Diet and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
“Something which history may come to regard as a true paradigm shift does…seem to be going on at the moment in medicine. This is a recognition that the zillions of apparently non-pathogenic bacteria on and in human bodies, hitherto largely ignored, are actually important for people’s health. They may even help to explain the development of some mysterious conditions. One such condition is autism—these days often called autism-spectrum disorder (ASD).”
The Economist, June 2019
BiomeBliss has been fortunate to be introduced to a mom of a child with ASD. His name is Izaak, and that’s Izaak in the photo above. Izaak told his mom he’d like to tell other kids and parents about the great taste of BiomeBliss, and his mom tells us she thinks it’s helping him, both physically and emotionally. It is a pleasure to share their messages.
There will be more children diagnosed with autism this year than diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined. According to a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. With no cure available, many families are turning to special diets to mediate the disorder. According to the Autism Network, nearly one in five children with autism are on a special diet.
Such diets may have evolved due to the number of children with ASD who experience gastrointestinal issues, such as abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea, and heartburn. At the same time, many of these children prefer to eat only a few foods and tend toward processed foods, while eating fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In such cases, these children may have nutritionally poor diets and weight-related health issues.
It can be challenging for parents and caregivers to know how to help a child with ASD and unpredictable digestive issues. In addition, making dietary changes can be difficult when a child has become used to their eating habits.
The effectiveness of special diets may align with the recent emergence of entire new fields of science such as nutritional psychiatry and psychobiotics – the study of how the microbiome alters the brain. As the American Psychological Association says in their cover story on psychobiotics:
“In the past several years, researchers have compiled convincing evidence that suggests the gut and its resident microorganisms influence mental health and cognition as well.”
It has been widely demonstrated that people with ASD have a disrupted or shifted microbiome, although there is no single distinctive profile of the composition of the microbiota in people with ASD. Such observations are driving research into the correlation between the gut microbiome and ASD.
What is the Gut Microbiome and How Can Diet Influence Its Health and Function?
The gut microbiome is the trillions of organisms living in our digestive tract. Its health and diversity are hugely important to many important physiological functions, including digestion, and endocrine and nervous systems functions.
These trillions of organisms need nutrients called prebiotics in order to function as they should. Prebiotics are defined as nutrients that have a positive impact on the microbes in our gut. They are nutrients that are not digested by our human cells (such as dietary fiber and other non-fiber nutrients), so they arrive in the large intestine where they are food for our gut microbiome. They support and feed the microbes, thus producing positive benefits.
For many people it is hard to get enough of the recommended daily intake of prebiotics, such as dietary fiber and other nutrients that feed the gut microbiome. It’s estimated that for fiber alone only 5% of the country is getting their recommended daily intake. This may be especially true in ASD children.
BiomeBliss was designed almost a decade ago with one aim of helping you get more of the prebiotics from fruits and vegetables into your body every day, without the sugar. BiomeBliss makes it easy and delicious to get those important nutrients simply by mixing a scoop of it in water, or adding it to a smoothie. Izaak likes the purple color of BiomeBliss and helps to mix his drink.
From Izaak’s Mom
Izaak’s mom Sara wrote to tell us that Izaak is a testament to the role of the gut. She says,
“He was severely compromised in his gut, and we were able to fix it and can see a remarkable change. I attribute the meds too, but I feel strongly that the gut brain connection has been huge. I will be giving him BiomeBliss to continue to feed the flora. I have been thinking a lot about gut brain connection in terms of kids and also of myself in the gym. But I whole heartedly believe that healing the gut can’t be a bad thing!”
Much research is being done to understand the role of the gut microbiome; how does it become disrupted, and what can be done to keep it healthy? In the meantime, we think it is important to have a diverse diet, rich in fruits and vegetables packed with prebiotics to feed and nourish our trillions of gut microbes. BiomeBliss can be a great addition to a healthy diet and a healthy gut microbiome.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.