WOUND HEALING AND AGING

July 29, 2019

WOUND HEALING AND AGING

Does aging really effect your body’s ability to heal your wounds? From those minor bumps and scrapes to major injuries, the answer is:  yes!

Our wound healing process is a beautiful symphony of perfectly timed processes, delivering just the right cell or chemical at exactly the right time. But as we age, our body’s entire rhythm changes. We slow down inside and out and that included our healing processes. An injury we may have slapped a bandage on when we were younger and not given it a second thought takes longer to heal as we age.  A little scrape can quickly progress into a lingering and difficult wound when our healing process is slowed down by age.

Why does healing slow with age?

Many of your bodily processes slow down as you age, including your body’s ability to heal wounds. How quickly and how well you heal is influenced by a variety of factors, including type of treatment, overall health, nutritional status, and age. Some factors are controllable: dressings and nutrition. But the effects of aging are out of your control.

·      Immune system slowdown

Your immune system is a critical player in wound healing. It supplies special cells that clean up the wound, destroy foreign bacteria at the wound site, remove waste, prevent infection, and boost the production of collagen and connective tissue. As we age, the immune system slows down like so many other systems, negatively affecting our healing processes.

·      Loss of elasticity and collagen production slowdown

As we age, the elastic tissue and collagen fibers in our skin degrade reducing skin tone and elasticity and diminishes the overall integrity of the skin. With lower levels of skin integrity, damaged skin has a harder time regenerating itself.  Collagen production slows down dramatically as we age, resulting in lower levels available for wound healing. Skin needs collagen for cellular growth and tissue regeneration.

·      Disease

Medical conditions that decrease blood flow have a seriously negative effect on the healing process. Healthy blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to every part of our body. When blood flow is compromised, a wound doesn’t receive enough nutrients and oxygen to properly support the healing process. Diseases that cause compromised blood flow are more common in older people, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

·      Medications

The older population generally experiences more chronic medical issues and takes more medications as a result. An unfortunate and unwanted side effect of some medications may be delaying wound healing. For example, blood thinners, antimicrobials, cancer treatments, rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and steroids can all negatively affect wound healing.

What can you do?

You can’t stop the aging process, but there are things you can do to maximize your healing ability. Not so coincidentally, these same factors can help support your overall good health every day.

·      Focus on nutrition

So much of our health comes back to our food choices. Good nutrition has been recognized as a critical factor in wound healing for years. Carbohydrates and fats are necessary to provide the energy to heal.

Protein is also crucial in the process of repairing tissues. Without enough protein it is difficult for your body to form collagen, which is an important building block in your body. Your body also loses protein through wound drainage, making it even more critical to eat enough protein during healing. Your body also needs a good balance of vitamins and minerals, especially zinc and the vitamins A and C.

·      Control stress

Stress interrupts your immune system, delaying wound healing. Stress also tends to contribute to unhealthy lifestyle factors, like drinking to excess, using drugs, poor sleep and poor nutrition. All of those factors slow healing. Controlling your stress response helps keep your mind and body working optimally.

·      Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity makes it more difficult for your body to heal. Obesity can cause poor circulation, increased pressure and tension on wounds, skin folds, and poor mobility, all of which contribute to poor wound healing. Maintaining a healthy weight with good nutrition is critical.

·      Avoid alcohol and tobacco

If you smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, you’re putting your healing processes at risk. Alcohol slows regrowth, disrupting the processes needed to regrow tissue over a wound.  Smoking tobacco has been proven to slow healing, destroy collagen and increase complications in wound healing. If you drink, do so in moderation. If you smoke, quitting is your best choice.

·      Supplement with a high-quality marine collagen like DeepMarine’s Canadian-made collagen

Marine collagen is known for its superior therapeutic benefits and enhanced absorbability.  Collagen makes up about 72% of skin tissue so the natural, age-related, decline in collagen production can have a very negative effect on the ability of our skin to heal itself.  Consequently, for individuals with skin wounds, it’s very beneficial to supplement with a marine collagen and boost the skin’s ability to regenerate. 

Collagen supplements are protein molecules that are cleaved into tiny peptide particles.  These peptides “feed” our skin’s collagen-producing cells and help them to increase their natural collagen production in the skin.  DeepMarine’s Canadian-made collagen is a premium, small molecule collagen that meets the world’s highest safety standards (European Union, Canada, America and Japan)

Our bodies are capable of miraculous things. Our ability to heal and grow is amazing, but something we are used to taking for granted. Aging slows us down but understanding that and giving your body every advantage can help keep you on your toes longer and stronger.  


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