Nutritional Supplements and Education Decrease Inflammation in Diabetic Patients with Foot Ulcers

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A new study by Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies Raedeh Basiri shows that nutritional interventions play a pivotal role in treatment and healing.  

Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Nutritional supplementation and education would support faster healing in patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers.

A diabetic foot ulcer, an open wound on the foot, affects about 25% of diabetes patients, and without proper care, ulcers can lead to amputation. As with all chronic wounds, diabetic foot ulcers are persistently inflamed, which slows the healing process. 

A new study by George Mason University Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies Raedeh Basiri finds that in people with diabetic foot ulcers, nutritional supplements and nutritional education can significantly decrease inflammation and enhance the healing process. 

“Currently, nutritional interventions or referral to dietitians are not part of diabetic foot ulcer standard care. Our results show that nutritional interventions play an important role in decreasing inflammation and should be an integral part of treatment, underscoring the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to clinical care,” said Basiri, who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  

Raedeh Basiri
Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies Raedeh Basiri

Participants in the intervention group of the study were educated about improving their dietary intake by increasing their consumption of low-fat/high-bioavailable protein sources, vegetables, and high-fiber carbohydrates, as well as decreasing their intake of refined and simple carbohydrates. 

In addition to nutritional education, patients took a nutritional supplement. People with diabetic foot ulcers have a significantly lower intake of micronutrients, especially potent antioxidants, which have shown the potential to alleviate chronic inflammation. The nutritional supplement provided at least 50% of the Food and Nutrition Board’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for antioxidants, and the nutrition education supported patients receiving the remaining antioxidant recommendations from their diet. 

The study evaluated the effects of nutrition supplementation and education on inflammatory biomarkers in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. After 12 weeks, concentrations of the inflammatory biomarker IL6 decreased significantly in the intervention group, but increased drastically in the control group. Results on other biomarkers were not statistically significant. The sample size was relatively small, so researchers recommend more clinical trials with larger sizes to confirm the results. 

To the research team’s knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial that uses both nutrition education and supplementation for improving inflammation status in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. “Improving Dietary Intake of Essential Nutrients Can Ameliorate Inflammation in Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers” was published in Nutrients in June 2022.