It’s not medically proven just yet. The studies on yeast overgrowth in the intestines and autism show more of a food sensitivity and the child’s response than the yeast actually causing the autism itself. The researchers were actually conducting studies on food allergies when they came across some interesting results that suggested that some symptoms of autism—lack of self control, impulsivity, outbursts, etc., decreased in several children with autism when they ingested something that decreased the amount of yeast that went through their GI tract.
Two other studies on how yeast sensitivity affects people found some similar results. The researchers aren’t sure why as it definitely didn’t occur in all patients with autism nor did it alter anything in the moods or behaviors of those without autism. It isn’t healthy to have an overgrowth of yeast anywhere in one’s body, and when it is present, it produces some very unpleasant symptoms. Gastroenteritis is just one of the few complications of too much yeast. Imagine being nonverbal and not being able to tell anyone that your stomach feels like it’s going to explode; how would you tell anybody?
There are lots of good bacteria and fungi in the human body. They help regulate everything from the digestive system to the immune system. Whenever there’s additional bacteria or fungi, or not enough of either, chaos breaks loose and the person suffers from some very unsettling physical symptoms.
It’s this very idea that has many questioning the behavioral issues associated with autism. Testing for food allergens and sensitivities or more physical causes and explanations for autism might be the next big breakthrough in understanding one of the pieces of the puzzle. However, a lot of parents would have to be willing to take part in such studies and offer their children up as guinea pigs.
No harm comes to these children in the tests and research; they are simply given a different diet to follow. The control group is given a placebo to take following or preceding the food they consume, while the other group takes the actual medicine that destroys the yeast overgrowth. They are closely monitored and documented for any changes, usually one to three months, to determine if there’s some validity to the link between challenging autistic behaviors and the gut.
One article in particular, based off a medical conference presentation, is featured on TACA, or Talk About Curing Autism. This organization looks at the many discussions that come down the pipe on how to treat and maybe even cure autism. Much of it is subjective, but the reader can glean the details from what is written there. They do post links to the origin of the information, in case anyone wants to track down the source and watch it or read it for themselves.
Regional newspapers and science magazines also have been picking up these stories, although they have probably done their work more in depth. Parents who really want to know the scoop, as well as the diet plan researchers used, can consult with the Autism Society, which posted their own story on this subject.