New research into autism has shown a promising breakthrough, and the answer may lie in the gut. Studies show children with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) have different gut bacteria from that of typical children and children with ASD can continue to have gastrointestinal (GI) problems lasting into adulthood. Researchers believe that bringing their gut bacteria more in line with that of a typical child may help doctors treat autistic children better.
Studies comparing the gut bacteria of 20 autistic and 20 healthy children revealed that the autistic children had less gut bacteria and a much lower diversity of bacteria. Prevotella, bacteria that plays a role in the regulation of the gut microbiome, was found in low levels in the stomachs of the autistic children. Fixing the gut bacteria in autistic children may help reduce the inflammation throughout the body.
Many kids with ASD suffer from chronic diarrhea, bloating and constipation and improving the GI balance can help with symptoms of stimming (self-stimulatory behavior), mood, rigidity, vocabulary and other symptoms.
While studies have been small, the research is continuing and uncovering the link between gut bacteria and autism could introduce future treatments for the condition. It could also help treat GI problems and potentially resolve other problems as well. However, normalizing gut bacteria would not necessarily be a miracle cure, as the brain is affected by other factors such as vitamins and minerals, toxins and the immune system.
In diagnosing, it’s important for kids with ASD to have their gastrointestinal tract evaluated with comprehensive stool testing or organic acid testing.
Treatment often includes probiotics, herbal and/or prescription antifungals and special diets including candida (yeast) diets, specific carbohydrate diet, and gaps diet (gut and psychology syndrome).
To learn more about potential treatment, contact our office today.