Nutrients 2013, 5(1), 162-207; doi:10.3390/nu5010162

Nutrition of the Critically Ill — A 21st-Century Perspective

Received: 16 November 2012; in revised form: 17 December 2012 / Accepted: 24 December 2012 / Published: 14 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enteral Nutrition)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Health care-induced diseases constitute a fast-increasing problem. Just one type of these health care-associated infections (HCAI) constitutes the fourth leading cause of death in Western countries. About 25 million individuals worldwide are estimated each year to undergo major surgery, of which approximately 3 million will never return home from the hospital. Furthermore, the quality of life is reported to be significantly impaired for the rest of the lives of those who, during their hospital stay, suffered life-threatening infections/sepsis. Severe infections are strongly associated with a high degree of systemic inflammation in the body, and intimately associated with significantly reduced and malfunctioning GI microbiota, a condition called dysbiosis. Deranged composition and function of the gastrointestinal microbiota, occurring from the mouth to the anus, has been found to cause impaired ability to maintain intact mucosal membrane functions and prevent leakage of toxins — bacterial endotoxins, as well as whole bacteria or debris of bacteria, the DNA of which are commonly found in most cells of the body, often in adipocytes of obese individuals or in arteriosclerotic plaques. Foods rich in proteotoxins such as gluten, casein and zein, and proteins, have been observed to have endotoxin-like effects that can contribute to dysbiosis. About 75% of the food in the Western diet is of limited or no benefit to the microbiota in the lower gut. Most of it, comprised specifically of refined carbohydrates, is already absorbed in the upper part of the GI tract, and what eventually reaches the large intestine is of limited value, as it contains only small amounts of the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients necessary for maintenance of the microbiota. The consequence is that the microbiota of modern humans is greatly reduced, both in terms of numbers and diversity when compared to the diets of our paleolithic forebears and the individuals living a rural lifestyle today. It is the artificial treatment provided in modern medical care — unfortunately often the only alternative provided — which constitute the main contributors to a poor outcome. These treatments include artificial ventilation, artificial nutrition, hygienic measures, use of skin-penetrating devices, tubes and catheters, frequent use of pharmaceuticals; they are all known to severely impair the microbiomes in various locations of the body, which, to a large extent, are ultimately responsible for a poor outcome. Attempts to reconstitute a normal microbiome by supply of probiotics have often failed as they are almost always undertaken as a complement to — and not as an alternative to — existing treatment schemes, especially those based on antibiotics, but also other pharmaceuticals.
Keywords: health care; surgery; stress; trauma; transplantation; liver cirrhosis; liver steatosis; obesity; osteoarthritis; pancreatitis; critical care; nutrition; enteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition; microbiota; microbiome; microbial translocation; probiotic bacteria; lactobacillus; lactobacillus plantarum; lactobacillus paracasei; microbial translocation; inflammation; infection; Toll-like; neutrophils; pharmaceuticals; biological; eco-biologicals; nutraceuticals; curcumin; resveratrol; antibiotics; chemotherapeutics; barriers; leakage; gut; airways; oral cavity; skin; vagina; placenta; amnion; blood-brain barrier; growth; replication; apoptosis; mucosa; endothelium; plaques; cytokines; IL1; NF-kB; TNF; growth factors; insulinogenic; IGF-1; prebiotics; plant fibers; greens; fruits; vegetables; minerals; fat diet; refined carbohydrate diet; advanced glycation end products (AGEs); advanced lipoxidation end products (ALEs); endotoxin; LPS; proteotoxins; casein; gluten; zein; western lifestyle; paleolithic lifestyle; food habits of the chimpanzee
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bengmark, S. Nutrition of the Critically Ill — A 21st-Century Perspective. Nutrients 2013, 5, 162-207.

AMA Style

Bengmark S. Nutrition of the Critically Ill — A 21st-Century Perspective. Nutrients. 2013; 5(1):162-207.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bengmark, Stig. 2013. "Nutrition of the Critically Ill — A 21st-Century Perspective." Nutrients 5, no. 1: 162-207.

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