The autistic microbiome - a feature, not a co-morbidity.

by Robyn Cogger
2 minutes
The autistic microbiome - a feature, not a co-morbidity.

More evidence gastrointestinal dysfunction is a feature of autism, not a co-morbidity.

Autism spectrum disorder is defined within the rubric of psychology/psychiatry and perceived entirely through the lens of a developmental disorder. Anyone who lives with autism in their family, knows from experience that autism is far more complex and pervasive than a developmental disorder. There are host of chronic health challenges and none more so feature than gastrointestinal disorders. From poor appetite and digestion, poor interoception around feeling full/hungry to slow transit time,  faecal impaction, irritable bowel and reoccurring opportunistic infections. These are highly prevalent in ASD populations compared to the general population. But rather than considered a diagnostic feature, it is considered a co-morbidity seperate from it.  

Strong evidence has established that autistic guts have frequently dysbiotic pictures. This means they show a pattern of reduced healthy functional species such as the Bifidobacterium genus group and greater prevalence of harmful species such as Clostridia difficile and Candida alibicans.

New evidence using new technology shows further insights about the features of ASD microbiome functionality.  That is, how well the ASD microbiome functions in terms of contributing to good health and resisting chronic disease. A recent study by Zhang et al (2020) established that ASD microbiomes show a distinct diminished capacity to generate glutathione, a compound that plays critical roles in protecting cells from toxins, inflammation, infections and for energy production in every cell of the body. The study also demonstrated  the ASD microbiome showed diminished ability to degrade toxins, those made within the body via metabolic pathways occurring in every cell of the body all the time, and those absorbed in the environment.

You can read more about the study through the link below.

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/6/43/eaba3760.full.pdf

The good news is these detoxification pathways/mechanisms are well understood. They can be supported and strengthened through appropriate nutritional and herbal medicine. Along with an evidence-based gut health plan, you can improve the quality of life and increase resistance to chronic poor health outcomes. 

Please contact me if you’d like to talk about what evidence-based interventions are available to help build a robust and healthy functional microbiome for ASD children and adults. 

Photo of Robyn Cogger from Arising Health


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