Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bed Sores, Nursing Homes, Hospitals and Vitamin C, Niacin, Thiamine, and Vitamin D

There are between 1 and 2 million hospital beds and between 1 and 2 million nursing home beds for a U.S. population of 300 million. These beds provide services to a fraction of the least healthy among us. Roughly 10% of this population, or 150,000 individuals, suffer from bed sores in addition to other serious health problems.

Bed sores are caused by poor quality care. Exercise, good food, and vitamin supplements prevent bed sores. Read more here, here, here, here, here and here. Before committing a loved one to a hospital or nursing home, find out how many residents suffer from bed sores. In the best facilities, on a good day there will be no pressure sores at all.

Unfortunately, facilities without bed sores are the exception rather than the rule. One reason is that many physicians don’t accept the importance of vitamin supplements. As evidence, here is a quote from a 2005 report by the Royal College of Nursing and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). "There is no evidence to support the routine administration of nutritional support/ supplementation… to promote the healing of pressure ulcers."

Only a committee could have written this sentence. Given the evidence in the links above, you’ll be hard pressed to find a physician who will support that sentence with any passion.

The effectiveness of vitamins is proportional to the dose used. Stressed skin vulnerable to pressure sores can benefit from high doses of vitamins. Pressure sores are a local problem that can be treated locally with vitamins. The most important vitamins – vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, niacin, and vitamin B1 – can all be applied directly to the skin using oils and creams that have been recently developed and commercialized by the cosmetics industry. Vitamin C concentration can be safely boosted far higher by injecting it just below the surface of the skin. Topical and subcutaneous injection of vitamins enables healthcare providers to selectively achieve high vitamin concentrations in the skin, thereby minimizing the probability of side effects.

The use of vitamin creams and/or vitamin injections to prevent and treat bed sores is presently a rare behavior. As a result, I can’t provide an optimized procedure. I can, however, testify to the effectiveness of niacin and vitamin C creams for the treatment of minor burns in the kitchen. I often burn myself in the kitchen when opening plastic bags of steaming vegetables from the microwave, from oil spattering out of the frying pan, or from touching a hot pan. I keep vitamin C and niacin cream in the kitchen drawer. If I apply the cream within several minutes of getting burned, the pain and redness disappears almost immediately along with all evidence of the burn. There are many physician committees that will write that there is no evidence to support the routine administration of vitamin creams to promote the healing of minor burns. Why wait for double blind trials and committee recommendations when with less effort you can just try the treatment for yourself?


At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father is in a long term hospital for wound care. He has a pressure wound on his tailbone and is probably in the worst stage. Can my family ask the nurses to apply our own topical vitamin creams or something we would have to do ourselves? Also, what about taking vitamin pills with these vitamins, would it be as effective as topical? AND, do you recommend any brands in particular? Thanks for the is healing but is taking FOREVER even with a wound vac, debridings, and some stitches.

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