Autism & Gut Health

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with cognitive inabilities, repetitive behavior patterns, restricted social interaction, & impaired communication.  Wide variation in the type & severity of symptoms makes autism a “spectrum” disorder, but those afflicted do share one commonality, that to greater or lesser degrees, they all suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.

The dramatically rising rates of autism constitute a quickly looming public health crisis.  In the 1970’s & 1980’s the diagnosis rate was 1 in every 2,000 children in the U.S.  Now, the CDC estimates that 1 out of every 54 children in the United States is affected by ASD.

The UN says that there are 70 million autistic people worldwide.  For children, the prevalence of autism exceeds those with diabetes, cancer, & AIDS combined.  The signs of ASD typically begin in early childhood, & without proper & ideally early intervention, last for life.

Although ASD primarily impacts the brain, links with other systems have recently become clear, as GI issues occur much more often in individuals with autism.  Additionally, the prevalence of more digestive symptoms is directly correlated with the severity of autism.

The abdominal pain & discomfort associated with autism’s diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, nausea, stooling pain, & vomiting can often be a source of behavioral outbursts for children who struggle to communicate.

It’s well-known that children with autism experience significantly more immune dysregulation, neurological issues, & digestive disorders, all of which are also symptoms of an imbalanced gut microbiome.

Autism & Gut Microbiome Disruption

We all coexist in a healthy homeostasis with vast populations of beneficial microbes living in & on us that outnumber human cells by 10 to 1.  They’re most abundant in our gut where they aid digestion & nutrient absorption; prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria; oversee the development of our nervous system; train our immune system to eliminate dangerous pathogens & toxins; act as our “second brain”, governing our neurotransmitters, brain communication, & neurological health.

Studies have revealed dramatic differences in the composition, diversity, & number of microbes found in those on the autism spectrum compared to neuro-typical children.

There are common patterns for children with ASD, all of which also lead to limited biodiversity in gut bacteria:

Parents & care givers have long claimed that changing a child’s diet or improving their gut health not just helped their digestive problems, but also behavioral concerns as well.  Anecdotal stories abound online that when a child’s GI discomfort is relieved, ASD symptoms & their ability to focus dramatically improves.

Gut Microbiome’s Link to the Autistic Brain

A gut-brain axis forms via the shared vagus nerve superhighway, in which bioactive compounds from intestinal bacteria “speak” to our brain help orchestrate its functions, including social development.

This means that our gut microbes govern behavior, appetite, mood, anxiety, depression, emotional reactions, memory, & stress.  An imbalance in our gut microbes disrupts how the gut functions, & causes the symptoms of most chronic diseases we are currently experiencing.

Mice bred to be germ-free & therefore lacking the typical mix of gut microbes, avoid other mice, vocalize less, shun new social situations, & unnecessarily repeatedly groom themselves.  Amazingly, when given a microbial gut seeding, the formerly germ-free mice’s behavior changed to match the behavior of the donor mouse.

Microbes themselves produce neurotransmitters, many of which are the same ones produced by our cells, which travel to the brain in the blood.  Which microbes reside in the gut affects which psychoactive chemicals are produced & what messages are received by the brain.

Autism’s Dietary Link

40% – 60% of autistic children cope with gastrointestinal problems, yet despite the pain, their abdominal tracts generally appear normal.

People with ASD are four times more likely to suffer from chronic digestive disorders than their neuro-typical peers & siblings.  This often causes children to move away from certain foods they associate with discomfort, to struggle against transitioning to new foods, or feel stress & act out around mealtimes.

Children with ASD are often extremely picky eaters, with more than 90% of autistic children experiencing some type of feeding related issues.  Sensory integration issues characterized by extreme sensitivity to taste, texture, or smell, can contribute to disordered eating.  Many parents report that their affected child will eat as few as five foods.

