A gut based cure for autism?

In case you haven’t heard, there is an explosion in the diagnosis of autism.

There are a few things to unpack here. First, we were under diagnosing it before, no doubt.

Especially in women, it turns out, the recent BBC documentary by Christine McGuinness is worth watching.

Women/girls are better at “masking”.


But we should also consider whether we are potentially overdiagnosing it now?

I would argue yes, sometimes the children need boundaries with consequences, good nutrient-dense food, less screen time, enough good sleep and their behaviour may well improve dramatically.

These are the ones vaguely “on the spectrum” in some symptoms, but not really autistic per se.

But let’s consider the real, properly autistic ones, not the “on the spectrum” but firmly, clearly at the far end.

These people as a group, without question, are going up and up (and up).

This could have terrifying consequences for society.

If their behaviour is too difficult to manage, they simply will never contribute to society in a financial (or social) sense, but they require a huge amount of care and supervision, which is very, very expensive.

But what is driving this epidemic?

No doubt genes can load the gun.

Just have a good look at the parents: eye contact, diagnoses, behaviour, jobs etc.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But our genes have not changed.

Think about it.

So we are into the realm of epi-genetics, the internal environment that bathes the DNA and can change expression.

You can watch this video I recorded from wayyy back in 2019 all about epi-genetics here, 20 mins and it will blow your mind. If you have never heard of the agouti mice, you are in for a treat.


Since I started working on my gut microbiome in 2007, things have evolved alot.

What would you have thought it someone told you that by changing the gut microbiome you could effectively cure autism?

Pretty crazy right ?!?

And yet…….here it is:

This is a follow up study on autistic kids given a what is commonly known as a faecal microbial transplant (FMT).

The reason? To establish healthy gut bacteria, because autistic kids are notorious for having appalling dysbiosis or bad bugs (most notoriously Clostridia, which produces a toxin that blocks the conversion of dopamine to noradrenaline) plus massive inflammation.

Nerds see below the biochemistry:

So, before they gave the FMT, they did 2 weeks of the antibiotic vancomycin to suppress and kill pathogens, then a bowel cleanse, then rectal FMT followed by oral probiotics.

And the results followed up over two years?

Gut symptoms:

That is from over 80% with severe symptoms down to under 20%. And 0% with no gut symptoms to just over 40%

Austism itself?

From 90% clinically diagnosed ASD to just under 50% and nearly 20% now normal.

If you have never been in close proximity with a child with severe autism, it really can be challenging and upsetting.

It can and does destroy their lives and to some extent, the lives of their parents and siblings.

We knew that ASD kids have terrible digestion and gut microbiomes and now we see more clearly than ever that a nutritonal/functional medicine approach is the way forward.

How can the NHS continue to offer palliative care only while leaving a cure/remission on the table?

But for us just consider this, next time a patient presents with pain and mentions they have some mental health issues and “IBS”, maybe they have a collection of bad bugs in their small and large intestines producing toxins called LPS or petidoglycans.

Those enter our blood stream and trigger inflammation.

That inflammation makes your nerves develop hypersensitivity due to excess glutamate production, so you get persistent pain due to peripheral hypersensitivity.

Your blood brain barrier senses this inflammation and also produces inflammation in your brain to kill off any bugs, this creates a well orchestrated set of cellular events:

– Lowered mitochondria function, thus fatigue.

– Reduced synthesis of serotonin, dopamine and noradrelaine, so they feel less pleasure (“depression”) and socially withdraw.

– Plus, the brain makes even more glutamate to keep you hypervigilent (“anxiety”) and develops central hypersensitivity, so even more persistent pain.

Those brain changes via inflammation are the central tenant of the PATHOS-D theory of mental health.

These changes in pain thresholds are easily produced in labatory conditions by injecting patients with LPS from pathogenic bacteria.

And viola pain thresholds drop and pain thus goes up when they have neuro-mechanical dysfunction.

And to complete the clinical picture, their mood/mental health takes a dive at the same time.

This, my neuro-mechanical friends, is the point of the Academy of Chiropractic Nutrition.

It is the interface between our neuro-mechanical world and the metabolic/nutritonal world that is the low hanging fruit to pick.

Should you trying to sort the gut microbiome of ASD kids?

Frankly no, but recognising the research and systemic links to root causes rather than trying to only treat symptoms, that is where the juice is, that is clinical satisfaction.

That is what you would want as a patient.