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A Recent Study Shows Promising Results In The Connection Between Gastrointestinal Tract, Autism & Immunity


A recent research claims that each one of us has two brains: one in our skull and the other one in our gut. They’re really connected. It is called “the gut-brain connection”.

In case you’ve started feeling like there are butterflies in your stomach or you’re nauseous, that’s actually this gut-brain connection. That’s because your GI tract is sensitive to some emotions like stress, anger or even joy.

When your brain is distressed, it sends a signal to your stomach and otherwise. Many different problems can appear because of this.

How Does Poor Gut Health Affect Your Brain?

The gut microbiota of every person is full of microorganisms. It weighs almost six pounds! Most of this bacteria is gathered since the period of childhood and when the child passes through the birth canal at the moment of delivery. They can also be obtained by Cesarean section, antibiotics etc.  

These numbers are staggering and show us how the gut is important for our complete health. According to a study from 2017, the gut microbiota also has an effect on our mental health.

When we have insufficient microbiota, our organism becomes susceptible to different GI tract diseases as well as different mental illnesses like schizophrenia, anxiety, autism and depression.

Another research from 2017 wanted to discover if the gut microbiota is connected to central nervous system disorders and obesity. Researchers discovered that the state in which our gut is has been tightly connected to the increased risk of mental illnesses and obesity. One part was especially interesting to research it: the gut health that people with autism spectrum disorder have.

What Is The Connection Between People With ASD And Gastrointestinal Issues?

According to scientists, children that have autism usually have a problem with their gut, too. Still, it isn’t very clear why is that so. Recently, a graduate student called Destanie Rose and a professor called Paul Ashwood think that they might have discovered something big!  

They made a research where they divided 103 children in four groups.

The children were between 3 and 12 years old:

  • Children who had ASD but without gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Children who had ASD and gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Children who developed typically and didn’t have any gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Children who developed typically and had some gastrointestinal symptoms

They also took their blood as well as stool samples. They examined the microbial makeup and the immune response.

It was proved that the children who had ASD as well as gastrointestinal symptoms were the most distinctive of all.

They all had:

  • Increased levels of inflammatory cytokines
  • Decreased levels of a protein, like for example TGFβ1 which regulates the immune response
  • Increased levels of a protein like for example, zonulin which is in our gastrointestinal tract and influences the gut permeability to a great amount  

How Is This Important Concerning The Treatments For Autism?

It’s mostly about the gastrointestinal symptoms and presents a theory that the health of our gut is probably the main cause e.g. the root of this disorder of the autism spectrum. The treatments usually include different drugs, but according to this study, people can now include more treatments for ASD of holistic nature!

The regulatory aspect of one’s immune system is usually decreased and that increases the risk of obtaining some type of inflammation.

Still, more researches are necessary that have to discover different ways that would relieve the inflammation so that these children could be helped.