Autism spectrum disorders have dramatically increased in recent decades. We now know that genetics plays a role but doesn’t explain everything and that other elements are at stake in this complex multi-factorial neurological disease. The microbiota-gut-brain axis is at the heart of advanced research.

Autism: The microbiota-gut-brain axis is being studied

Recent studies on autism evaluating treatments taking into consideration the microbiota-gut-brain axis echo several lectures of the congress “Getting out of Autism” which took place in Paris on January 30 and 31, and where Dr. Natasha Campbell, Corinne Skorupka and Maria Jesus Clavera Ortiz expressed their views on the high priority of such a cross treatment.


Considered to be one of the factors for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), this new approach aims at correcting the dysbiosis (imbalance of the bacterial ecosystem present in and on the human body, also known as microbiota), which most of the time patients suffer from, thanks to a suitable diet and the use of dietary supplements such as probiotics. On this occasion, certain high-dosed probiotics such as Vivomixx were mentioned as factors of equilibrium of the intestinal flora.

Recent publications confirm these observations.

A review paper of 2015, ‘Gut/Brain axis and the microbiota‘ published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation1, describes in the rat the bidirectional relationship between the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract. Future studies will naturally have to confirm these mechanisms for ASD in humans, but we may well expect confirmation of these experimental results.

Another review of studies on ASD Microbiome Disturbances and Autism Spectrum Disorders‘ published in the review Drug Metabolism and Disposition2 gives an update on various possibilities on how to take care of dysbiosis and gastrointestinal disorders, I quote:

« Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are considered a heterogenous set of neurobehavioral diseases, with the rates of diagnosis dramatically increasing in the past few decades. As genetics alone does not explain the underlying cause in many cases, attention has turned to environmental factors as potential etiological agents. Gastrointestinal disorders are a common comorbidity in ASD patients. It was thus hypothesized that a gut-brain link may account for some autistic cases. With the characterization of the human microbiome, this concept has been expanded to include the microbiota-gut-brain axis. There are mounting reports in animal models and human epidemiologic studies linking disruptive alterations in the gut microbiota or dysbiosis and ASD symptomology. »

« The spreading acknowledgement of the importance of the microbiota reinforces my conviction about the path I undertook more than 15 years ago that the supplementation by selected bacteria can improve the well-being of patients in a broad spectrum of disorders. »

Pr De Simone, About

1 Gut/Brain axis and the microbiota
Mayer et al 2015 The Journal of Clinical Investigation 125.3:926-938
2 Microbiome Disturbances and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Cheryl S. Rosenfeld et al 2015 Drug Metab Dispos 43:1557–1571, October 2015

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