Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why Probiotics May Be Beneficial For Children With Autism

A Through the Looking Glass Guest Post by Calvin Johnson

When it comes to the subject of autism and autistic children, one area that often gets overlooked is the connection between the gut and the brain. Many experts believe that when it comes to the subject of autism, the child's physical health should be examined and dealt with as much as their behavioral controls. According to a study done by the University of Western Ontario, diet has a huge impact for children with Autism and can even “alter their brain function.”

A study done by the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that out of 60 children with autism, a staggering 93% (54 out of 58) of the children had ileocolonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia (LNH). In addition, 88% of the children had a form of chronic colitis.

Diet May Play A Big Part

Like the above studies show, the stomach and the brain may be linked in a very important way, which means having a proper diet can make a huge impact with individuals with autism. Many believe that cutting out dairy products that contain casein and grain products that contain gluten can improve autism symptoms.

Bad Bacteria Vs. Good Bacteria
When there is not enough “good” bacteria in the gut flora, the “bad” bacteria can overwhelm it and can wreak havoc on the body. Many experts believe that for a body to function correctly and for digestion to work correctly, roughly 85% of the bacteria should be made up from good bacteria.

Where Does This Bad Bacteria Come From?

A popular belief of where this bad bacteria comes from will surprise many. A newborn baby's first exposure to “beneficial” bacteria is via their mother's birth canal. However, if the mother has taken antibiotics for an extended period of time or herself does not have a strong gut flora balance, the “bad” bacteria can be passed on to the child. One of the main purposes of taking antibiotics is to destroy the bad bacteria in your body that is causing your infection. However, it is impossible for the antibiotics to differentiate between the good and bad bacteria and in turn will wipe out both. The lack of beneficial bacteria can cause the gut flora imbalance.

How Probiotics May Help
Probiotics can be described as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics are supplements that can be taken in either pill or powder form that replenish the good bacteria in the body. Some of the most popular strains of probiotics are bacteria are Acidophilus and Bifidus. When picking out a probiotic, it is important to make sure they are gluten and casein free as these ingredients can produce allergic reactions for children with autism.

For whatever reason, there still has not been a large number of studies done on the subject of probiotics and autism. However, there have been numerous testimonials done where parents have found that the use of probiotics have helped out tremendously with their children.

Probiotics For Minimizing Risk
According to the Autism Research Institute and the article What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now? “taking probiotics, and using specific diets and herbs for intestinal pathogens such as yeast and parasites can all be helpful in optimizing health; all of these greatly enhance the likelihood that her child will not be prone to GI problems.”

Probiotics and Autism Conclusion
There is not a huge amount of data when it comes to a link between taking probiotics and reducing the symptoms by autism. However, there is an overwhelming amount of testimonials of mothers and fathers who swear by them. If you are interested in learning more about the subject of probiotics or read testimonials from parents who have found probiotics helping their children Custom Probiotics is one of the largest resources of probiotics information.

Calvin Johnson is webmaster of  What Are Probiotics and is a probiotic enthusiast. Please feel free to contact him with any probiotic related questions or to share any experiences about the subject of probiotics.


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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.