Should all babies receive probiotics? It might eventually become a recommendation, as mounting evidence ties autism with gut bacteria.
First, kids with autism are more likely to have gastrointestinal troubles. Specifically, constipation and diarrhea are more common in 9-18 month olds who go on to have an autism diagnosis, and after 18 months, trouble with food intolerances and allergies get added to the list. They’re more than twice as likely to experience problems, and to experience multiple problems both before and after the 18 month milestone.
While that study doesn’t explicitly tie autism to gut bacteria, it’s a reasonable assumption, especially paired with a second bit of evidence:
A father of an autistic child reports that during a course of antibiotics meant to treat strep throat, autism symptoms dramatically improved: suddenly, his son was making eye contact, improving his speech, relaxing out of his routine, and had more energy. In addition to fighting bacterial infection, antibiotics kill of gastrointestinal bacteria (both good and bad).
For most people, the death of this bacteria can quickly become a serious side-effect of taking an antibiotic. A healthy gut colony needs to be supported or re-established (with probiotics like yogurt, kefir, etc., or supplements), or else there’s a risk that “bad” gut bacteria, viruses, or even hard to kill fungi can take their place.
While there needs to be more exploration of the correlation between autism and probiotics, it’s not surprising that such a correlation exists to begin with—probiotics are already correlated with mood, weight, heart health, and so much more. And that list now include Type 2 Diabetes!
Yep, people who took certain antibiotics increased their risk for Type 2 Diabetes—and that risk went up after multiple courses, or combinations, of antibiotics were taken. Researchers think it’s tied to the change in gut bacteria that taking antibiotics causes.
Which bacteria have which affect is still being explored—because there are different combinations to complicate things, many samples from many people with different health have to be compared.
Luckily, it’s really easy to take control of your health via your gut—just make sure you get a steady, diverse supply of probiotics to supply a healthy colony of gut bacteria.
You can get probiotics from fermented foods like certain preparations of pickles, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, etc. (read labels carefully). Or you can ensure it’s steady presence and quality in your diet with a probiotic supplement!
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