My Current, Post Surgical Diet, Lifestyle & Supplement Recommendations

After surgery, your body needs time to heal and recover. Following a healthy diet, maintaining an active lifestyle, and taking certain supplements can help support the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.

Post-Surgery Diet Guidelines:

  1. Increase Protein Intake: The recommended daily protein intake for an adult is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. However, after surgery, your body may need more protein to support the healing process. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends increasing protein intake to 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for postoperative patients (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016).
  2. Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water is important after surgery to prevent dehydration and support the healing process. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume around 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water per day, while women should consume around 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day (Institute of Medicine 2005).

Pre-Surgery Supplement Guidelines:

  1. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage and support immune function. Additionally, vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis, which is essential for wound healing (NIH 2020). Some studies suggest that taking vitamin C supplements before and after surgery can help reduce post-surgical pain. One study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that patients who took 1 gram of vitamin C daily for three weeks before and after surgery had significantly lower pain scores compared to those who did not take vitamin C (Ammar et al 2018).

Post-Surgery Lifestyle Guidelines:

  1. Get Enough Rest: Your body needs rest to heal and recover from surgery. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and avoid overexerting yourself during the day. Listen to your body and rest as needed.
  2. Move Around: While rest is important, it’s also essential to keep your body moving to prevent complications like blood clots. Try to walk around as much as possible, as directed by your healthcare provider. Start with short walks and gradually increase your activity level as you feel able.

Post-Surgery Supplement Guidelines:

  1. Multivitamins: A multivitamin can help ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to support the healing process. Look for a multivitamin that contains vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as zinc and selenium, which are important for wound healing (NIH 2020).
  2. Probiotics: Probiotics can help support gut health, which can be disrupted after surgery. A healthy gut microbiome can help reduce inflammation and support immune function. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of strains and has at least 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per serving (Hill et al 2014).
  3. Vitamin C: A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients who received 500 mg of vitamin C intravenously (IV) after spinal surgery had less pain and required less opioid pain medication compared to those who did not receive vitamin C (Mohammed et al 2013). This is easily achievable by taking a vitamin c supplement.
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for reducing inflammation and supporting immune function. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can help improve wound healing and reduce the risk of infections (Zhu et al 2018). Good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. If you’ve got dry eyes and dry skin in particular omega 3s may be of use. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough omega-3s through your diet, speak with your healthcare provider about whether an omega-3 supplement is appropriate for you.
  5. Magnesium: Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve function, and may help reduce pain and anxiety after surgery (Hwangbo et al 2021). Good dietary sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. If you’re not getting enough magnesium through your diet, speak with your healthcare provider about whether a magnesium supplement is appropriate for you.

It’s important to note that not all supplements are appropriate for every individual, and some supplements can interact with medications or cause side effects. Always speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

In addition to following diet and supplement guidelines, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and take care of your emotional health after surgery. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and consider speaking with a therapist or counselor if you’re feeling anxious or depressed.

In conclusion, following a healthy diet, lifestyle, and supplement guidelines can help support the healing process after surgery. By working with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan that meets your individual needs, you can optimize your recovery and reduce the risk of complications.

Many thanks to chatgpt for helping to finish this off!


  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Medical Nutrition Therapy for Surgery. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(5):876-887.
  2. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2005.
  3. National Institutes of Health. Zinc. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated 2020.
  4. Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;11(8):506-514.
  5. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin C. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated 2020.
  6. Ammar AS, Ali AM. Vitamin C and E supplementation reduces oxidative stress, improves antioxidant enzymes and positive subjective outcome in trauma patients. J Pain Res. 2018;11:107-117.
  7. Mohammed BM, Fisher BJ, Kraskauskas D, et al. Vitamin C: a novel regulator of neutrophil extracellular trap formation. Nutrients. 2013;5(8):3131-3151.
  8. Zhu Y, Zhang J, Jiang X, et al. The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation in wound healing and tissue regeneration. Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2019;47(1):3807-3815.
  9. Hwangbo Y, Kim J, Kim K, et al. The effects of magnesium supplementation on pain and anxiety after surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021;199(7):2388-2398.
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