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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
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18 Feb 2020, 1:51 am

Apart from being a psychiatric disorder, autism is also found to be associated with physiological abnormalities. Research demonstrates a correlation between gut microbiota and autism, with evidence suggesting that modulation of gut microbiota can help improve the symptoms of autism.

Role of Gut Microbes in Autism
Gut microbiota, commonly known as commensal microbes, prevent the colonization of pathogens in the body. They do so in the following ways:

Producing antimicrobial substances such as bacteriocins
Altering luminal pH
Directly competing against pathogens for nutrients

In autism, children have less diverse gut microbiota and depleted strains of helpful bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Prevotella. The altered proportion/activity of gut microbiota (a condition termed dysbiosis), leads to hyperactivation of inflammatory mediators. These inflammatory mediators cause inflammation of the blood-brain barrier, which is essential in neurodevelopment.

The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication pathway between the gut and the brain. The gut-brain axis influences brain function through neuroimmune and neuroendocrine mechanisms, autonomic nervous systems and toxin production by microorganisms. The enteric nervous system present in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (mucosa) contains millions of neurons that regulate digestive functions.

In autism, there is an increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), which enables bacterial metabolites to cross the gut barrier. Leaky gut, together with impairment in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, may impact neurodevelopment during early childhood in persons with autism.

In addition to the above mechanisms, gut microbiota are known to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), phenol compounds, and free amino acids (FAA), which are associated with autism-like behaviors.

Short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate can modulate the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine by altering the expression of specific genes. It also plays a vital role in mitochondrial function, stimulating oxidative phosphorylation and fatty acid oxidation

Immune Pathways
Immunological pathways are also responsible for communication between the gut and brain. Studies have found the presence of inflammatory mediators like lymphocytes and autism-associated cytokines in the blood. These inflammatory mediators can bind to endothelial cells of the brain and induce immune responses in the brain.

Gut Microbiota and Maternal Factors
Maternal factors, such as maternal diet, delivery mode, and postnatal factors, including antibiotic use, breastfeeding, nutrition, and genetics, may also determine the microbiome composition.

A maternal high-fat diet during pregnancy has been shown to decrease the levels of Bacteroides and Campylobacter in human neonates. Breastfeeding for more than six months has also been associated with a lower risk of autism development.

The composition of the microbiota of children is found to be less diverse during the first three years of life if antibiotics are prescribed. The early feeding pattern also influences the gut microbiota of infants.

Potential Therapies

Evidence from different studies demonstrates gut microbiota modulation as a possible therapy in children with autism. Probiotics, prebiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) are generating considerable attention.

Probiotics, including lactic acid-producing bacteria, have a favorable influence on the development and stability of the microbiota; whereas, prebiotics support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) in the intestine.

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a treatment option that increases microbial diversity and abundance of commensal bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Prevotella in the gut. By transferring the commensal microbes from a healthy donor to a dysbiotic gut, a fecal microbiota transplant could help restore the gut microbiota balance.

Further research is still needed to understand better whether gut dysbiosis is associated with the development of autism, or whether it may be related but not causative.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Joined: 5 Mar 2018
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18 Feb 2020, 8:59 am

Ive read this before, not sure the truth of this but does need more investigation.

This video goes into this. Not saying i agree with everything as i simply dont know but liked thd detailed explanation and graphics presented:-

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man."

- George Bernie Shaw

Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

Joined: 9 Apr 2020
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10 Apr 2020, 1:23 pm

I’ve read that too. I also know lots of people with irritable bowel syndrome who have chronic depression. I have stomach issues too since I was little.


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10 Apr 2020, 1:53 pm

I have trouble believing that my gut bacteria are imbalanced when I have absolutely no digestive issues whatsoever - the only times I have have been when I'm sick or as a side effect of a medication. I would expect that even if gut bacteria affect the brain and stuff, that any kind of problem with them would also affect digestive processes. I am aware that digestive issues are more common in autistics than in NTs, and I won't deny that gut dysbiosis could be at least part of the cause for some people, but I have no evidence to suggest that that is the case for me, at least. I do believe that there probably are several different causes of autism, that perhaps one person's autism is caused by gut dysbiosis and another's is genetic, for example.

Yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage. For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
-H. P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider"


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Joined: 17 Feb 2013
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11 Apr 2020, 7:17 pm

Hmm, I can’t quite put my finger on it.. but I feel as if I’ve seen about 95% or so of this before.. hmm, seems SO FAMILIAR! :?

Oooooh, riiiiight - that’s because I posted it here over 7 years ago after I figured it out and how to treat my own symptoms.

I’m still an open book about all of it if anyone is interested in seriously discussing any of it here, on the forums, via pm or email/text/phone etc.


No :heart: for supporting trump. Because doing so is deplorable.