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Nutritional support continues to receive much attention as a possible intervention to prevent loss of lean tissue mass, promote recovery and re-establish proper immune function in critical care patients. Yet there remains much controversy regarding the clinical efficacy of such interventions. In addition to the direct effect of nutrition in terms of micro- and macronutrient content, nutritional formulations may exert an effect via the physiological response to feeding. Here, we highlight the key role of postprandial reabsorbed bile acids in attenuating both the inflammatory response and autophagy. These observations suggest that not all patients would benefit from aggressive nutritional support.

Original publication




Journal article


Critical care (London, England)

Publication Date





Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa.


Humans, Bile Acids and Salts, Nutritional Support, Energy Intake, Nutritional Status, Autophagy