Probiotic foods can help children suffering from Autism (April 2 is World Autism Day)

By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, April 1 (IANS) Probiotic foods can help children suffering from Autism by improving digestive system, develop gut-brain axis for good and treat any form of disorders, said doctors on the eve of World Autism Day.

According to them, children with autism are often not able to express abdominal discomfort properly and thus gastrointestinal symptoms are sometimes shadowed by the resulting aggression. This could sometimes lead to people wrongly equating with behavioural characteristics of autism among these children. Chronic diarrhea and constipation tend to increase with the severity of autism, and this at times results into societal stigma, social withdrawal, and anxiety.

Doctors said there are foods which help improve gut health, and these could relieve major pain point. Yogurts/curds and other probiotic foods help improve digestive system, develop gut-brain axis for good, and treat any form of disorders.

“Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show different compositions of gut microbiota. Specifically, the severity of Gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with ASD has been linked to the derangement of the gut microbiota. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that are ingested as food or pills. These beneficial bacteria, when added in sufficient amounts, can correct the dysbiosis. Because probiotics have shown success in treating irritable bowel syndrome, it is likely to help reduce the behavioural symptoms of ASD as well,” Dr. Daljeet Kaur, Consultant Psychiatrist, Continental Hospitals told IANS.

“Probiotics are safe to consume and have minimal side effects, like bloating that usually goes away after a few days of use. Rarely, probiotics can cause an allergic reaction or diarrhea or infection, and probiotics are a great tool for kids with autism, especially those experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms. Certain tests and recommendation from clinicians would help identify the right option to ensure child has a healthy diet at the foundation that makes a world of difference in gut health,” said Dr. Anusha Karra, Internal Medicine, Western Plains Hospital, Dodge City, USA.

Sreeja Reddy Saripalli, Founder and Clinical Nutritionist, Dietetics, Pinnacle Blooms Network (PBN), feels that how gut bacteria can influence the brain and behaviour so profoundly is ‘absolutely unthinkable’. PBN, which claims to have conducted over seven lakh therapy programmes, has a free national helpline 9100181181 to share details.

“Autism spectrum disorder is a medical and social concern around the world because of its increasing incidence among children. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with multifactorial etiologic (genetic and environment) and varied presentation, early diagnosis is crucial to the implementation of early treatment, which can lead to immense improvement in the behavioural as well as cognitive functions of their child,” said Dr. Suma Kandukuri, Consultant Neurologist, SLG Hospitals.

The manifestation and severity of symptoms of ASD differ widely, and treatments include a range of behavioural, psychosocial, educational, medical, and complementary approaches that vary by a child’s age and developmental status.

The goals of treatment for ASD typically focus on improving core deficits in communication, social interactions, or restricted behaviours, as changing these fundamental deficits may help children develop greater functional skills and independence.

According to doctors, individual goals for treatment vary for different children and may include combinations of approaches such as behavioural, communication, educative and medical therapies.

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