High protein diets help heal burns

OHIO — It’s Fire Prevention Week and according to the American Burn Association about 40,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized for burns each year.

Doctors across the country are saying that one of the treatments for severe burns is a high protein diet. After someone receives major burns covering, say, 20% or more of their body, nutrition may be the last thing on their mind. This was the case for Troy Patchin who received second–and–third–degree burns that covered 40% of his body after a work related accident.

Patchin says, “When I first got here, my appetite was nothing from what it used to be. I guess from the pain of the injuries and everything. My doctors told me that the feeding tube and stuff like that gives me probably the same equivalence to eating 15 to 20 Big Mac’s a day, and the protein and everything.”

Patchin has spent nearly two months recovering from his injuries. Part of his treatment included ingesting a feeding solution containing proteins, vitamin-D, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients administered through a feeding tube.

According to doctors at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center burn patients need to eat about 140% more of their normal calories and four times the protein to fully heal, otherwise the body will steal protein from itself.

Dr. David Evans of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center says, “What their body does is it starts basically consuming their own muscle mass, and their own protein stores in order to deliver that nutrition and to heal the wound.”

Dr. Larry Jones of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center says, “We don’t want the body to use itself. So increasing the diet, increasing the protein in the diet, getting the patients to eat, giving them supplemental feedings is a way of providing them with the proteins and the calories that they need to heal their burn wounds.”

The doctors hypothesize that the diet should continue for a while once the patient returns home and the wound appears to be healed.

The doctors recommend high protein diets even for those who suffer from minor burns for a faster recovery.



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