Endotoxin is nasty stuff. If we want some sort of idea of how nasty it is we just have to look at this juicy quote from Hansen et al from Denmark:
“Harte et al. have reported levels of endotoxin to be between 3.3 and 14.2 EU/mL, but these concentrations are known to increase levels of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) in plasma and induce a massive inflammatory response in humans”.
The context of the quote is that these folks are commenting on a paper by Harte et al which described the above levels of endotoxin as being found in human volunteers, which should be nearly lethal. The victims, poor folks, had been coerced in to drinking the sort of amount of whipping cream which might be a lunchtimee snack for myself. And they survived. As do I after such an insult (so far).
What galls Hansen appears to be complete lack of any sort of an inflammatory response to this lethal chylomicron/endotoxin cocktail coursing through the bloodstream of the lipophiles (assuming they enjoyed being paid to drink the cream).
In every group studied, from normal through obese and IGT to diabetic, TNFa falls after a decent glass of whipping cream, albeit in a statistically non significant manner. Endotoxin levels go up, often dramatically and highly significantly.
It’s all in Table 2:
Even in the deepest cesspits of nutritional research no one really expects a half a pint of cream to produce lethal endotoxaemia within a few hours of drinking it. In their response to the comment, which implies that they can’t measure endotoxin correctly, Harte are polite and point out that there is a world of difference between an iv bolus of neat endotoxin (not recommended) and the absorption of endotoxin from the gut in the presence of chylomicrons (welcome to my world).
There are a number of papers showing that apolipoprotein B containing lipid particles are markedly protective against endotoxin, albeit mostly in mouse models. Quite why an oral lipid bolus should automatically load chylomicrons with endotoxin in healthy individuals is another of those fascinating questions which may need a little thought but I think we can reliably say that it would have been eliminated if there is no benefit.
I wrote a post, several years ago, where Greve’s group demonstrated a marked protective effect of a gastric lipid gavage against the effects of haemorrhagic shock, the effects of which are largely related to loss of gut wall integrity, bacterial translocation and endotoxin uptake.
In the high fat world, endotoxin uptake is not what it seems. Lipoproteins neutralise and carry endotoxin. If you need systemic inflammation to maintain research funding you need to be a little more McDevious.
The above little exchange came to mind because Zachary mentioned (in comments on the last post) a study at his university recruiting victims to demonstrate endotoxin uptake after a high fat meal WITH inflammation. You can, of course do this. Technique: "The diet is foods such as TV dinners, meat and cheese". This may be good for getting the right result to secure subsequent funding but it obliterates the fact that a single high fat meal of unadulterated whipping cream is both anti inflammatory and might even improve insulin sensitivity, in the acute setting at least. Just skip the Egg McMuffins.