their protein needs, there are many supplements available to fill in the nutritional gaps. Medtrition offers a variety of high protein supplements appropriate for patients with wounds, dysphagia, diabetes, and most other medical conditions.

Expedite is a wound-specific supplement which contains 10g of protein in each 2-ounce serving. What makes Expedite effective for wound healing is that it contains 30 times the amount of prolylhydroxproline (PO) and hydroxyprolyl-glycine (OG) when compared to typical protein supplements. PO and OG have been shown to affect fibroblast activity for improved wound healing. Expedite is available in two forms—liquid and gelled.

Gelatein is another supplement from Medtrition that can be used to help patients meet daily protein needs. Gelatein is available in a variety of flavors and provides 20g of protein in each 4-ounce serving.

Liquid protein supplements are also available. ProSource ZAC is a sugar free concentrated liquid protein supplement which provides 18g of protein in 1-ounce. It contains added zinc, arginine, and vitamin C.
Medtrition offers a variety of products allowing for total customization to meet each patients’ unique needs and preferences.

Visit for more information and to request product samples.

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