Autism and the Gut

1st January 2016

Theresa May has managed in one act to show her ability as Home Secretary and the compassion of the Tory Party. An unexpected bi-product was the public’s relit interest in autism and spectrum disorders. I am going to jump on the band-wagon and also discuss autism, but from a slightly different angle.

Dr Anil Minocha is a gastroenterologist and nutritionist, he has written several articles about the relationship between the gut and ailments, other bodily functions and psychological issues we may not automatically associate it to. One of his latest articles strongly suggests that there may be a link between the gut and autism.

“There is some evidence suggesting autism is associated with impaired gastrointestinal health especially alterations in gut bacteria. The theory is that changes in the bacterial flora of the gut may promote increased growth of neurotoxin producing bacteria in the gut with potential to cause manifestations of autism.”

So whether we are willing to admit it or not many children may not be autistic ‘from birth’ but may be from their diet. More research needs to go into the actual link between the two. However, from a personal perspective I have seen how some gut imbalance may have such an impact on a child. I have a cousin who was born ‘normal’ his development was on track (as far as doctors, parents and specialists can tell). At age 3 he suddenly had a horrific allergic reaction to a new type of food he had not up until then eaten; cheese. This reaction developed into intolerance to dairy which manifest in aggressive eczema. Along with the physical ailments both parents and doctors noticed a huge change in his behaviour in terms of conversational development, concentration and several other areas. By age 5 he was showing signs of Asperge’s Syndrome, but was never fully diagnosed as his symptoms sat on the line between Asperge’s and not.
How can we avoid such occurrences?  Maybe more research into the DNA of the microbes in the gut will give us more insight into what our children may react badly to. One hugely helpful thing we can do is ensure we keep children’s diets full of un-processed foods, whole foods and foods full of goodness. My cousin ate cheese, cheese made for children. Cheese is milk that has been processed. He had drunk milk before, even eaten ice cream, but it was cheese that caused his eczema and may well have triggered the Asperge’s type symptoms that followed.

For those of you reading this who are colonic therapists, it may be worth noting the list of foods and supplements that can maybe reduce the symptoms of autism and spectrum disorders. It will be very useful when trying to understand and advise a client who has autism or a spectrum disorder.