Everyone knows that autism is on the rise, now listed by CDC as 1:68, however more recently studies coming out as 1:45. Some scientists and organizations are on the hunt for a mysterious gene causing autism, however there is no mysterious gene. The human species has been around for thousands of years and we are a resilient species, and never before in human history has there ever been a time as this where a generation of children are being taken out by autism.
The Immune System
For years doctors always thought that the brain was a separate organ, protected in the skull by the blood brain barrier. Nearly impenetrable, protecting the brain against harmful invaders, like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. However recent research from the University of Virginia, reveals that the immune system and the brain are closely linked. The UVA researchers showed in mice, that the immune molecule, interferon gamma, is critical for social behavior. The immune system produces interferon gamma in response to bacteria, viruses or parasites. When the level of interferon gamma was high, the mice were social, when the molecule was blocked, the mice became hyperactive and less social, interacting with objects in their environments. Restoring the molecule restored the brain connectivity and behavior to normal. The researchers note that a malfunctioning immune system may be responsible for “social deficits in numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia.
The Gut Brain Axis
The gastrointestinal system makes up approximately 80% of our immune system. The medical literature talks a lot about the Gut-Brain Axis, which is a “bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system.” Medical literature actually calls the gut the second brain!
There is strong evidence that the microbiome plays a role in the GBA and the development of many autoimmune and neurodevelopmental diseases, like autism. If your child has bad bugs (microbiome) in their gastrointestinal tract, they may possibly develop a neurodenegrative disorder like autism, ADHD, anxiety-depressive behaviors, PANS and PANDAS. What do I mean about bad bug? Organisms that don’t normally reside in the GI tract, or organisms that cause an overgrowth of one type of bacteria and don’t allow for a good GI balance AKA GI homeostasis. Bad bugs are also called pathogenic organisms.
Probiotics To The Rescue
In order to reestablish homeostasis and eliminate dysbiosis, we must start with the gut! Hippocrates had it right when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” In order to heal the brain, we must start by healing the gut, which will in-turn heal the immune system. Starting on a good quality probiotic is essential for proper healing. Check out Dr. Kendra Becker’s article on which probiotics might be right for you.
Also consider natural ways of increasing healthy gut bacteria by eating things like, sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt, or drinking kombucha or kefir.
All in all, it comes down to this… protect your gut & you’ll protect your brain. Get started today, don’t delay! Your child’s future is depending on it.