Greater risk of digestive problems in autistic children

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Digestive Health News(NaturalHealth365) A new study confirms what many parents have been saying for years – children with autism are more likely to have gastrointestinal complaints than their typically developing peers.

In fact, according to the results published online in the journal Pediatrics, children with autism are three times more likely to experience constipation and diarrhea plus experience twice as much abdominal pain.

Non-verbal communication may reveal serious health issues

Researchers state that the process of detecting and studying potential GI issues in children with autism is complicated by their children’s unique behavior, neurological and medical issues – most importantly being limited verbal communication to express their symptoms.

Because of this, parents and physicians must rely on non-verbal signs that fall outside the routine GI evaluation – such as escalation of problem behaviors (self-injury, aggression or irritability) that cannot be otherwise explained.

An interesting point is that one of the researchers stated that parents claiming a link between vaccines and gastrointestinal issues in children with autism, somehow impeded the research on the GI issues for children with autism in general.

However, this seems to be negated by a meta-analysis also published in Pediatrics which states that although studies on GI disorders and children with autism have significant methodological limitations, they do collectively indicate unusually high rates of GI disorders or certain GI symptoms in children with ASDs. The researchers then went on to identify how to improve future studies. So, the studies were done and vaccination was never mentioned in any of them.

Never underestimate the importance of digestive health

A previous study out of UC Davis’ MIND Institute was the largest and most ethnically diverse research and was the first to investigate the link between stomach upsets and behavior issues.

The findings showed that children with autism were six to eight times more likely to have food sensitivities, bloating, constipation and diarrhea than typically developing children. It was also found that children with developmental delays suffered five times as much constipation and were much more likely to have problems with swallowing.

Can probiotics help eliminate digestive issues?

A study out of the California Institute of Technology demonstrated that the human gut microbe Bacteroides fragilis alleviates autism-like behaviors and easies gastrointestinal distress – in a mouse model of autism. Researchers found that adding a probiotic with Bacteroides fragilis ameliorated defects in communicative, stereotypic, sensorimotor and anxiety behaviors.

They noted that by correcting leaky gut, Bacteroides fragilis may be lowering the amounts of behavior-altering microbial metabolites that escape into the circulation.

Research demonstrates a close correlation of gut microflora and various aspects of health, such as nutritional status, behavior, and stress response. Gut microflora metabolizes our food, drinks and medicines to either detoxify them or activate them into toxic forms. Because of this, gut microflora influences our immune system and some researchers estimate that 75% of our immune system is influenced by the gut.

Bach flower remedies for GI disorders

Bowel nosodes were developed in the 1930s by Edward Bach, MD, a bacteriologist at London University College Hospital. You may be more familiar with Dr. Bach as the founder of Bach flower essences.

Bowel nosodes are prepared from cultures of non-lactose fermenting flora of the intestinal tract. Since many children have had antibiotics that alter their gut bacteria – causing a myriad of issues and many children with autism suffer with intestinal and GI issues.

Bowel nosodes are typically part of a homeopathic protocol – especially if you’re working with a CEASE therapist. Naturally, a thorough patient intake is required to match the mental/emotional issues of the child along with behavioral issues, to ensure proper dosage of any homeopathic remedy.

Don’t forget the importance of the diet

Most parents start their children on a gluten-free/casein-free diet, the GAPS, Feingold or another approach that can help regulate their children’s constipation or diarrhea.

Often times our children with autism limit their diets so they may not be getting all the fiber or nutrients needed to help regulate their bowels. Therefore, adding digestive enzymes – to every meal – can make a dramatic difference.

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About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on


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