Probiotics are becoming a large topic of conversation in the medical field as well as among researchers and scientists everywhere. Probiotics, also known as the “good” or “friendly” bacteria, have been under the spotlight by researchers questioning how beneficial they would be as a treatment for autism.
Autism (Autism Sprectrum Disorder) is a disease characterized by a wide group of neurodevelopment disorders, with the most common being impaired social interaction. Based on this, many wonder how probiotics could play a part in the treatment of autism. However, autism consists of several physical symptoms in addition to the psychological and neurological symptoms. One major physical symptom found in many autism patients is stomach problems. This helps explain where probiotics come into play since probiotics are beneficial in the stomach and intestinal lining of the stomach.
Research has shown that children with autism have large amounts of bacterium clostridium in their body, which in certain levels can produce toxins that affect the brain. Although it has not been medically determined that bacterium clostridium is indeed the cause of autism symptoms, it appeared that patients that were give probiotics showed improvement.
Probiotics are group of live microorganisms including strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus as well as several types of yeast, which when ingested improves the balance of the gastrointestinal tract. In simpler terms, probiotics can help provide the stomach with enough good bacterial to prevent or minimize the stomach problems characteristic of autistic children such as bloating, stomach pains, constipation and other bowel problems.
Many parents of autistic children are finding that their children have fewer digestive problems when given a daily dose of probiotics. Is this coincidence or something worthy of more research? Scientists as well as parents definitely feel it’s worthy of more investigation and research because if probiotics can indeed help autistic children with digestive problems, this may help with other symptoms including positive psychological effects.
Yeast infections are another problem that affects many children with autism. But regular doses of probiotics seem to balance out the yeast. Keep in mind that our bodies normally consist of good and bad bacteria; however, our lifestyle tends to allow the bad bacteria to take over. Adding probiotics to the diet, whether in supplements or probiotic-based foods, will allow the good or healthy bacteria to take control.
Other recent studies on autistic children included the role that probiotics plays on behavior and mood. A group of autistic children was brought together and half of them received probiotics while the other half received “fake” probiotics (the parents were not told which one their child was getting). The result of this test was that the parents whose children were getting the real thing saw remarkable behavioral improvements in their children. They possessed better attention span, better focus and exhibited a better mood in general.
Researchers weren’t sure if the improved mood and disposition was because of the positive psychological effects from the probiotics or if the children behaved better because they simply felt better physically. So, improved psychological effects or improved physical effects? Many feel it doesn’t matter as long as they’re showing improvement when using probiotics.
For more information on probiotics, visit the Bacteral website.