The sneaky syndrome behind the surge in autism spectrum disorder

I’ve been writing about the gut-brain connection for years. I even wrote an entire book about the subject, called Boost Your Health with Bacteria. What I found in the research I did for that book — and what I see every day in my practice — is that without a healthy gut, it’s impossible to be truly healthy. The digestive system controls our health in ways that we are only just beginning to understand.

Today I came across another bit of evidence of the gut-brain connection — this time in relation to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I know and have treated many children on the spectrum, with much success. But I’m happy to see more and more new research on the topic, and I hope that it gives you some encouragement if you have a child or grandchild on the spectrum (or know someone who does).

Because the fact is, despite what you hear from mainstream medicine, there are natural ways to help kids with ASD. And the new study I mentioned above is just one example. But before I get into the details of that study, let me tell you about the most mind-blowing success story I’ve had so far treating a child with ASD.

When this child came to me, he didn’t speak a word. But based on my years of experience treating other kids with ASD, and all the reading and research I had done, I laid out a plan. His mother followed it to a T. Within days, she informed me that her child began speaking — and he hasn’t stopped since!

That’s how much of a difference a well-thought-out approach to ASD can make. But enough about me… Let’s move on to the new study I told you about above.

The study looked at epithelial tissue from the intestines of patients with ASD. Epithelial tissue is what lines the surface of the intestines. It serves two crucial functions: absorbing substances the body needs and serving as a barrier against harmful substances.

The researchers noticed that in people with ASD, the epithelial tissue didn’t have the same amount of barrier-forming components. Making matters worse, ASD sufferers also had higher amounts of the molecules that make intestines more permeable — making it easier for toxins to leak out into the bloodstream (a condition known as “leaky gut”).

But here’s where it gets really interesting…

The researchers found that people with ASD have changes in the genes linked to the integrity and function of the blood-brain barrier, as well as neuro-inflammation. The blood-brain barrier is basically the brain’s security system. It keeps out unwanted substances while letting in the substances the brain needs.

You’ve probably heard me refer to the gut as a “second brain.” What this study is saying is that “leaky gut” can cause a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. And that’s key. The fact that the makeup of your gut — which largely comes down to how you eat — can alter the expression of your genes is remarkable.

If that one simple fact doesn’t make you want to change the way you eat, then I don’t know what will.

The exciting thing about this study is that it identifies the molecular mechanisms at the root of ASD. That’s good news, since it means we can help people on the spectrum by keeping intestinal barriers functioning properly. And that, as I said, is influenced heavily by diet.

Which is why diet has been the basis of my ASD treatment for decades. It’s nice to see my approach finally being validated. Maybe now mainstream medicine will offer real solutions to ASD sufferers, instead of brushing them off as they do now. (But considering the solution isn’t something they can put into a pill, patent, and make a fortune from, I won’t hold my breath.)

Before I go, there’s one more thing I want to point out…

There’s another important aspect to this research that applies even if you don’t have someone with ASD in your life. Consider this: If “leaky gut” can cause ASD in kids, it’s entirely possible (and very likely) that the same mechanism could lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bottom line? A leaky gut is one of the worst things that can happen to your body. But the good news is, it’s completely within your control to fix it. In fact, if you follow the steps I outline in The A-list Diet, you’ll keep your intestinal barriers intact without even trying. As I said, my goal with The A-List Diet isn’t just to help you lose weight and look your best…It’s also to help you achieve optimal health, inside and out.

So if you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy, please take a minute to reserve one now by visiting Your gut — and your brain — will thank you.