Protein has been known for over a century to likely improve wound healing. However, not all proteins are created equal and many studies have determined that arginine and glutamine (two types of protein) are especially useful in wound healing.

Arginine and glutamine are amino acids (protein) important in collagen formation, which is vital for healing surgical incisions. Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of supplementation with amino acids to improve both the quality of an incision and the rate at which an incision heals.*


Kirk SJ, Hurson M, Regan MC, Holt DR, Wasserkrug HL, Barbul A. Arginine stimulates wound healing and immune function in aged humans. Surgery 1993;114:155-160.

Williams JZ, Abumrad NN, Barbul A. Effect of specialized amino acid mixture on human collagen deposition. Ann Surg. 2002:236:369-375.

Kavalukas SL, Barbul A. Nutrition and wound healing: An update. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011:127(Suppl.):38S-43S.

Witte MB, Barbul A. Arginine physiology and its implication for wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 2003;11(6):419-423.

Blass SC, Goost H, Tolba RH, et al. Time to wound closure in trauma patients with disorders in wound healing is shortened by supplements containing antioxidant micronutrients and glutamine: a PRCT. Clin Nutr. 2012;31(4):469-475.

Sipahi S, Gungor O, Gunduz M, Cilci M, Demirci MC, Tamer A. The effect of oral supplementation with a combination of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, arginine and glutamine on wound healing: a retrospective analysis of diabetic haemodialysis patients. BMC Nephrol. 2013;14:8. Published 2013 Jan 12.

Wischmeyer PE. Glutamine in Burn Injury. Nutr Clin Pract. 2019;34(5):681-687.

MacKay D, Miller AL. Nutritional support for wound healing. Altern Med Rev. 2003;8(4):359-377.

Barbul A. Proline precursors to sustain Mammalian collagen synthesis. J Nutr. 2008;138(10):2021S-2024S.

*Disclaimer:  If you suffer from any medical illness or have medical concerns or questions, please speak with your healthcare provider. The information on wound healing found on this site is derived from peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies, links to which are available under “Sources.” However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.