Wound healing is a complex process marked by highly coordinated immune fluxes into an area of tissue injury; these are required for re-establishment of normal tissue integrity. Along with this cascade of cellular players, wound healing also requires coordinated flux through a number of biochemical pathways, leading to synthesis of collagen and recycling or removal of damaged tissues. The availability of nutrients, especially amino acids, is critical for wound healing, and enteral supplementation has been intensely studied as a potential mechanism to augment wound healing-either by increasing tensile strength, decreasing healing time, or both. From a practical standpoint, although enteral nutrient supplementation may seem like a reasonable strategy to augment healing, a number of biochemical and physiologic barriers exist that limit this strategy. In this critical review, the physiology of enteral amino acid metabolism and supplementation and challenges therein are discussed in the context of splanchnic physiology and biochemistry. Additionally, a review of studies examining various methods of amino acid supplementation and the associated effects on wound outcomes are discussed.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.