Supplements for Burn Injuries
Republished with permission of Natural Standards Research Collaboration ©2007

Trace element supplementation after major burns modulates antioxidant status and clinical course by way of increased tissue trace element.

Researchers from the University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom explained that after major burns, patients may develop nutritional deficiencies including trace element (TE) deficiencies. Various complications, such as infections and delayed wound healing, influence the clinical course of such patients.

The study investigated the effects of large, intravenous doses of TE supplements on circulating and cutaneous TE tissue concentrations, on antioxidant status and on clinical outcome after major burns.

In the prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 21 patients (average age 35) with burns on 45 21 percent of their body surface area were given intravenous copper, selenium and zinc (TE group) or vehicle (V group) with a saline solution for 14-21 days. Blood and urine samples were collected until day 20, and skin biopsy specimens were collected on days three, 10 and 20.

The age of the patients and the severity of their burns did not differ significantly between the groups. Plasma TE concentrations were significantly higher in the TE group. In burned areas, skin contents of both selenium and zinc increased significantly by day 20. The study also found that plasma and tissue antioxidant status was improved by supplementation.

The number of infections in the first 30 days was significantly lower in the TE group. Wound healing was improved in the TE group, with lower requirements for regrafting.

Researchers concluded that TE supplementation resulted in higher circulating plasma and skin tissue contents of selenium and zinc and improved antioxidant status. These changes were associated with improved clinical outcome, including fewer pulmonary infections and better wound healing.

Other integrative therapies studied in the treatment of burns include acupuncture, aloe, arginine (L-arginine), astragalus, beta-glucan, bromelain, danshen, honey, hydrotherapy, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), phosphates, phosphorus, prayer, distant healing, propolis, selenium, thymus extract, and zinc.


1) Berger MM, Baines M, Raffoul W, et al. Trace element supplementation after major burns modulates antioxidant status and clinical course by way of increased tissue trace element concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 5, 1293-1300, May 2007. View Abstract.

Copyright © 2007 Natural Standard Research Collaboration: The Authority on Integrative Medicine

This article appeared in the June 2007 issue of the Integrative Medicine Newsletter for Natural Standard