How do Probiotics work in treating autism symptoms?

pills 300x225 How do Probiotics work in treating autism symptoms?Probiotics have been getting a lot of buzz lately. These little microorganisms are credited with improving our immune systems, helping to keep us regular, and even with easing the symptoms of developmental disorders like autism. Probiotic supplements are available at health food stores, specialty shops, and mainstream grocery stores, and are even being infused into popular foods such as yogurt.

So what are these little creatures, and what exactly do they do? They are generally credited with increasing the “good” bacteria in our gut, while eliminating the “bad” bacteria. This general explanation makes sense for many non-medical laypersons, but some parents require more information before deciding whether or not to offer these supplements to their children with autism.

The gastrointestinal tract consists of everything between the mouth and the anus, and it is the first line of defense in a healthy body. The GI tract has over 400 different species of bacteria. These bacteria produce enzymes, which identify, digest, and deliver nutrients where they need to go. These enzymes are responsible for every metabolic process in the human body, and are essential for optimum health. Beneficial bacteria are also responsible for cleaning up cholesterol, manufacturing B vitamins, cleaning out the lower bowels, destroying bad bacteria, and eliminating toxins from the body.

A healthy GI tract should maintain a ratio of 85:15 good vs. bad bacteria. Unfortunately, there are many things that can disrupt this balance. Antibiotics, steriods/hormonal drugs, birth control pills, fluoride, chlorine, coffee/tea, carbonated drinks, radiation, stress, and preservatives are some of the everyday things that can lead to an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. This can lead to many health problems, including constipation/diarrhea, increased susceptibility to colds and viruses, lethargy, irritability, and, in more severe cases, issues with brain development, attention, and self-stimulatory behaviors common in autism.

Researchers have successfully treated autistic-like symptoms in mice, and while they have not yet recommended widespread use of probiotics for the treatment of autism, they are hopeful. In the meantime, many parents are trying probiotics in the hopes that they can make a difference for their children.

It is important to note that all probiotics are not created equal. Some contain too few strands of healthy bacteria to be beneficial. Others contain bacteria that were “live” at the time of manufacture, but that may no longer be live by the time they reach the store shelf. Many healthy bacteria are quite delicate, and heat and moisture can cause them to die off quickly, which is why it’s recommended that most probiotics be kept in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator.

It is also important to make sure that the formula you choose contains not only the beneficial bacteria, but the medium in which the culture was grown. This is called the supernatant. It contains vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants and immune stimulators.

There are many products out there claiming to offer probiotic benefits, so it’s important to make an informed decision. Many parents have reported that a quality probiotic has made a tremendous difference for their child.

Top Stories and Breaking News

Jared as the Petco dog at work, Denise told us that he was way out of his comfort zone in the outfit but that he did it for the job he loved.

EXCLUSIVE- mother speaks out about teen with Asperger’s who was arrested at Petco and spent night in jail

Jupiter, Florida- Back in February we were very concerned to read the story concerning Jared Segal, an 18-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome who was arrested at the pet store, Petco, where he was working. Police reports state that the reason for this was because of Jared giving customers “unauthorized discounts.” He was charged with grand theft. […]

The New York Collaborates for Autism

The New York Collaborates for Autism clarify the Twizzler Challenge

Twizzler Challenge – on March 23 we posted a report about the Twizzler Challenge, Twizzlers – The Ice Bucket Challenge for Autism? The viewpoints of many were shared, who had posted their opinions on various social media sites. We questioned is this campaign could truly promote autism awareness, or whether it was just another social media […]

loopwheels

Loopwheels have reinvented the wheel for wheelchair users

Nottinghamshire, UK – Loopwheels are shock-absorbing wheels with integral suspension, for bicycles and wheelchairs. The springs in them are made from a carbon composite material that replace traditional spokes, and provide extra power to get up or down kerbs. Loopwheels are made by Jelly Products Ltd, a product design company that was founded in 2006 […]

Laurel Joss About Laurel Joss

Laurel Joss is a freelance writer with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked as an RDI® Program Certified Consultant and has published articles in Autism Spectrum Quarterly and on her blog www.remediatingautism.blogspot.com. She is a mother to two children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. You can also follow her on https://twitter.com/speaking_autism and https://www.facebook.com/speaking.autism.ca