How to eat to avoid sepsis

Severe sepsis with a typical Western diet

According to a study, the type of diet seems to decide whether a patient has a stronger or weaker sepsis. Sepsis – which is popularly known as blood poisoning – is the cause of death in every third person who dies in a hospital and is therefore one of the most common causes of death ( 1 ).

Sepsis is a life-threatening complication that can occur with infectious diseases (pneumonia, bladder infections, after injuries etc.). The body’s own immune system in this case begins to attack its own tissue and organs. Without antibiotic treatment, blood pressure can drop dangerously, causing a condition known as septic shock, which is often fatal.

In the USA suffer according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, United States Disease Control Agency) reports that 1.7 million adults contract sepsis every year and 270,000 die from it. In Germany there are 70,000 to 95,000 people who die from sepsis every year, of which – according to the Ärztezeitung from September 2018 – every fourth death could be avoided if the sepsis were recognized in time and treated correctly ( 2 ).

The type of diet determines the course of sepsis

There are still many unanswered questions about sepsis. For example, it is not known why some people get sepsis while others do not. It is also not possible to predict which of those affected will experience a severe course and who will not.

It also appears that the number of sepsis cases will continue to rise, which may be partly a result of the aging population. Because people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to sepsis and also to fatal courses than younger people.

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According to the above study by researchers at Portland State University in Oregon, diet appears to be an important risk factor for severe sepsis. The study was published in the journal in February 2019 Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPNAS.

More deaths from sepsis with a typical Western diet

The typical Western diet is characterized by high levels of fat and sugar and is at the same time low in sugar fiber. In the study mentioned, mice were given such a diet, while the control group received a healthy diet. The western-fed mice suffered from more inflammation than the health-fed animals before developing sepsis.

Inflammation as a result of an unfavorable diet apparently spreads throughout the cardiovascular system, in the brain and also in the intestine. No wonder the western-fed mice contracted more severe sepsis and died of sepsis more often than the healthy-fed mice.

Unhealthy diet manipulates the immune system

Study author Professor Brooke Napier explained:

“The immune systems of our western-fed subjects looked and functioned differently. Diet seems to manipulate the functions of the immune cells in such a way that one not only becomes more susceptible to sepsis, but also that one dies from it more quickly.”

Since sepsis leads to so many deaths in hospitals every year, one now wants to find out which components of the western diet are so problematic (amount of fat, certain fatty acids, a certain fatty acid ratio, amount of sugar, type of sugar, etc.) so that countermeasures can be taken in a targeted manner.

However, the researchers were already able to name a few parameters (values) that could be used to predict which patients should be expected to have an increased risk of sepsis, so that close attention is paid to the corresponding symptoms (tiredness, confusion, shortness of breath, racing heart rate). , cold arms and legs, falling blood pressure, Feverchills) or the respective infection is treated more aggressively in advance.

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Other high-fat diets could also be problematic

If the problem lies in a generally high-fat diet – according to the Portland researchers – then the increasingly fashionable high-fat diets such as e.g. B. the ketogenic diet or other high-fat low-carb diets (HFLC) increase the risk of sepsis ( 3 ).

However, it must be taken into account here that these diets are known to be low in sugar and that the harmfulness of the typical Western diet consists, among other things, in the combination of inferior fats and plenty of inferior carbohydrates. Just these…

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