An extremely limited diet leads to nutrient & enzyme deficiencies, which then affect the body’s ability to effectively digest certain types of food.  The diets of picky eaters are also usually fiber deficient, which cause a myriad of GI disturbances for long digestive tracts such as ours, particularly constipation.

Those diagnosed with autism often experience a largely overlooked form of constipation, known as fecal loading.  Weak tissues in the gut lose muscle tone to the point where the bowel stops being able to remove stool effectively unless is completely full.

Many autistic kids poop every day, but they’re eliminating stool that’s been in there for days.  The longer stool sits in the intestine, the more toxins that were destined for elimination will be re-absorbed into the body.  Fecal loading also contributes to the overgrowth of yeast & bacterial pathogens that further contribute to autistic symptoms.

Autism’s Increased Intestinal Permeability aka. Leaky Gut

More than 36% of children with ASD have “leaky” guts, compared to only 4.8% of abnormal permeability in the control population.

This means that their weakened intestinal lining has become so ineffectively permeable, that it allows toxins & undigested food to cross directly into our bloodstream.  This causes massive inflammation, impairing brain function, & contributing to the social problems & repetitive behaviors characteristic of autism.

This increased intestinal permeability allows more chemical signals originating from the GI tract to enter our blood circulation, & cross over the blood-brain barrier to deliver these chemical signals to the brain where they induce immune responses.  Therefore, the microbiome of ASD patients has even more influence through the gut-brain axis than does the average person.

In mice bred to have autistic behaviors, all of them went on to develop leaky gut syndrome.

Things Found to Help Autism

There are many things that some studies, but mostly parents are discovering to ease or eliminate the symptoms of autism, including:

Gut Microbiome Transplants Effect on Autism

Since regular probiotic formulations contain less than a dozen bacterial strains, they have a hard if not impossible in the long term problem: How to bring harmony back to a disrupted system of check & balance, a micro-ecosystem that needs thousands of species to thrive in homeostasis?.  That’s why FMT is quickly gaining popularity.

Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) can transform a dysbiotic gut microbiome into a healthy one by delivering a large number of commensal microbes from a healthy stool donor.  This gut microbiome re-seeding has been found to immensely reduce the behavioral symptoms seen in ASD & drastically improve their quality of life.

A study of children with autism & severe digestive problems found that a probiotic stool transplant to rebalance their gut microbiome reduced all of their digestive & autistic symptoms.

FMT treatment increased the diversity of microbes & healthy bacteria in their gut even two years later; reduced the children’s gastrointestinal symptoms by 80%, & their autistic symptoms decreased by an average of 45% compared to the beginning of the trial.

When mice had their gut microbiomes replaced with stool from people with autism, it caused autism-like behaviors in the mice.  Researchers also found distinct differences in the brains of the microbe transplanted mice, suggesting that gut bacteria had some involvement in brain formation, which would then influence behavior.

Probiotics on Another Level of Quality & Diversity

Don’t let your health or that of a loved one be left to chance.  Recent advances in scientific technology have made it possible to have a safe, long lasting, easy to take oral FMT probiotic that contains thousands of bacteria, in a proven ideal healthy ratio.

This advanced probiotic has been naturally preserved via an oxygen-free lyophilisation process that removes all moisture content, leaving the microbiome inert for decades.  At any time, it can be easily administered by simply swallowing the capsules with water.

If you don’t know someone that would benefit from FMT treatment now, then it can be your priceless peace of mind insurance, since this probiotic can sit in your freezer for more than a decade while maintaining its extremely high diverse potency.

The best “poop pills” come from our single super stool donor, whose gut microbiome is stellar & consistently beyond the rest.  Our FMT Capsules are the perfect gut microbiome boost or replacement due to an antibiotic, a C-section birth, autism, SIBO, C. difficile, or the growing list of health issues that are being successfully treated with probiotic stool transplants.  This makes scrambling last-minute to try to find a healthy stool donor near you a thing of the past.

The Gut Guru

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