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Autism & Enzyme Deficiency

The word Autism has been in the news consistently for the last decade.  In fact, older Americans probably never heard the term in the early part of their lives.  Autism is a severe developmental disorder that affects the way a child sees and interacts with the rest of the world. It limits their ability to interact with others socially, in fact many autism suffers avoid human contact. What causes Autism is still unclear, though my personal suspicions revolve around immune system weakness possibly due to inoculations.

I don’t like horror stories, but this morning I heard a recent study stating that one child in every 150 is being diagnosed with autism! This is definitely something to be alarmed about. How did this happen and when did this surge of autism begin? To this point no one has been able to confirm an exact starting point or cause. What can we do to help those afflicted with this condition? More than one might imagine.  Let’s start by understanding what Autism is.

The definition of Autism:

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines Autism as: “Autism is a developmental disability that comes from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. Males are affected four times as often as females. Children may appear normal until around the age of 30 months.”

Possible Causes

There is evidence that viruses can cause dysfunction in the brain and damage the protective coating, called myelin, around the nerves. This leaves the nerves exposed and susceptible to damage. A discussion on why autism has an autoimmune basis and why this most likely involves a virus is discussed by the Autism Autoimmune discussion website noted at the end of this article.  Other possibilities being considered are genetic in nature, and a specific gene possibly predisposing certain children to the “turn on” of autism in the brain.  No one has yet determined what may cause the activation if this is the cause.

For the parents of Autistic children the struggles are endless and exhausting at times. Autism Symptoms vary widely in severity; include impairment in social interaction, fixation on inanimate objects, inability to communicate normally, and resistance to changes in daily routine. Characteristic traits include lack of eye contact, repetition of words or phrases, unmotivated tantrums, inability to express needs verbally, and insensitivity to pain.

The gastrointestinal tract is closely aligned with the nervous system as well as the immune system. Children with autism may not be getting the full benefit of nutrients from the foods they eat, and they may not be able to digest certain forms of foods such as gluten and casein according to a popular book called “Enzymes: Go with Your Gut” by Karen DeFelice. 

AbsorbAid® Platinum is a natural wide spectrum power-packed digestive enzyme formula that includes two probiotics to support the immune system and 12 cutting edge digestive enzymes to break down all food groups.  According to the Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Cincinnati, supporting the digestive capabilities of these children is an intelligent move.

Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229-3039, USA.
Molloy CA, Manning-Courtney P. 2003 June 7(2):165-71. PMID: 12846385

The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of chronic gastrointestinal symptoms in a general population of children with autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The study site was a clinic specializing in ASD in a large pediatric medical center serving a 10 county area in the Midwestern USA. In a sample of 137 children, age 24-96 months, classified as having autism or ASD by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic, 24 percent had a history of at least one chronic gastrointestinal symptom. The most common symptom was diarrhea, which occurred in 17 percent. There was no association between chronic gastrointestinal symptoms and a history of developmental regression. The potential phenotypic association between autism and gastrointestinal symptoms is discussed.

Another possibility is that children with autism may have inadequate levels of friendly bacteria (probiotics) in the intestinal tract causing them to be more susceptible to infections of various kinds.  When using therapeutic doses of effective probiotic blends it will help to deter the over population of such things as Candida yeast, bacterial infections and other pathogens and parasites. 

Differences between the gut micro flora of children with autistic spectrum disorders and that of healthy children.

J Med Microbiol. 2005 Oct;54(Pt 10):987-91. PMID: 16157555 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Parracho HM, Bingham MO, Gibson GR, McCartney AL.
Food Microbial Sciences Unit, School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 226, Reading RG6 6AP, UK.

Children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) tend to suffer from severe gastrointestinal problems. Such symptoms may be due to a disruption of the indigenous gut flora promoting the overgrowth of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms. The faecal flora of patients with ASDs was studied and compared with those of two control groups (healthy siblings and unrelated healthy children). Faecal bacterial populations were assessed through the use of a culture-independent technique, fluorescence in situ hybridization, using oligonucleotide probes targeting predominant components of the gut flora. The faecal flora of ASD patients contained a higher incidence of the Clostridium histolyticum group (Clostridium clusters I and II) of bacteria than that of healthy children. However, the non-autistic sibling group had an intermediate level of the C. histolyticum group, which was not significantly different from either of the other subject groups. Members of the C. histolyticum group are recognized toxin-producers and may contribute towards gut dysfunction, with their metabolic products also exerting systemic effects. Strategies to reduce clostridial population levels harbored by ASD patients or to improve their gut microflora profile through dietary modulation may help to alleviate gut disorders common in such patients.


Enzymes: Go With Your Gut – by Karen DeFelice

Enzymes for Autism and Other neurological Conditions – by Karen DeFelice

Digestive Health for Children by Elizabeth Lipski

Enzymes: What the Experts Know by Tom Bohager

Enzymes & Enzyme Therapy: How to Jump Start Your Way to Lifelong Good Health by Anthony J. Cichoke

Other Reference Sites:

Autism, Autoimmunity and Immunotherapy’ at:, or contact the Autism Autoimmunity Project

see National Alliance for Autism Research (US research site)
see Autism Society of America (US general information)
see National Autistic Society (UK general information)
see Dana’s View (parent site with many specific resources)

© 2009 Nature’s Sources, LLC. All rights reserved.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.