Earlier this week I told you a bit about septic shock. When an infection invades your body and damage tissues, they release a number of chemicals including histamine and prostaglandins.
These chemicals then cause your blood vessels to leak fluid into your tissues causing swelling, or inflammation.
But sometimes this normal inflammatory response goes haywire. It lasts too long leading to severe, body wide inflammation.
In an attempt to recover from the growing inflammation, your body can overreact pumping out massive amounts of cytokines. This condition called sepsis, or septic shock, eventually damages the lining of the blood vessels causing inappropriate and uncontrolled blood clotting.
A high fever, a dangerous drop in blood pressure, and a domino effect of organ shut down starting with the lungs and kidneys are often the result.
Sepsis is frequently fatal. In fact, one third of sepsis patients, even those receiving excellent medical care, die from it.
New study uncovers potential solution for sepsis
It’s a frustrating and frightening condition, which has bewildered doctors and researchers for years.
However, the exciting results of a new University of Pennsylvania animal study have put hope back on the horizon.1 Scientists say, they may have found a way for us to make sepsis FAR less likely to kill.
Because if the results of the mouse study translate into humans—and right now, there’s every reason to believe they will—all it might take to help protect us from this killer is boosting the levels of certain bacteria which already naturally live in our guts.
In the study, mice which had higher levels of specific gut microbes were much more likely to dodge death from sepsis.
Which means we can likely now add sepsis survival to the long list of things our gut bugs can do for us from fighting arthritis to depression.
Battle bacteria without sepsis triggering inflammation
This sepsis breakthrough builds on something we already knew.
Earlier research had found that people who don’t produce a specific immune antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA) are much more likely to die from sepsis.
IgA battles infections, but it does so without the inflammation that can lead to septic shock.
And it turns out that certain gut bugs are masters at triggering a quick response from IgA. The antibody then rushes to the scene of the infection to begin battling the invader. But without the sepsis inducing inflammation.
The University of Pennsylvania researchers theorized that we could be more successful at battling sepsis simply by boosting the gut microbes that stimulate the antibodies.
So they tested this theory on mice using Proteobacteria phylum microbes.
And exposing the mice to the unique natural bacteria triggered the IgA response and resistance to sepsis they predicted.
Could dietary fats fight septic shock? Perhaps…
Translating these findings into specific steps we can take on our own to protect against septic shock will take some time. Because the truth is Proteobacteria aren’t, actually, what we typically call “good” bugs.
Besides, ultimately, what we REALLY want is to increase IgA. The presence of Proteobacteria simply encourage that to happen.
But if you’ve been following our advice to avoid waging an all-out war on fats in your diet, you might already have built some extra protection against sepsis.
Studies have hinted higher fat foods such as butter and olive oil may naturally boost the amount of Proteobacteria in our guts.
Which gives us another reason to encourage you to eat plenty of good fats like you’ll find in…
- olive oil
As well as remind you, there’s no reason to completely slash organic, grass fed animal fats from your diet.
We’ll keep a close eye on this developing story and update you when we learn more about how we can dodge deadly sepsis using the power of IgA.
1. “Commensal Microbes Induce Serum IgA Responses that Protect against Polymicrobial Sepsis,” Cell Host & Microbe, 2018
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