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Tummy Tuck Coming Up? Prepare Your Body Now!

If you’ve finally taken the plunge and scheduled tummy tuck surgery, congrats! That’s an exciting step toward getting your body back after pregnancy or weight loss.

Standard tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen. The result is an abdominal profile that is smoother, firmer, and well-toned -- with just one horizontal scar. (Note: it will be a tad higher than a C-Section scar).


Panniculectomy involves removing any overhanging skin and tissue from below the belly button - and is for people who have lost significant weight. A tummy tuck is sometimes performed at the same time.

Both procedures present patients the opportunity to restore the slimmer figure they once enjoyed. The results can be life-changing. However, it is critical that you prepare your body for this major surgery to ensure the best results.

Prepare your body for surgery

While surgery can work miracles, surgery also causes tremendous stress on the human physiology. Even though our bodies have an incredible ability to heal and recover, the process requires specific nutrients to help fuel the process.

During surgery the body can quickly become depleted of these nutrients even if you eat a healthy diet. This can lead to complications. In some cases, the healing process is compromised, as the wound does not heal properly.

Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiency

Patients with diabetes are at especially high risk of surgery complications. This can lead to unplanned hospitalizations and higher medical bills - and can even be life-threatening.


In the months before surgery, it’s important to take the right steps to prepare your body for major surgery.

Stop smoking. Your doctor can prescribe medication to help you stop and recommend programs that will help you control your nicotine urges.

Exercise regularly. Walking, biking, strength training are all forms of exercise that will enhance your immunity and your overall health.


Make nutrition a priority

“You are what you eat,” as the saying goes. Your body needs fuel to stay healthy and recover optimally from surgery. In surgery, your body will undergo a great deal of stress from tissue damage and bruising, expect it. After surgery, your body will need substantially greater levels of specific nutrients, like glutamine, arginine, bromelain, and zinc.

Even if you have followed a healthy diet pre-surgery, your body may still need supplemental nutrition to ensure your best recovery. Receiving the correct nutrition during the periods before and after surgery or injury will support your body so it is better able to heal properly and avoid complications.

As the recovery science on this topic is conclusive, your body can seriously benefit from supplementation of critical nutrients. So consider a surgery safe supplement, ideally starting several days before the surgery and then continuing post-surgery to fill any nutritional gaps you might have.

Key nutrients for surgery patients 

Scientists have researched wound healing considerably over the past decades, and they have unraveled the complexities of the wound healing process. This knowledge is leading to great interest in immuno-nutrition therapies that support - and even accelerate - wound healing.


One type of key nutrients are amino acids - the building blocks of new tissue, capable of regulating the immune system, inflammation, and other important functions in wound healing. Many people have never heard of Glutamine or Arginine, but scientists have researched these two amino acids for decades.


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in blood and is a primary building block for rapid cell growth. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, “There is overwhelming evidence” that supplemental glutamine supports immunity, gut health, and outcome. [1]


Six multi-center randomized blind trials reported a decreased length in hospital stay in postoperative patients receiving glutamine supplementation. Glutamine levels were restored in the blood, and the downward spiral of immunity suppression was halted - decreasing rates of infection. [2]

Glutamine also aids wound closure in trauma patients, as shown in a study of 20 trauma patients with wound healing disorders. Wound closure occurred twice as rapidly in the glutamine group than in the placebo group. [3]

Glutamine protects against damaging inflammation caused by major trauma, including surgery. It protects the body against excessive inflammation related injuries by inducing the expression of heat shock proteins, which provide cellular protection in states of inflammation, injury, and stress.[4]


Extensive research shows that arginine has numerous effects on immune function and wound healing. Arginine is a precursor to proline and is necessary for collagen synthesis. It is also a precursor for ornithine, which is critical for nitric oxide synthesis, which also plays a role in wound collagen synthesis.[5] 

Numerous studies in rodents and humans show that supplemental arginine accelerates wound healing mainly by increasing collagen deposition in wounds.[6]

In a randomized study of patients with pressure ulcers found almost a two-fold improvement in healing time in the group receiving arginine.[7]

In another study, 16 patients with a stage 2, 3 or 4 pressure ulcer randomized to receive daily a standard hospital diet; a standard diet plus two high-protein/energy supplements; or a standard diet plus two high-protein/energy supplements containing additional arginine (9g), Vitamin C (500 mg) and Zinc (30 mg).

