Upcoming Surgical Procedure

The outcome of surgical procedures is improved and complications reduced in healthy individuals compared to those whose nutritional status is questionable. Selective supplementation before and after surgery can improve the recovery rate and reduce the risk of complications.


Risk factors for Upcoming Surgical Procedure

Medical Procedures  

Not having having surgery soon

Recommendations for Upcoming Surgical Procedure


Probiotics / Fermented Foods

Probiotic use before surgery can be helpful in maintaining a healthy colonic flora if antibiotics are going to be used after your surgery. Do not use probiotics without your doctor’s approval if your immune system is seriously compromised.


Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthrococcus senticosus)

The use of Siberian Ginseng before surgery may be helpful because it strengthens the body to better withstand stress, such as the surgical procedure you will be undergoing.


Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Feverfew may interfere with blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding.


Coneflower (Echinacea purpura)

Echinacea may interfere with wound healing and could possibly lead to liver inflammation when combined with certain drugs.


Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal before surgery may cause complications by increased swelling or increased blood pressure.


Ginger Root (Zingiber officinalis)

Large doses of ginger may increase the risk of bleeding, but can be useful after surgery to control nausea. Please check with your doctor.


St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s wort may intensify the effects of anesthetic medications and interfere with the metabolism of some drugs used before and after surgery.



Large amounts of garlic may increase the risk of bleeding by thinning your blood.


Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian might increase or prolong the effects of anesthesia.


Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

High doses of licorice may elevate blood pressure or promote an electrolyte imbalance from potassium loss.



Prolonged use or large doses of kava may increase the effects of anesthesia or contribute to liver problems.


Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba may increase the risk of bleeding and should be stopped at least 2 days prior to surgery.


Ma Huang (Ephedra equisetina)

Ephedra may cause heartbeat irregularities and problems with blood pressure and/or heart rate.


Ginseng, Korean - Chinese / Asian (Panax ginseng)

Panax ginseng, also called Chinese ginseng, could increase the risk of bleeding and interfere with anticlotting medications. It has also been linked to rapid heart beat and elevated blood pressure in a surgical setting. Low blood sugar is also a potential risk.


High/Increased Protein Diet

Making sure that your protein consumption has been adequate before and after surgery can hasten recovery. Some people even use supplemental amino acids just to be sure.



Bromelain has been clinically proven to reduce tissue swelling and speed healing when used after trauma events like boxing or surgery.


Homeopathic Remedies / Vaccines

If you are under the care of a homeopath, ask about homeopathic arnica, a classic first aid remedy to reduce bruising and swelling after surgery. Homeopathic arnica as well as arnica cream should be available in your local health food store.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  

Test Adrenal Function

If blood tests show your adrenal gland reserves are very low, your doctor may consider the use of natural cortisol during and after a stressful procedure like surgery. Before surgery, you should confirm that adrenal fatigue is not a problem if you suspect it may be.


CoQ10 (Ubiquin-one/ol)

If you are going to have heart or gum surgery, consider adding CoQ10 (100mg BID) before and after surgery.



Vitamin E

Caution is advised regarding Vitamin E due to its blood thinning ability. A general recommendation would be to keep your dose below 800 IU per day and dropping it even further starting several days before surgery. Your doctor or presurgical nurse may have a specific recommendation regarding Vitamin E for you before your surgery.


Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences

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