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Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) in Children with Autism

Introduction

The Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) or 'abnormal intestinal permeability,' is one the most poorly understood concepts in western medicine, but it clearly defines what is happening to the child with autism and how this affects the functioning of the brain (gut/brain connection).  The healthy gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract absorbs only the small molecules of completely broken down food particles that are the result of fully digested food.  Ideally, the intestinal wall should have the ability to keep out large and undesirable molecules.  When that ability is reduced, then permeability increases and large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall allowing for yeast overgrowth, pathogens, toxins, bacteria, viruses and foods to leak across the intestinal lining.  Now the gut lining is permeable, and therefore, becomes further inflamed and damaged disrupting the normal functioning of the G.I. tract.  The body sees this foreign matter as "an attack" and develops a production of antibodies in defense.  These newly formed antibodies may also attack the body's own cells developing auto antibodies and causing increased inflammatory reactions that trigger a condition called "autoimmunity".  The neurotransmitters in the brain are also found in the G.I. tract, so now they are unable to make the normal connections with the brain; hence the gut/brain disconnection.  So, this may be one of the beginning stages of how autism spectrum disorder issues develop.

Signs of Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms of chronic diarrhea, constipation (or both), abdominal discomfort, flatulence, bloating, undigested food particles in stool and irritable bowel syndrome (enterocolitis).
  • Nutritional deficiencies.
  • Intestinal pathogens – yeast, fungus, systemic Candida, parasites, bacteria, viruses, biofilm, microorganisms, etc.
  • Food and environmental allergies, food intolerances, asthma, bedwetting, ear infections.
  • Behavioral issues, hyperactivity, noncompliant behavior.

Related Sites

Paleo Leap: Diet, Kids, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, Part 1: The Gut
Description:  This site provides an in-depth look at leaky gut, and how it may contribute to autism spectrum disorder symptoms.

Dr. Axe: 4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease
Description:  A comprehensive outline with very helpful diagrams of the specific steps needed to heal a leaky gut.

Timothy Buie MD – Gastroenterology and Autism
Description:  Dr. Buie is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital who treats and understands the gut/brain connection in children with autism. Dr. Buie has been very successful in treating difficult cases of non-verbal children with undetected acid reflux and the connection to aggressive, self-mutilating behaviors.

Natasha Campbell-McBride MD – GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)
Description:  Dr. McBride’s website provides excellent information regarding how to treat and repair the leaky gut. She also gives extensive details on the connection between the GI tract and the brain and how this influences behavior and neurodevelopment. She provides parents with an effective dietary plan called GAPS.

Books

The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala
Description:  Dr. Janet Lintala, an autism mom, discusses underlying issues that are common in autism, including gastrointestinal dysfunction and leaky gut.

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies: The Ground Breaking Program for the 4-A Disorders by Kenneth Boch, MD
Description:  Dr. Boch gives parents an in depth explanation of how the 4-A disorders are all related to the immune system and healthy functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. He outlines common issues such as deadly modern toxins, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, genetic vulnerabilities and assaults on the immune and gastrointestinal systems that trigger the majority of symptoms of the 4-A disorders.

Is it Leaky Gut or Leaky Gut Syndrome: Clean Gut, Allergies, Fatty Liver, Autoimmune Diseases, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Cancer, Parkinson's, Thyroiditis, & More by Anil Minocha MD and Elizabeth Lipski
Description:  This book has plenty of practical strategies and easy-to-understand explanations by professionals on what a leaky gut is, how to heal it and the difference between Leaky Gut and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD
Description:  As a parent of a child diagnosed with learning disabilities, Dr. Natasha clearly understood the importance of nutrition and treating the gastrointestinal system in order to help the brain rebuild its connections to function appropriately. Her experience and knowledge is invaluable. GAPS is a very detailed and informative account for parents on how to make the necessary changes to help your child heal.

Tools

The Importance of Healthy Gut Flora
Description:  This is a video of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride discussing the issues of the gastrointestinal tract and how this affects the functioning of the brain.

Office Hours with Tim Buie: Exploring Autism's Gut-Brain Connection
Description:  Dr. Buie talks about what we know and what we don’t know about the gut/brain connection.

Ohio State Studying How Cholesterol Levels Affect Autism
Description:  Researchers at the Ohio State University Medical Center are studying how cholesterol added to the diets of ASD children can improve core symptoms of autism.

Body Bio Fatty Acid Report
Description:  Body Bio uses John Hopkins Gold Standard laboratory to do a Red Cell Fatty Acid Analysis which is an in-depth review of essential fatty acids including cholesterol in order to understand the health of every cell membrane in the body.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Is the Secret to Autism in “the Gut?”
Description:  This blog helps us understand how microbes in our gut (gastrointestinal tract) can be mind-altering and negatively affect the brain. Changing our diet in order to heal the gut can make some astonishing changes in the behaviors of ASD children.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism Leaky Gut
Description:  This group is to give parents a place to talk about treating leaky-gut and yeast.

Forum/Blog Name:  Cholesterol: When Less is Not Better
Description:  This blog discusses information pertaining to the effects of low cholesterol and autism. A study with 900 children with autism at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development investigating the link between cholesterol and autism.

Forum/Blog Name:  Top Nutrient Deficiencies Found in Our Children — What You Need to Know
Description:  More and more, we are seeing children with nutritional deficiencies, a phenomenon that studies show is even more apparent in children with neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD. The good news is, nutritional deficiencies that are impacting your child’s ability to thrive can be corrected.

Forum/Blog Name:  Leaky Gut Syndrome Solutions and Prevention
Description:  This Facebook page addresses how the treatment of leaky gut syndrome will improve the quality of life.

Forum/Blog Name:  Is Poor Digestion Sabotaging Diet Efforts with Your Child?
Description:  Is poor digestion sabotaging diet efforts with your child? Children with neurodevelopmental disorders are known to have a high rate of digestive disorders/disturbances, so you need to know a bit about how the digestive system works to determine if this should be an area of focus for you and your child.

Forum/Blog Name:  Leaky Gut/Food Allergies and Candida
Description:  Do you suffer from food allergies, food sensitivities, eczema, acne, depression, ADD, ADHD, autism, chronic fatigue and/or have been diagnosed with candida? Then let’s fight together against leaky gut!