Role for Probiotics In Autism?

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Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by repetitive motions and impaired communication. While the cause of this devastating dysfunction is not clear, several theories are gathering steam: genetics, toxins, nutritional deficiencies and/or infections.

 And in a strange twist, many with ASD also suffer with gastrointestinal problems. This link has led researchers to question how the two may be related.

Just this month, researchers at California Institute of Technology published a provocative paper in a journal called Cell testing how probiotic therapy may affect autistic behaviors in mice.

 It was shown that the autistic-model mice had “leaky guts” which means that substances easily pass into the blood from the intestines.

Was the leaky gut influencing the autistic behaviors?

The researchers gave the mice Bacteroides fragilis to see how a change in microbes may affect the mice.


The gut stopped “leaking.” And there’s more.

The mice showed different behavior: they were more sociable, showed less anxiety and were less likely to exhibit repetitive digging behavior.

GI health may be a one way of interceding in this disorder in the future. Here is an excellent article in Today’s Dietitian summarizing possible means of nutritional help with ASD.