Fecal microbiota transplants can improve autism symptoms

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Fecal microbiota transplants can improve autism symptomsAutism is quite common now, which also forecasts a surge in adults with such a disorder in the next decade. Autism research has increased. According to a research in 2019, there is an evidence of significant and permanent reduction in the autism symptoms in children who go through regular Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT. This is usually for 7-8 weeks.

FMT is all about transplanting gut bacteria from any carefully-screened donor to the colon of a recipient. This is often used in treating Clostridium difficile and colitis. The condition is being investigated for different disorders which includes autism spectrum disorders and obesity.

In the last 20 years, the rates of autism have doubled. It is expected that people suffering from the condition will rise with various other childhood brain development problem. Such a rise is now being traced with various imbalances in immune system which are known to affect brain development. The immune health is also now being traced to gut microbiome or gut bacteria.

It is known that gut bacteria do impact brain health. As the brain of the child develops and there is poor gut health, it can trigger various imbalances associated with brain development along with myriad symptoms. Such a symptom includes that of autism. Along with various brain associated symptom, several children who suffer from autism also face problems related to poor digestive function and gastrointestinal symptoms. Researchers as well as parents have mentioned a correlation between autism and gut symptoms.

Past research has revealed that children have improved a lot after taking the antibiotic which killed ‘bad’ gut bacteria. But, the improvements were quite temporary when the concerted probiotic was used.In 2019, an Australian study had used FMT on children who had severe autism. The effects were monitored for two years. This two-year period revealed many promising results.

Parents of such children mentioned that there was a steadfast decline in symptoms during the treatment period and in the next two years. When there were professional follow-ups, evaluations revealed that there was a reduction in the autism rate by as much as 45%. It also shows a reduction of gut symptoms by as much as 60%.

Before the start of the treatment, researchers had found that subjects who suffered from autism suffered from poor gut bacteria diversity. They were missing some bacterial strains which were beneficial. These include Prevotella and Bifidobacteria. Considering the way gut bacteria has an impact on immune system and nervous system, researchers believe that it affects the way the brain develops.The subjects of the study were first treated with antibiotics. They were also treated with bowel cleanse and also a stomach acid suppressant. The subjects were offered FMT regularly for 7-8 weeks.

This was followed up by a stool analysis. It also revealed that FMT treatments increased the gut microbiome diversity. It also increased the beneficial strains of such bacteria. During this two-year follow-up, the markers have shown an improvement.

The research team working hard to optimize such a dose and also the duration for such a clinical use. These people are also working hard on a trial, with the use of therapy. This is suitable for those suffering from autism spectrum disorders and adults.

Though we can influence the gut bacteria, we can easily come into life with the help of gut microbiome ‘signatures’, which usually begin before birth. This usually works as maternal gut microbiome diversity which is a major factor in case of C-section delivery. This leads to lack of breastfeeding, reduces antibiotic usage in childhood and also plays a role in the establishment of unhealthy gut microbiomes.

Though FMT is now not available easily, it shows how important gut health is and how a healthy gut microbiome can play in development of the brain of a child. An important component in any healthy and diverse gut microbiome is the diet. It needs to be rich in plant fiber. People need to have vegetables in each meal. Children need to have 20-40 grams of fiber on a daily basis, though this is often dependent on age. Adults need to have 25-40 grams in a day.

The quicker you allow your children on a vegetable heavy diet, the more they will develop an inclination to have these.

The famous Hazda people of Tanzania who are said to be the last hunter gatherer population alive on planet are known to have 100 – 150 grams of fresh plant fiber in just a day. This is said to be one of the healthiest gut microbiomes which are on planet. Americans are known to have worst.

You should try to have at least 7-10 servings a day. A serving is usually of just half cup of freshly chopped produce or it can be a cup of fresh green. Since sugar-based foods can be quite inflammatory, you can select choose fruits and veggies. You need to select fruits which are low in sugar which will destabilize the blood sugar.

Adults need to have a minimum of 3-4 servings of produce in every meal. This can be in the form of 1.5 to 2 cups of fresh veggies, which are chopped well. You can have three cups of fresh leafy greens. You can have at least five meals, if you wish to break it more. It will help in stabilizing the low blood sugar. The needs of children usually differ as they age.

You need to work your way with fiber consumption, in case you do not have a habit of eating it, having it too much can overwhelm the digestive system. It might cause you problems. You can increase the daily fiber intake. You can increase it by at least 1 or 2 grams in a day. You need to avoid some foods and chemicals which tend to promote bad bacteria. It also kills good bacteria which include sugars and junk food.

Get in touch with my office to know more about how to support the gut microbiome.