Does a Western diet increase your risk of sepsis?

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(Natural News) As the mainstream media hyperventilates about benign childhood illnesses that confer lifelong immunity, very little is heard about deadly infections such as sepsis. While there are a few hundred cases of measles annually in the U.S., there are approximately 1.7 million cases of sepsis, and 270,000 people die from the blood infection every year in the U.S. alone. A new study reveals that the Western diet is driving up sepsis cases, increasing the severity of the infection and driving up fatality rates in the U.S.

Because there is no vaccine to sell, sepsis is rarely talked about in the mainstream media. Even though one out of three people who die in the intensive care units have sepsis and even though sepsis is a leading cause of death in America, very little is known about the causes of this fatal condition. A new study from Portland State University in Oregon asks the question, “Does a Western diet increase your risk of sepsis?”

A sugary diet, high in bad fats and low in fiber, increases risk of sepsis shock

Sepsis occurs when the immune system begins to attack organs and tissues in response to a blood infection. The blood infection can be bacterial, viral, fungal or protozoan in origin. If not detected early, blood pressure can fall, sending the person into “septic shock.”

The research team began by putting a group of mice on the Western diet. The mice enjoyed a sugary diet, high in bad fats and low in fiber, antioxidants, and phyto-nutrients. They gave a control group a basic diet that balanced the rodent’s basic nutritional needs. The mice fed a Western diet showed high levels of inflammation throughout their body, long before sepsis set in. The low fiber diet caused inflammation in the intestines. The lack of healthy fats and phyto-nutrients burdened the cardiovascular system and the brain of the rodents. All in all, the mice fed a Western diet suffered from more severe cases of sepsis. The mortality risk from sepsis was much greater as well for the mice on the Western diet. The Western diet changes how the immune system responds to bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa.


Senior author and assistant biology professor Brooke Napier said, “The mice’s immune system on the Western diet looked and functioned differently. It looks like the diet is manipulating immune cell function so that you’re more susceptible to sepsis, and then when you get sepsis, you die quicker.”

Napier explains that intensive care units can help mitigate severe septic shock and lower mortality rates by paying attention to kind of food patients are fed in the hospital. She says, “If you know that a diet high in fat and sugar correlates with increased susceptibility to sepsis and increased mortality, when those patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, you can make sure they’re eating the right fats and the right ratio of fats.”

The research paper also outlines critical steps that medical professionals can take to predict who might be more at risk from severe septic shock. Specific bio-markers in the blood can help doctors predict whether patients’ immune systems may overreact. They can then advise patients on how to change their diet to prevent further damage to their immune response. Also, these bio-markers can help doctors respond to their patient’s infection sooner, before their dysfunctional immune response pulls them into septic shock. The research hopes to nail down which types of fat in the Western diet are instructing immune cells to attack organs and tissues. High amounts of sugar may also change how the immune system functions.

Much of the disease fatality that takes place in the world today is “nutrition-preventable.” If the onset and severity of sepsis can be controlled through diet and tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year, then the mainstream media should be all over this kind of research.

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