When you are laid out on the operating table, under deep anesthesia, with a surgical team cutting and poking around inside, the last thing you need is a crisis. Imagine for a minute that during your operation, your heart rate suddenly changed, your blood pressure went through the roof, the surgeon couldn't control your bleeding, or they couldn't wake you after the operation. Pretty grim picture isn't it.
WHAT ANESTHESIOLOGISTS KNOW ABOUT DRUG INTERACTION
Anesthesiologists use potent drug combinations to keep you under during major surgery. They've learned from their own experiences in the O.R. and from medical research that some of the vitamins, herbs and other commonly used dietary supplements can interact with anesthetics with potentially disastrous results.
DANGERS OF EXCESSIVE BLEEDING
A daily supplement regimen is a great way to stay in the peak of health, but some of the ingredients; garlic, feverfew, ginseng, Vitamins E & K, ginger, gingko, and fish oil, to name a few, can be especially dangerous because they thin your blood and increase your tendency to bleed during an operation.
OTHER DANGERS OF DRUG/SUPPLEMENT INTERACTION
Popular herbal supplements like kava and St. John's wart may cause additional sedation. Ephedra, commonly found in weight loss supplements, is a stimulant that can increase heart rate, cause heart rhythm disturbances and raise blood pressure.
WHAT THEY'LL TELL YOU BEFORE YOUR SURGERY
When you schedule your surgery, you'll have a pre-operative interview with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. They're going to tell you to DISCONTINUE USE OF ALL VITAMINS, HERBS AND OTHER DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS FOR ONE TO THREE WEEKS prior to the date of the operation. The surgical team won't take unnecessary risks and neither should you. You'll be under their care, so follow their advice.
AFTER YOUR SURGERY
Surgery puts huge demands on your body, and following your surgeon's post operative advice will ease your recovery. After the first 24 hours, you should be able to gradually reintroduce your vitamins and supplements with the possible exception of blood thinners. Your surgeon will give you the time frame to follow.
SUPPLEMENTS TO SPEED YOUR RECOVERY
Vitamin A can be an important factor in wound healing, and Omega-3 fatty acids can help with post operative inflammation. Studies have shown that Omega-3 supplements may improve recovery and help to prevent infection following surgery.
Surgery puts enormous stress on your immune system. Selenium and Zinc both play important roles in immune system function, wound healing and infection prevention. A Vitamin C deficiency has a negative impact on immune function. Adequate levels of vitamin C are important for wound healing as well.
Take it slow and always follow the advice of your surgeon.