Can Probiotics help symptoms for Autism Recovery?

autistic probiotics recovery
Spread the Probiotic love

There has been a marked increase in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the past few decades. According to data released by the Center for Disease Control, as recent as the year 2000 Autism Spectrum Disorders were identified in 1 child out of every 150. By the year 2012, the prevalence had risen to 1 child out of every 68; which makes Autism disorders some of the fastest growing developmental dysfunctions. These are alarming statistics, especially when we consider the fact that the exact genetic and environmental factors that cause autism have not been accurately identified. Almost all assertions made about Autism Spectrum Disorders are quickly disputed by members of the medical community.


A consensus as to why Autism presents has not been reached, but it is indisputable that this condition has far-reaching consequences for the lives of those affected and their loved ones. The Center for Disease Control estimates that Autism disorders cost the American public over 60 billion dollars in health care costs and special education per year. Recovery is one of the most highly controversial subjects when speaking of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Conventionally, Autism is considered a permanent disability but recent studies done on the issue are increasingly suggesting that recovery is possible. One of the most promising fields is that of Probiotic therapies and the regulation of the intestinal microbiome.




Falling on the Autism Spectrum does not denote a single disease; Autism is rather a set of diverse neurobehavioral and developmental conditions. Autism disorders are characterized by a pervasive difficulty with social interaction and communication. These disabilities usually appear early in childhood and gradually intensify with age. Diagnosis is somewhat made more difficult by the fact that it is a set of symptoms that denote the presence of the condition as opposed to a single indicator.


The three main components of an Autism diagnosis are:


SOCIAL IMPAIRMENT: A lack of intuition about others and reaction to familiar social stimuli are some of the first signs to be identified. Difficulty maintaining eye contact and responding to emotional cues is commonly seen in autistic patients.


IMPAIRED COMMUNICATION: Delayed development of communicative cues is identified early on in childhood. Autistic children have less varied word combinations than their peers. The also present a diminished ability to include gesturing into their speech patterns.


COMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS: Repetitive movements and a significant aversion to change are typical of patients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Time-consuming behaviors such as repeatedly organizing toys or baubles into specific shapes are often seen in ASD patients.


Diagnosis relies solely on behavioral observation and genetic tests are not done until after a definite diagnosis has been established. Research has demonstrated though, that a high prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders is frequently reported in patients living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This observation has to lead to further research on the possible use of restorative probiotic therapies as a treatment for ASD.




autism probiotics The first fact we must establish: Is there substantial evidence to back up the notion that there is partial recovery from Autistic Spectrum Disorders? The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has published studies that suggest that anywhere from 3 to 25 percent of people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders recover. Individuals who were said to have improved displayed no marked difficulty interacting and communicating with the rest of the world. Ritualistic and compulsive behaviors were also wholly eliminated.


Hippocrates of Kos, the father of medicine, has been attributed to expounding the idea that food had the potential to be the equal of medicine. For a long time, we have known that a direct relationship existed between Autism disorders and intestinal flora. Repeatedly and consistently people on the autism spectrum have been shown to present marked differences in microbiome composition compared to non-autistic people.


As we all know, the human body is host to an astounding number of beneficial bacteria. The human micro-biome numbers in the billions of organisms. Probiotics are substances that aim to either repopulate or regulate bacterial colonies within the human gastrointestinal system. Once the medical world identified a correlation between gut flora and autistic behaviors the only logical step to follow was using probiotics therapeutically to treat autism.


Changes in the microbiome have been shown to induce changes in the brain’s function. For example, it has been shown that ingestion of Bacteroides fragilis improves sociability in mice. This effect is possible; the study suggests because oxytocin secretion was stimulated by the increased presence of the beneficial bacterium. Oxytocin is a substance that is intimately tied to social motivation behaviors. The bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri was also shown to enhance oxytocin production and its effects on behavior.




Another possible benefit of probiotic therapy in the treatment of autistic disorders comes from probiotics’s potent anti-inflammatory properties. The vagus nerve paves a direct route between the human gut and the brain and allows for a bidirectional line of communication between cognitive centers of the brain and intestinal functions. Probiotics may be able to lower inflammatory processes in the brain which may be associated with the causes of autism. The presence of more anti-inflammatory cytokines and metabolites such as short chain fatty acids can positively affect the sympathetic nervous system.


Further evidence linking gut health and autism recovery suggests that probiotics’ ability to strengthen and boost the immune apparatus can help alleviate autism-related symptoms. Dendritic cells are plentiful in the human stomach and intestines. These accessory cells are antigen presenting and place a direct link between immune deregulation and autistic behaviors.


Adopting diets rich in probiotics may yet prove essential to the facilitation of autism recovery. Children with autism had lower levels of Bifidobacteria and more elevated levels of Lactobacillus according to a study out of the BMC Gastroenterology journal. While further testing and research are needed the causal links between intestinal flora integrity and autistic disorders are too strong to be willfully ignored. Probiotic diets are readily adopted as many of the food types are already part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dietary supplementation of probiotic foods is also highly recommended.











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  • Yogurt Secrets – Can Yogurt Treat Autism? 
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  • Arizon State University Article TV documentary spotlights ASU researchers’ findings on autism-related gastrointestinal problems

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