Tummy Trouble–Autism and the Gut

I read an article once that said Celiac disease is in part caused by having a leaky gut. Because I have an allergic reaction to gluten, but not full-blown Celiac disease (perhaps), I decided to look up what causes leaky gut and how to take care of the problem.

The problem: the pores are too wide.

The solution: probiotics and glutamine.

Glutamine is an amino acid related to the amino acid glutamate. For you chemistry types, the difference between the two is on the R-group. The OH on the glutamate is replaced by an amine — NH2. Glutamate is made from glutamine, and vice versa. However, it is possible for there to be a mutation on a gene that would result in an enzyme that prefers one over the other.

In some people with autism, there is very high glutamate in the brain. In fact, glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which implicates it in IWT autism. As it turns out, such autistics not only have high glutamate, but low glutamine as well. If the body is preferentially making glutamate over glutamine, this could not only cause autistic behaviors, but leaky gut and potentially gluten allergy as well. And perhaps not just gluten allergy, since leaky gut can result in a variety of food allergies.

This glutamate-glutamine connection to autism explains why so many on the spectrum have gut problems.

The above linked article also notes that “levels of GAD 65 kDa and GAD 67 kDa proteins, both of which are involved in converting glutamate to GABA, are reduced in the brains of individuals with autism, resulting in increased levels of glutamate in the brain substrate.” Why is this important? Low GABA levels increase feelings of anxiety. Social anxiety is, of course, a main feature of autism.

Thus, a system that preferentially makes glutamate over both GABA and glutamine would, it seems, result in someone having autism. Also, it seems that eating things that could provide GABA and glutamine might reduce some of the negative behaviors associated with autism. Indeed, there does seem to be some research which suggests glutamine supplements could help.

In fact, my son and I now take glutamine if 1) our stomachs are upset and/or 2) if we anticipate eating wheat. And it works. Without it, my son will throw up when he eats wheat, but with it, he won’t even complain about his stomach hurting. Now, in case you’re wondering if there’s a placebo effect, once my son was complaining about his stomach being upset. I couldn’t find any glutamine, but found something else and told him it was glutamine. He threw up anyway. Every other time he had complained about his stomach hurting and I gave him actual glutamine, he was fine.

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3 thoughts on “Tummy Trouble–Autism and the Gut

  1. Thank you for posting this.

    I was just telling someone today that I don’t understand why with so many parents swearing by special diets improving an Autistic child’s behaviour, the medical field does not seem to take it seriously.

    Moreover, and bare with me since I’m not in the medical field, but I try to do what makes sense to me, if the theory says that Autism is the consequence of a brain that has developed differently, why is it that they only provide psychologically-based therapies and few people look into medical tests? Wouldn’t it make sense to look at the brain via scans? How about blood, urine, and fecal analysis to see if the child is not able to digest or process certain elements, proteins, enzimes, etc.?

    The way I see it, many therapies treat the symptoms, not the root cause?

    I agree with you that there is something going in with the gut, digestive system, liver, etc. I took all dairy products from my daughter’s diet and, within one week, she was making sounds again. It’s been now 2 months of no milk or dairy, no gluten, and no soy and she’s making 2 word approximations, has yet to have another night terror, sleeps better at night, has not have constipation, and makes a lot more eye-contact, among other things. When she gets diarrhea is because her father has fed her something with wheat, gluten, soy, etc.

    My gut feeling tells me that, with all the advances we’ve made in genetics and other medical fields, there has to be something out there that can drastically help people with Autism. I also wonder sometimes if many children get diagnosed with Autism, but they have something else going on. For example, I read that mercury poisoning can lead someone to act Autistic. So my question is, how many children might be diagnosed with Autism these days just because the symptoms of something else could be the same as the symptoms for ASD? Shouldn’t we be looking at brain scans, blood tests, and other things to determine if the person was actually born with a brain developed differently, or if it was acquired later?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we’re starting to get to doing these things. I agree that there’s much more that should be tested than just a battery of psychological tests. There are other traits that are equally as indicative, including various sensitivities.

      It can get tricky with older children and adults being tested too, because they may know what the “right” answer is and give it rather than the truthful answer. I suspect my 10 yr old daughter may have done that when we had her tested. She only showed as being “borderline.”

      Part of the problem is that there are a lot of causes that can have the same outcomes. Also, I suspect there may be many “autisms” rather than just a single thing. It’s a complex set of issues, and we’re at that lovely point of knowing just enough to be frustrated at how little we know.

      Liked by 1 person

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