The Gut-Brain Connection and Children with Special Needs
Small Study – Big Implications
In a small study that tracked two children – siblings: one a special needs child and the other neurotypical – the results were distinctly different. This short-term study, meant as a prelude to a larger study, tracked these children for two weeks to see how microorganisms in the gut affected mood and behavior.
Not only did the special needs child exhibit low levels of good bacteria, but there were also strains of other forms of bacteria previously noted in other special needs children. The biggest surprise came during two periods of behavioral issues (including self-harm). During these times, a strain of bacteria called Haemophilus parainfluenza was present. This pathogen typically leads to coughing and sneezing in the respiratory system, rather than in the gut. More information from this report “New Study Hints at Connection Between Microbiome and Behavior” can be found via the link below.
Candida Yeast and the Gut
Increased antibiotic or steroid use in children with ADD and ADHD, as well as ASD and other health issues, often leads to a disruption in gut flora. As a result, candida yeast can grow to out of control levels. Signs of candida yeast include:
- Itchy skin
- Fungal infections
- Mood changes
- Sugar cravings
Learn more about natural antifungals, as well as natural ways to improve the gut-brain connection in our article “Natural Remedies for the Gut- Brain Connection” in this issue.
Sugar and fructose feed candida yeast, throw off the balance of blood glucose and insulin (crucial for brain functions), and worsen behavior. The gut’s bad microbes feed on sweets, so if yeast overgrowth is a problem, eliminating sugar will help.
Does Method of Birth Affect the Gut-Brain Connection?
A study of more than 2.7 million children in Sweden led to a discovery of a 20 percent higher risk of autism for those born by cesarean section. That does not mean that a C-section is the cause of autism, ADD, ADHD, or other issues. What it does mean is that a baby who does not go through the birth canal does not receive the benefit of vaginal secretions from the mother at the time of birth. One couple actually “painted” their baby at birth with vaginal secretions to overcome this obstacle.
Just as we examine diets, antibiotic and other drug use, and our sterile society in comparison to other countries that may not have the advancements as we do in the US, we also look at the incidence of C-sections as compared to natural births as a potential for increased incidence of certain issues.
This does not always mean that a vaginal birth can protect by providing good flora. The exposure to toxic chemicals, antibiotics, drugs, and other substances since World War II has affected gut flora in both parents that could be passed on to the baby. We know the importance now of protecting gut flora, and steps can be taken at any point in life to make beneficial changes.
“Gut microbiota, the immune system, and diet influence the neonatal gut–brain axis” published in Pediatric Research
“Autism: Metabolism, Mitochondria, and the Microbiome” published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine in 2013, by Derrick MacFabe, MD
The Microbiome in Autism Spectrum Disorder
“Gut Bacteria in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Challenges and Promise of Studying How a Complex Community Influences a Complex Disease
DISCLAMIER: THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS PAGE IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE OR REPLACE MEDICAL ADVICE, OR TO PROMOTE, IN ANY MANNER, ANY OF THE MEDICINES/ DRUGS. FOR DIAGNOSING A HEALTH PROBLEM OR DISEASE, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR MEDICAL ADVISER ABOUT MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS FOR PATIENT-SPECIFIC ADVICE.