Sepsis can be life-threatening, especially for anyone with a weakened immune system or a chronic illness like cancer. At a cost of almost $24 billion each year, sepsis has been named the most expensive in-patient cost in American hospitals as of 2014. Another scary statistic – 40 percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis die. Sepsis is said to kill 258,000 people in the United States every year. (1)
What is sepsis? It is a severe systemic infection that spreads via the bloodstream. Infection symptoms include a fever, rapid heart and breathing rates, and a high blood glucose level in a non-diabetic. Any infection can lead to sepsis if it has the right conditions to grow.
Causes and Risk Factors
Any infection can lead to sepsis, but certain infections and their germs are more likely to cause it. Sepsis is most often associated with infections of the skin, gut, lungs (like pneumonia) and urinary tract (such as a kidney infection). Urosepsis complicates a urinary tract infection. Some germs that often cause sepsis include Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Escherichia coli (E. coli) and some types of Streptococcus (strep). (9) Fungi or protozoa, such as malaria, can also cause it. (10)
People who are at a greater risk for getting a sepsis blood infection include: (11)
- Those with compromised immune system due to illnesses like HIV, AIDS or cancer
- People taking drugs that suppress the immune system, such as steroids, and those used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs
- Very young children and babies (especially 2 years or younger)
- The elderly, especially if they have other health problems
- People who have recently been hospitalized and/or had invasive medical procedures
It’s not uncommon for sepsis to develop when someone is already a patient at a hospital. It is more likely to occur in hospital patients who recently had surgery, who have stayed in the hospital for a long period of time, and who have had a urinary catheter fitted. (12)
Our own immune system is the best natural defense against sepsis. One of the best ways to prevent it from occurring is to boost our immune system to prevent minor infections. (22)
When it comes to immune function, zinc and selenium are absolutely essential. Being low in one or both of these vital nutrients can compromise immunity. Then you have a greater risk for infections. A 2015 study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia exposed human endothelial cells (what lines the blood and lymphatic vessels) to a range of zinc and selenium concentrations in conditions similar to sepsis. Oxidative stress and out of control inflammation are two telltale signs of sepsis’ unwanted presence in the body. The researchers found that “zinc and selenium concentrations were reduced in critically ill patients, with increased oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, particularly in patients with sepsis.” (25)
So far studies point towards zinc and selenium supplementation as playing a therapeutic role in preventing and treating sepsis. (26) Eating zinc-rich foods and selenium-rich foods on a daily basis can help keep your immune system strong.
Propolis, aka “bee glue,” is a resin-like mixture that honey bees produce and use to fill gaps in their hives. An animal study published in 2011 in The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases found that derivatives of propolis are a promising natural substance that could likely help in the prevention and treatment of septic shock. (27)
Vitamin C, corticosteroids, and thiamine administered together may help prevent progressive organ failure caused by sepsis, according to a new study
Even in advanced medical settings, sepsis is still very dangerous and accounts for over 400,000 deaths annually in the US alone. While new drugs are in development, a group of researchers has determined that a combination of intravenous vitamin C, corticosteroids (a steroid), and thiamine (vitamin B) may be effective in preventing progressive organ dysfunction and reducing the number of deaths from severe sepsis and septic shock.
Take a look for the full study:
More and a free full paper:
About the effects of Vitamin C liposomal formulated orally in compare to I.V. administration:
Doxycycline and Vitamin C and Thiamin
A potent combination therapy for targeting mitochondria and eradicating cancer stem cells (CSCs)