Previously, we told you about the gut-brain connection. In fact, we’ve been saying for years that the key to good health starts in your digestive system and in recent years the connection between good gut bacteria and mental health is enjoying more and more attention.
Now, a recent study is taking the gut-brain connection one step further, with the results showing how a healthy digestive system can make the world of difference in those suffering with autism.
The leaky gut brain connection
Epithelial tissue lines the surface of the intestines and it has two crucial functions: absorbing nutrients the body needs and acting as a barrier against harmful substances.
In this latest study, the researchers looked at epithelial tissue from the intestines of patients with autism and they found the epithelial tissue in these patients didn’t have the same amount of barrier-forming components.
In addition, autism sufferers also had a higher volume of the molecules that make intestines more penetrable. In other words, toxins leaked through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream easier. This condition is called “leaky gut syndrome”.
But there’s one further link: the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier serves the same function as epithelial tissue. It prevents unwanted substances and toxins from entering the brain and allows nutrients that the brain needs through.
The researchers found that patients with autism have genetic changes linked to the integrity and function of the blood-brain barrier, causing neuro-inflammation.
Now, many alternative health specialists like Dr. Fred Pescatore refers to the gut as the “second brain”. And in simple terms, what this recent study is saying is that “leaky gut” can cause a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier.
So, the key message is that your gut health can alter your genetic makeup.
Now if that 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 also identifies the molecular mechanisms at the root of autism, which means now those suffering with autism can be helped by keeping their intestinal barriers in check.
One last thing. If “leaky gut” can lead to conditions like autism in children, then it might just be that it could also contribute to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, fixing a leaky gut is not rocket science. You can start by eliminating sugar from your diet (including sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners) and by following a Mediterranean or Paleo diet. Both of these diets are rich in healthy saturated fats, lean protein, nuts and plenty of fresh organic vegetables (steer clear of fruit juices and very sweet fruits like grapes, bananas, oranges and apples).
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.