Autism and Gastrointestinal Distress Research

Explore recent research addressing the links between autism and gastrointestinal distress.

Alterations of the intestinal barrier in patients with autism spectrum disorders and in their first-degree relatives..
de Magistris L, Familiari V, Pascotto A, Sapone A, Frolli A, Iardino P, Carteni M, De Rosa M, Francavilla R, Riegler G, Militerni R, Bravaccio C.
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24.

In order to investigate the leaky gut hypothesis, the authors study intestinal permeability (IPT) and measure faecal calprotectin (FC) in patients with autism, as well as conducting this study and measurement in these patients' first-degree relatives. Their results support the leaky gut hypothesis, and indicate that measuring IPT could help to identify a subgroup of patients with autism who could benefit from a gluten-free diet. The IPT alterations found in first-degree relatives also suggest the presence of an intestinal (tight-junction linked) hereditary factor in the families of subjects with autism.

Intestinal microflora of autistic children. [Article in Polish].
Ekiel A, Aptekorz M, Kazek B, Wiechua B, Wilk I, Martirosian G.
Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2010;62(3):237-43.

The authors aim to determine differences in intestinal microflora of autistic and non-autistic children. They find that strains of Clostridium spp. and enterococci are isolated more frequently from stool samples of autistic children, and they observe quantitative differences primarily among staphylococci, Candida spp. and Clostridium perfringens. The authors conclude that monitoring and stabilization of intestinal microflora and knowledge about role of particular strains in etiology of autistic disorders can increase the chances for appropriate therapy.

The possibility and probability of a gut-to-brain connection in autism.
Reichelt KL, Knivsberg AM.
Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Oct-Dec;21(4):205-11.

A urine peptide increase found in autism has been previously shown, as well as that some of these peptides have a dietary origin. But to be explanatory for the disease process, a dietary effect on the brain must be shown as possible and probable. In this study, the authors find that patients with autistic syndromes show marked increases in UV 215-absorbing material eluting after hippuric acid that are mostly peptides. They also find highly significant decreases after introducing a gluten- and casein-free diet for more than one year. The authors conclude that an effect of diet on excreted compounds and behavior has been found, and that a gut-to-brain axis is both possible and probable.

Improvements in Gastrointestinal Symptoms among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Receiving the Delpro® Probiotic and
Immunomodulator Formulation
Rachel West DO, Emily Roberts, Lubov S Sichel and John Sichel
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) frequently exhibit gastrointestinal (GI) distress. They often have deficiencies of beneficial intestinal microflora, which may lead to inflammation or immune dysfunction, malabsporption, food intolerance, failure to thrive, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. We conducted a survey of caregivers for ASD children with GI distress receiving Delpro®, a nutritional supplement consisting of a mixture of five probiotic strains formulated with the immunomodulator Del-Immune V® (Lactobacillus rhamnosus V lysate). Caregivers assessed ASD signs and symptoms before and after 21 days of treatment using the autism treatment evaluation checklist (ATEC). Almost half of the respondents (48%) reported decreases in diarrhea severity and 52% reported decreases in constipation severity (n=25). Caregivers reported an increase in stool frequency, from one movement every 1.5 days to every 1.3 days, although this change was not statistically significant. Overall, 88% reported a decrease in total ATEC score, signifying an improvement of ASD symptoms. Mean ATEC values decreased from 72.8 prior to treatment to 58.3 following treatment initiation. Participants also had significant improvements in all ATEC domains (speech/language/communication, sociability, sensory/cognitive awareness, and health/physical/ behavior). Since this was a survey of caregivers for ASD children with GI distress receiving Delpro®, there was no control arm of no-treatment or placebo. Accordingly, these survey results need to be validated in controlled clinical trials. These data suggest that probiotic/immunomodulator Delpro® may have significant benefit in the treatment of GI distress and other ATEC signs and symptoms among this population.

Improvements in Gastrointestinal Symptoms among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Receiving the Delpro® Probiotic and Immunomodulator Formulation
Rachel West DO, Emily Roberts, Lubov S Sichel and John Sichel
J Prob Health 2013 June; 1:1

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) frequently exhibit gastrointestinal (GI) distress. They often have deficiencies of beneficial intestinal microflora, which may lead to inflammation or immune dysfunction, malabsporption, food intolerance, failure to thrive, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. We conducted a survey of caregivers for ASD children with GI distress receiving Delpro®, a nutritional supplement consisting of a mixture of five probiotic strains formulated with the immunomodulator Del-Immune V® (Lactobacillus rhamnosus V lysate). Caregivers assessed ASD signs and symptoms before and after 21 days of treatment using the autism treatment evaluation checklist (ATEC). Almost half of the respondents (48%) reported decreases in diarrhea severity and 52% reported decreases in constipation severity (n=25). Caregivers reported an increase in stool frequency, from one movement every 1.5 days to every 1.3 days, although this change was not statistically significant. Overall, 88% reported a decrease in total ATEC score, signifying an improvement of ASD symptoms. Mean ATEC values decreased from 72.8 prior to treatment to 58.3 following treatment initiation. Participants also had significant improvements in all ATEC domains (speech/language/communication, sociability, sensory/cognitive awareness, and health/physical/ behavior). Since this was a survey of caregivers for ASD children with GI distress receiving Delpro®, there was no control arm of no-treatment or placebo. Accordingly, these survey results need to be validated in controlled clinical trials. These data suggest that probiotic/immunomodulator Delpro® may have significant benefit in the treatment of GI distress and other ATEC signs and symptoms among this population.

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