I was sitting in the waiting room of my office today, and picked up the issue of Psychology Today that was sitting in the magazine bin. I thumbed through and saw an interesting article on Probiotics. I instantly thought of all of our wonderful readers here at New Autism Cure, and how I wanted to fill you in on some interesting facts about Probiotics. Last week, I put it off to tell you about the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, hopefully you found that to be helpful. I myself have been working on keeping the food I take in amongst the clean veggies.
Now, onto Probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
To summarize, Probiotics are live bacteria that have been found to be beneficial to the body. Probiotics are often found in food with added active cultures such as yogurt and dietary yogurts. It was first found that Probiotics helped the body by balancing the intestinal microbial balance. As time has gone on, studies are being conducted and documented that show that Probiotics help with intestinal inflammation as well as diarrhea caused by pathogens.
The benefits of Probiotics were first introduced by Metchnikoff in the 1900’s. (Read about Metchinkoff’s research here.) He believed it to be possible to take damaging bacteria and replace it with good bacteria. Metchnikoff believed that not all bacteria is bad. Even in modern times, we hear the word bacteria, and we instantly think negatively. But there are some good bacteria that can target bad bacteria.
In adequate doses, probiotics or “good bacteria” can be beneficial to the body. This is particularly true of Lactic Acid Bacteria or lactobacillus, which has the ability to provide digestive enzymes to the body that assist in the breakdown of food. And as we have discussed before, many Autistic children have inflammation of the gut and difficulties with digestion. Additionally, Lactic Acid Bacteria helps balance the pH in the colon.
A Great Study Goes Bad
Recently, a study was conducted to establish the benefits of good bacteria on Autism. There were 2 groups of children, one group was given probiotics, and the other, the placebo. Conducted by Professor Glen Gibson at Reading University in the United Kingdom, the study was supposed to be conducted to where for a determined amount of time both group would take the probiotics, and then switch one of the other group to a placebo midway through the study.
The group of children who were taking the Probiotics had such amazing benefits, that the families knew that they were the group who had the real thing. When it came time to switch out, the families resisted. The parents thought it would be unfair for the Autistic children who had experienced such great benefits to go back to their former selves. There was a very high drop out rate, and therefore the study technically failed. But it definitely left researchers wondering what the true benefits really are. The study is sure to be replicated and attempted again in the near future. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for that.