Can Probiotics Treat Autism in Children?


Man has evolved and progressed through centuries and medical science has been developed in leaps and bounds as human beings continue to tackle the various diseases and conditions that ail them. And yet, it is difficult to find standard treatments for some diseases. Autism is one of them. It is also referred to as PDD or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Autism is a primarily neurological disorder and it is difficult to come up with a magical cure for such a complex condition. Any possible treatment can only come out of unconventional thinking. Applying probiotics for autism is a significantly unique area that is being researched right now for a possible cure.

Read More: 8 Treatment Therapies for Autism in Children

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (asd) is commonly referred to as autism is a ‘spectrum’ disorder has a range of varying symptoms. Not all of them manifest in a single individual, but one common feature among all affected by autism is that it affects the manner in which one interacts with their environment and also with the people around. The communication and learning skills are affected in all the types and subtypes of autism known to people.

Autism normally begins in early childhood and persists through a person’s lifetime. Although there is no standard treatment for autism today, research is on to find the appropriate cure. The studies centering around probiotics and autism is one leading study in this area of research.

What are probiotics?

In traditional science, protozoa, bacteria and fungi used to be regarded as organisms that have a pathological connection to human beings, causing a range of diseases that are harmful to man. However, over the years it has been found that some bacteria are actually helpful to human beings, aiding processes in the body like digestion among others. These types of live bacteria and yeast which are beneficial to man are known as probiotics. Research is being carried out on expanding the utility of these probiotics and using them to treat other diseases as well. Research concerning probiotics for autism is one of the strands of treatment that is likely to be a standard once it is made available universally.


Read More: 15 Signs of Autism in Infants You Can’t Ignore

Can Probiotics Help Your Child with Autism Feel Better?

probiotics for autism

In a recent study published in the Neuron, Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas have revealed that a common bacteria occurring in the gut of neurotypical individuals may hold the key to the cure for autism. The gut bacteria in normal human beings is different when compared to an autistic person. Lactobacillus reuteri occurs naturally in human digestive tracts and helps control the level of acidity. Dr. Costa-Mattioli has been working on the assumption that this bacteria can present a possible cure where it can act as the best probiotic for autism. When administered on obese mice already showing symptoms of autism, the bacteria eliminated some of these symptoms.

Read More: 10 Notable Signs of Autism in a Child

Anne L. McCartney and her colleagues in their research with regard to microbiology and virology are in league with the basis assumption of Dr. Costa-Mattioli’s study. The bacteria group present in the gut of ASD patients is different from a healthy human being, thus causing the host of digestive issues that are also comprise the symptoms of the issue. The study has been supported and encouraged by almost all major autism forums in the world, and is being serious pursued by Dr. Mattioli and his team.

The respected doctor first suggested that the link between probiotics and autism back in 2016, and has made significant headway in his research. Though actual experimentation on willing human subjects is yet to occur, so far the research has yielded great results. It presents the hope of becoming the standard treatment for all individuals with autism.


Read More: 7 Home Treatments for Autism

4 Benefits of Using Probiotics to Treat Autism

If the objective of the research comes to fruition, some of the probiotics and autism benefits that will make life a little easier for autistic individuals are as follows:

Easy availability

The bacteria that the entire idea of probiotics for autism is based on is Lactobacillus reuteri. It occurs naturally in healthy human beings, and is therefore very easily available. Moreover, it is easily obtained in health-food shops as a known probiotic that is considered generally helpful.

Read More: 7 Causes for Autism in Children

Reduction of symptoms of autism

The probiotics for autism benefits include the reduction of the symptoms that indicate autism, which can make life easier for such individuals. The experiments related to probiotics for autism are still at their preliminary stages with experiments being carried out on mice. But the Lactobacillus bacteria has negated some of the symptoms in mice previously showing symptoms of autism.

Promotes social interaction

Some experiments have shown that when the bacterium was administered on the mice for some time, it was more open to interacting with other unfamiliar mice. Once human trials begin, it will be easy to determine how far these results may hold on human beings with autism, adults and children alike.


May turn social experiences rewarding

In a surprising feat, probiotics for autism can not only help people tolerate social experiences, but can even turn them rewarding for some. In some studies, the ventral segmental region of the brain in some mice was fired up. This part controls the motivation and social behavior driven by a feeling of being rewarded.


The easy availability makes it possible for domestic experimentation. But this is highly discouraged as the specific strain of the bacteria that can cause the necessary changes is still unknown to man. The very idea that probiotics for autism holds the key for the treatment of a neurological problem is hard to believe, and yet it seems to work so far, yielding results like no other. Dr. Costa-Mattioli had made great progress in this regard and still has a few cards up his sleeve that may lead to some groundbreaking work in this field. Until then, we must hold our horses and hope that science comes to our rescue once again, making provisions for individuals with autism to lead normal, fulfilling lives.


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