When Possible, Prep for Surgery with a Nutrient TestNutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Whether it’s for medical or cosmetic reasons, millions of surgeries are performed in the United States each year - with some of the most common procedures being appendectomy (removal of the appendix), cesarean section, coronary artery bypass, breast augmentation, tummy tuck and rhinoplasty.
And every surgery is different. Some may not be health-related while others may be life-saving and more invasive than others.But they all should have one major thing in common- Nutrition!
To be clear, no matter what type of surgery you may be having, being educated about your nutrition will play a huge role in the outcome.
Surgeries are generally a traumatic experience for your body. In many cases, you are being cut open. There are risks involved, like infection, and it is something your body has to heal from.
So among other things, it is important to decrease the risk of infection and increase the likelihood that you can heal appropriately. This way you may ensure the operation goes as smoothly as possible. To do this, you have to prep your body with immune-boosting, protective nutrients such as certain proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Actually, this concept of being nutritionally balanced for surgery is not really much different than making sure you have adequate protein and carbohydrates before a tough workout.
First thing’s first: take the test.
Depending on the type of surgery you have, your doctor may require you take a blood test, certain x-rays or an EKG (electrocardiogram). However, a nutrient test is usually not on the list of required tests pre-surgery. This is a test the pH professional healthcare team and many other medical experts highly recommend you take.
A comprehensive nutrient test may determine whether you have any nutrient imbalances - as in having too much or not enough of a certain nutrient necessary to make you better withstand the surgery or recover from it.
Take, for example, vitamin C. According to recent data, about 21 million Americans have a serious vitamin C deficiency. You may not experience any obvious symptoms. You may feel a little more fatigued or irritable, but you may attribute these feelings to stress and being overworked.But if you are deficient in this vitamin (and certain other nutrients for that matter), you may have difficulty with wound healing.
Along with vitamin C, nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin E, zinc and selenium may help build and protect white blood cells which is your immune system cells and help your body fight off infection. And protein may help the body repair damaged tissue.
Other nutrients like magnesium contribute to the health of your heart and keep calcium levels balanced. A proper balance of sodium and potassium is also critical for heart health.
One of the risks of surgery, especially in older people or people with cardiovascular health issues, is heart attack during the operation. But being nutritionally balanced may “reduce the chances for a fatal heart attack by balancing the autonomic nervous system,” according to one medical doctor who is also an advocate of nutritional balancing programs to reduce the risks of surgery.
Proper nutrition may also help prevent improper blood clotting. Clots happen when blood thickens and sticks together. Another benefit of being nutritionally balanced is it may significantly reduce your pain. Minerals including magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium and copper may help with pain.
Clearly, you would be doing yourself a big disservice if you went into surgery deficient in these nutrients because you are diminishing your body’s ability to heal and fight off infection.
So aren’t antibiotics enough to fight off infection?
Antibiotics may be effective for some time to ward off infections. But remember, they also deplete key nutrients the body needs to function properly. These include biotin, inositol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and vitamin K. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (including ciprofloxacin) deplete calcium. It is therefore necessary to periodically check the levels of these nutrients if you been taking antibiotics and discuss with a competent healthcare professional how to improve your levels.
Now here’s something else to consider…
You need to take a nutrient test well before your scheduled surgery. What good would it do if you found out you had some deficiencies only a couple days before your operation? In many instances, a couple of days may not be nearly enough time to correct an imbalance and get your body to a nutritionally balanced state. So work with a competent healthcare professional to arrive at a reasonable time to take your nutrient test.
But in many cases - like emergencies - scheduling or delaying a surgery based on your nutritional status is just not an option.
Obviously you cannot predict when these situations may occur, but you can be better prepared by always ensuring that your body has the nutrients it needs to successfully recuperate from surgery. This is why making sure you are nutritionally balanced, by eating right and taking nutrient tests at least once every six months, should always be an integral part of your health and wellness regimen.
And the truth is, most of us of us suffer from some type of nutritional deficiency. Deficiencies may be due to several reasons.
- Intestinal issues
- Age (your body has more difficulty absorbing nutrients with age)
- Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor soil quality from which are foods are grown
This is why nutrient testing is so key even when you are not undergoing surgery.
Once you discover your nutritional imbalances, work with an informed and competent healthcare professional to tweak your diet and/or take good quality supplements.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.