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A8. Vitamin C and the healing of venous leg ulcers

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Background Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds which demand an adequate supply of nutrients for healing. Vitamin C plays a central role in the dynamics of wound healing and therefore may accelerate the healing response.

Aim To assess the impact of dietary education promoting increased consumption of vitamin C.

Methods Research involved dietary assessment of 27 patients with venous leg ulcers (7 day food record and questionnaire). This was followed by dietary education of the group and vitamin C supplementation (200 mg day−1 for 1 month) of a randomly selected sub sample. To establish intervention outcome a repeat dietary assessment was performed and changes in wound size calibrated.

Results Initial dietary assessment revealed the group met RNI values for protein (P = < 0.001), iron (P = 0.002) and vitamin C (P = 0.004) but did not achieve RNI values for zinc or EAR for energy. After dietary education vitamin C intake increased and significant improvement in food handling practices expected to retain vitamin C were observed (P = 0.003). There was no significant difference in healing rates between subjects who received vitamin C supplementation and those who did not. Furthermore, the total level of vitamin C consumption (obtained from diet only, or diet + supplement), did not significantly influence area healed.

Conclusion This study did not support the view that advice/therapy to increase vitamin C intake should be incorporated as routine treatment for patients with venous leg ulcers.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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