Many facets of wound healing under redox control require a delicate balance between oxidative stress and antioxidants. While the normal physiology of wound healing depends on low levels of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress, an overexposure to oxidative stress leads to impaired wound healing. Antioxidants are postulated to help control wound oxidative stress and thereby accelerate wound healing. Many antioxidants are available over the counter or by prescription, but only one, Medihoney®, has been specifically FDA approved for wound healing. Here we review the existing evidence for the use of antioxidants for wound healing, with a review of the pertinent animal and clinical studies. Natural products and naturally derived antioxidants are becoming more popular, and we specifically review the evidence for the use of naturally derived antioxidants in wound healing. Antioxidant therapy for wound healing is promising, but only few animal studies and even fewer clinical studies are available. Because only few products have undergone FDA approval, the consumer is advised to scrutinize them for purity and contaminants prior to use, and this may require direct contact with the companies that sell them. As a field of science, the use of antioxidants for wound healing is in its infancy, and future studies will better elucidate the role of antioxidants in wound healing.
- Wound healing therapy
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