According to a recent study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, consumption of a Western diet, which is low in fibre content and high in sugar and fat content, could possibly put you at an increased risk of developing severe sepsis. Sepsis is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. This potentially life-threatening condition is caused by body's response to an infection. Severe sepsis could even lead to organ failure and shock.
The study was conducted on mice. As per the findings of the study, there was an increase in chronic inflammation, sepsis severity and higher mortality rates in mice that were fed the Western diets, in comparison to the ones who were fed a normal diet.
According to the researchers, including Brooke Napier from the Portland State University, the mice had more severe sepsis and were dying faster because of something in their diet, not because of the weight gain or microbiome, the body's community of bacteria.
"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 are more susceptible to sepsis, and then when you get sepsis, you die quicker," Napier said.
These findings could help hospitals in better monitoring of the diets of patients admitted in the ICU as they are most likely to develop sepsis. "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 ICU, you can make sure they're eating the right fats and the right ratio of fats," she said.
"If you could introduce a dietary intervention while they are in the ICU to decrease their chances of manipulating their immune system in that way, you can somehow influence the outcome," she added.
The researchers also identified molecular markers in the Western diet-fed mice, which could be further used as predictors or biomarkers for patients that are at high risk for severe sepsis.