Only patients receiving additional arginine, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Zinc demonstrated a clinically significant improvement in pressure ulcer healing.[8] 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid, with numerous functions including reducing free radicals and assisting in collagen formation and the absorption of iron. [9] The normal RDA is 75 mg while the pregnancy RDA is 85 mg and increases to 120 mg with lactation.

Although routine supplementation is not recommended for those with well-balanced diets, because Vitamin C is water soluble, any excess is efficiently secreted through the kidneys which are functioning at much higher capacity than when non-pregnant. Vitamin C cuts healing time in half!

Talk to your doctor, but it appears that supplementation has a considerable upside.


Zinc is essential early in pregnancy for growth and development of the baby. The RDA for a pregnant woman is 11 mg and increases to 12 mg during breastfeeding. Both iron and copper compete with zinc at absorption sites.

Zinc supplementation is recommended when elemental iron supplementation exceeds 60 mg/d. Likewise, whenever zinc supplements are used, copper should also be supplemented. Different prenatal vitamin formulations contain varying amounts of Copper and Zinc.[10]

In preparation for delivery, Zinc reduces healing time by 43%, reduces scar formation, and has anti-bacterial properties.


Eighty percent of all people are deficient in magnesium, and its supplementation should be lifelong. In pregnancy, magnesium will help with constipation and muscle cramps.

AVOID these nutrients before surgery


Some studies have shown that omega-3 fish oils help enhance the effects of arginine and glutamine.


However, omega-3 oils have the tendency to cause blood thinning by preventing the platelets from clotting easily. This will complicate the surgery for anesthesiologists as they need to counteract and prepare for this during surgery.


In fact, taking multi-vitamin supplements containing Vitamin K or E before surgery can be dangerous for this same reason. Surgeons report that patients who take these vitamins may bleed easier during surgery, which can be dangerous.


Lastly, in some studies fish oils have effects with other medication you might be taking, so it is best to avoid omega-3 fish oils during the operative period.

Always follow your doctor’s directions about taking medications and supplements before surgery. To be safe, take the bottle with label to your pre-surgery appointment for your doctor’s approval.


HealFast gives the best ingredients for healing in an optimal yet safe dosage. All the ingredients are safe for surgery and interactions with each other and most importantly, they are safe for anesthesia.

Recovery from tummy tuck surgery - Final Thoughts!

Follow the post-operative instructions your surgeon gives you.


During your tummy tuck recovery, dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions. Tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess blood or fluid.  You will wear a compression garment. It will help if a friend or family member is present to hear your doctor or nurse’s post-op instructions.

Swelling will hide the results of tummy tuck surgery for a week or two. You will also find you cannot stand upright during those early weeks. When that initial recovery period is over, you will stand up, look in the mirror, and see your new profile!

During your recovery period, you will want to take steps to help control Inflammation. Per the 5-stage model of healing, it is particularly important to ensure strong post-surgery nutrition within the first 10-20 days after an injury or surgery as foundation of your recovery is laid down.

The best advice is to stay hydrated, and eat adequate amounts of protein and complex carbohydrates and continue with nutritional supplements post-surgery to fill any nutritional gaps you might have.


If you have any additional questions or want more details on the surgery itself, I will be writing a follow up blog post in the near future! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and to send any questions to our mailbox at: Until then, be healthy and stay informed!















[10] Ladipo OA. Nutrition in pregnancy: mineral and vitamin supplements. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jul. 72(1 Suppl):280S-290S. [Medline].

[11] Gebreselassie SG, Gashe FE. A systematic review of effect of prenatal zinc supplementation on birthweight: meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. J Health Popul Nutr. 2011 Apr. 29 (2):134-40. [Medline].


General Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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