Could Lack Of Gut Bacteria (Probiotics) Cause Autism?

April 25, 2011

One theory suggests bacteria may affect the brain through the vagus nerve, which runs from the stomach to the brain.

New research (reported in Scientific American) suggests that there is a strong link between our brains and the bacteria in our gut, which is supported by probiotics.

It’s long been suspected that there’s a link between neurological disorders, autism in particular, and the bacteria in our gut. The most concrete link to autism is based on an autism test that partially looks at the products of our bacteria.

Research on rats on the link between gut bacteria and our brains shows that rats who do not develop healthy gut bacteria early on (which can be aided by probiotics, found in supplements, and fermented foods like yogurt) show changed brain behavior, including increased stress and anxiety, as well as different gene expressions.

Besides brain changes, the effects of a lack of or wrong bacteria can lead to problems with the heart, immune system, and cell health.

Since the exact mechanism of interaction between the brain and gut bacteria is still speculative, it’s hard to draw conclusions about if probiotics could help prevent diseases like autism when taken during pregnancy or early childhood.

Probiotics have a long traditional use of aiding the health of the GI Tract, as well as supporting the immune system and helping to fight inflammation.

How have probiotics helped you?

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What Is Probiotic’s Effect On Health? — Colloids For Life Blog
October 31, 2011 at 6:17 am

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Harvey Morgan May 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I’ve actually used probiotics to help treat migraines. I’ve found that stress, various fried meats, and chocolate are all triggers for my migraines and it was recently suggested to me to try probiotics and a Vitamin B12 supplement. Now they are less frequent and intense than before. So instead of being incapacitated for days on end, they only last maybe four hours and I rarely suffer any after-effects, such as light and sound sensitivity.

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