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What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?from: Maxx Family Life
Leaky gut syndrome in conjunction with autism is currently being researched with a number of studies under way trying to better understand how the syndrome starts, why it's prevalent in autistic children, and the proper way to treat it. Leaky gut syndrome is the inability of the intestinal wall to keep out large, unwanted molecules. This symptom of autism most often signifies that the intestinal wall has been altered to become permeable. Leaky gut syndrome in autistic children may occur because of increased sensitivity or allergies.
Leaky gut syndrome is a problem for anyone's health because it allows molecules and substances (such as proteins) normally filtered out of the intestinal tract into the intestines. Since these molecules aren't usually allowed inside the gut, the body misinterprets these non-harmful substances as a virus or infection and produces antibodies to attack them. In turn, this creates a process where one's body recognizes certain foods, as well as any of the body's regular molecules that are similar to these foods, as harmful, causing an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself.
These are jsut two possible outcomes of leaky gut syndrome. Others include the transportation of bacteria normally found within the intestinal tract to move into the bloodstream and cause an infection anywhere in the body, in addition to a weakening of the liver, which causes more toxins to circulate throughout the body, which can lead to a additional medical problems.
What causes leaky gut syndrome? Researchers are still trying to gain more understanding of the causes, but current medical diagnoses suggest that a diet high in alcohol and caffeine intake, certain drugs such as ibuprofen and antacids, or a diet high in carbohydrates can decrease the thickness of the intestinal wall along with other possible reasons. Treating leaky gut syndrome is as uncertain as these reasons.
Due to the sensitivity of a digestive system with leaky gut syndrome, many parents of autistic children have discovered that getting their child on gluten- and casein-free diets can help. Both gluten and casein are proteins, and a diet with these proteins could irritate and inflame a leaky gut syndrome -- though, at the moment, researchers are still studying this to determine if it's true. Other ways to treat leaky gut syndrome include avoiding alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, or spicy foods -- all of which can cause irritation in the intestines.
Understanding leaky gut syndrome is an ongoing process for parents with autistic children, doctors and researchers, but this doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done for treatment. It helps to be aware whether your autistic child has leaky gut syndrome because this will help you better understand and improve his or her life.
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