Study: High-fat Western diet could increase risk, severity of sepsis

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The traditional Western diet could increase your risk of deadly sepsis, according to a new study.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers found the traditional Western diet, which is high in fats and sucrose and low in fiber, could have an impact on sepsis.

The study's first listed author, Dr. Brooke Napier, told the Sun, "It looks like the [Western] diet is manipulating immune cell function so that you're more susceptible to sepsis, and then when you get sepsis, you die quicker."

Sepsis is an immune system response to infection that causes organ failure. It is the 11th-most common cause of death around the world, according to the study.

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The experiments found mice who ate a Western diet had “increased sepsis severity and poorer outcomes.” The mice had a higher baseline level of inflammation and “increased sepsis-associated immunoparalysis” compared to mice who ate more fiber.

“Importantly, we found that the WD-dependent increase in sepsis severity and higher mortality is independent of the microbiome, suggesting that the diet may be directly regulating the innate immune system through an unknown mechanism,” according to a statement from the researchers.

Napier said the team will investigate if certain fats in the Western diet cause the immune system change.

The study was written by Brooke A. Napier, Marta Andres-Terre, Liliana M. Massis, Andrew J. Hryckowian, Steven K. Higginbottom, Katherine Cumnock, Kerriann M. Casey, Bereketeab Haileselassie, Kyler A. Lugo, David S. Schneider, Justin L. Sonnenburg and Denise M. Monack.