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Probiotics and Prebiotics in ASD
Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A review of the use of pre and probiotics by the British Dietetic Association has concluded that " there is no clear evidence to recommend the use of prebiotics and/or probiotics for the treatment of autism ".

Although this may seem a bit disappointing, it is worth noting that as trained scientists, Dietitians have to review clinical papers according to strict criteria.  However, the authors go on to state that there is " anecdotal evidence both in the literature and in dietetic practice to suggest their use may be beneficial ".  No reported negative side-effects were associated with the use of pre and probiotics in the management of autism.

To conclude, there is not sufficient evidence to make pre and probiotics a standard treatment for ASD but there is good supporting evidence that they are safe and effective in certain individuals.


To get personalised, dietary advice give Emma a call on 01623 882853 or e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Source: BDA Professional Consensus Statement on Autism - Prebiotics and Probiotics Supplement

Posted: May 2011 

Gut Enzyme Deficiency in Autism
Friday, 13 May 2011

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found reduced lactase enzyme activity in autistic individuals, more so in boys than girls and in older children compared with under 5yrs.

Lactase is the enzyme found in the lining of the gut wall which breaks down lactose, the carbohydrate found in all mammalian milks.  Interestingly, only 6% had intestinal inflammation which has lead the researchers to conclude that " lactase deficiency, not associated with intestinal inflammation or injury, is common in autistic children and may contribute to abdominal discomfort, pain and observed aberrant behaviour ".


If you need advice on following a nutritionally-adequate, lactose-free diet then call Emma on 01623 882853 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it


Source: 'Intestinal disaccharidase activity in patients with autism: effect of age, gender and intestinal inflammation' Kushak et al, 2011  e-pub http:/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21415091

Posted: May 2011


Healing Horses
Friday, 13 May 2011

The healing power of horses can help individuals with mental health issues, according to Ruth McMahon at Equine Assisted Therapy.  Horses can help teach humans body language skills that they can go and use in their everyday life.  Children with autism, especially those with communication limitations, may well benefit from this therapy.

Equine Assisted Therapy is based in Norfolk.  For more information, go to www.equineassistedtherapy.org.uk

Posted: May 2011


Immune Dysfunction and ASD
Wednesday, 09 February 2011

Cytokines are part of our complex immune system and have been studied in relation to autism.  Researchers measured cytokine release in children with autism (ASD), typically-developing children (TD) and those with non-autistic developmental disabilities ( subjects were age-matched, 2-5yrs).  Findings indicate a significant increase in plasma levels of cytokines in the ASD group compared with TD subjects and that it was most striking in the children with regressive autism.


The researchers conclude that inflammatory responses may be linked to disturbances in the behaviour of autistic children and could have implications for diagnosis as well as therapeutic strategies.


Posted: 9th February 2011

Source:  Brain Behaviour and Immunity Jan 2011 25 (1) p 40-45

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20705131  

Leaky Gut Evidence
Wednesday, 09 February 2011

Researchers in Italy have tested autistic individuals for intestinal permeability ( IPT ) and compared them with their non-autistic relatives plus a control group. A high percentage of abnormal IPT values were found with autistic patients and their relatives compared with the control group.  This evidence suggests that there could be a hereditary factor affecting gut permeability in 'autistic families'.

 Interestingly, those following a gluten and casein-free diet had significantly lower IPT values compared with those on an unrestricted diet.  

Measuring IPT could be a useful indicator to help identify those autistic individuals who may respond well to a gluten and casein-free diet. 

Posted: 9th February 2011

Source: Journal of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Oct 2010 51 (4) p 418-424 

Link:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683204  


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