On April 4th, we hosted an Educational Seminar at BODiWORKS Institute on the topic of Nutrition and Autism. It was an in-depth look at the connection between gut health and brain function and we talked about the latest research involving probiotics and their benefit to symptoms and behaviours associated with ASD.
Probiotics and diet have been studied for some time because it is believed to be a potential, risk-free and effective treatment for autism. The microbiome of people with ASD has fewer strains and species of microbes than neurotypical people. Those with autism tend to have more pathogenic microbes that beneficial, which is playing a big role in symptoms and behaviours. Why is this happening?
1. A disruption of the microbiome means that there are too many bad bacteria producing toxic waste in the gut and this impairs the gut lining.
2. When the gut lining is impaired, bacteria can migrate into the lymph tissues.
3. This activates an immune response and inflammatory chemicals are produced.
4. These inflammatory chemicals open up the spaces between intestinal cells and this allows undigested food molecules and toxic metabolites from the bad bacteria to enter the blood stream and travel to the brain where they cause problems.
Most of the current diets that are recommended to people with autism restrict carbohydrates because carbs feed bacteria and allow them to multiply, further causing GI symptoms. However, these carbs also feed our residential good bacteria, and by removing all of them, we are reducing total microbe counts, which helps with symptoms, but over the long term it isn’t helping to improve the condition of the gut.
In an ideal situation, we would be offering up a broad range of foods and nutrients that will help to improve gut health and function: probiotics, fermented foods and prebiotic foods along with other supporting nutrients that help to heal and repair damage to the gut lining.
While this is great news, we also have to recognize that there are specific and unique issues that come with feeding someone with autism. Working with a professional can greatly reduce the stress that comes along with making changes. We can help you put a step-by-step plan in place that is right for your family.
Above is a short segment from the Seminar - Nutrition and ASDwritten by Kim Banting, Nutritionist
and the team at the BODiWORKS Institute