The Use of a Specialized Nutritional Supplement for Diabetic Foot Ulcers Reduces the Use of Antibiotics

Patrizio Tatti, Annabel Elisabeth Barber


Background: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) are among the most invalidating and costly complications of diabetes. We evaluated the effect of a blend of arginine, glutamine and Beta-hydroxy-Beta-methyl-butyrate on the healing of these lesions in a group of 22 diabetic subjects who served as their own control. A nutritional supplement containing arginine, glutamine and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (Ar-Gl-HMB) dramatically improved the healing of diabetic foot ulcers in two studies. Glutamine and Arginine have an antibacterial and immunopotentiating action and should reduce the use of antibiotics. We evaluated the use and the cost of antibiotics using the data from two case controlled studies of diabetic subjects with recurrent neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers.

Methods: We identified 22 subjects with type-2 diabetes who had been treated in the past for neuropathic ulcers of the foot (Event 1, E1), and who subsequently suffered recurrent ulcers with similar characteristics (E2). In E2 the treatment was the same but the subjects received a supplementation of Ar-Gl-HMB, and experienced 50% reduction of time to healing.

Results: During E1 we used 83 courses of antibiotics, versus 36 during E2 (Wilcoxon SR test = 0.002). The cost for treatment E1 was 17123.77 , versus 8537.8 in E2. The difference persists also adding the cost of the supplement of 2586 (8537.8 +171223.77 = 1123.8 ).

Conclusions: The cost of the antibiotic treatment was reduced by 50% with the use of the formula. Because the time to healing was shortened, both the direct costs (medication, surgery, nursing time, etc) and the indirect costs (hospitalization, days of work lost) were decreased .The use of a highly specialized nutritionreduces the cost of the antibiotic treatment by about 50% and the auxiliary economic and social burden of disease.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;2(1):26-31


Diabetic foot ulcer; Infection; Antibiotics

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