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Surgery Prep: Immune-Boosting Nutrients

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There's a new tool in the surgeon's kit: immune-boosting nutrients. Supplementing with immunonutrients, as they are called, may reduce complication risk and shorten your hospital stay, says an article in the July 13, 2003 issue of British Medical Journal

There's a new tool in the surgeon's kit: immune-boosting nutrients. Supplementing with immunonutrients, as they are called, may reduce complication risk and shorten your hospital stay, says an article in the July 13, 2003 issue of British Medical Journal.

After surgery, the body's immune system is depressed, which increases risk of life-threatening infection. However, professor of nutritional immunology Philip C. Calder points out that certain nutrients, including omega-3 essential fatty acids and amino acids, such as arginine and glutamine, have been used successfully to enhance cellular function and modify the body's inflammatory response.

In one study, omega-3s (from fish oil) decreased the need for supplemental oxygen and time on ventilation support, as well as time spent in intensive care for patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. Other studies with omega-3s show immune benefits and anti-inflammatory effects.

If you have surgery planned, consult your naturopathic physician or qualified health professional for immune-strengthening advice.

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