Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Study About Leaky Gut and Restricted Diets


Alterations of the Intestinal Barrier in Patients With Autism Spectrum Disorders and in Their First-degree Relatives. 

de Magistris L, Familiari V, Pascotto A, Sapone A, Frolli A, Iardino P, Carteni M, De Rosa M, Francavilla R, Riegler G, Militerni R, Bravaccio C.

OBJECTIVES:: Intestinal permeability (IPT) was investigated in patients with autism as well as in their first-degree relatives to investigate leaky gut hypothesis. Faecal calprotectin (FC) was also measured in patients with autism, either with or without gastrointestinal symptoms, and in their first-degree relatives.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:: IPT results, assessed by means of the lactulose/mannitol test, were compared with adult and child controls and with FC values. 

RESULTS:: A high percentage of abnormal IPT values were found among patients with autism (36.7%) and their relatives (21.2%) compared with normal subjects (4.8%). Patients with autism on a reported gluten-casein-free diet had significantly lower IPT values compared with those who were on an unrestricted diet and controls. Gastrointestinal symptoms were present in 46.7% of children with autism: constipation (45.5%), diarrhoea (34.1%), and others (alternating diarrhoea/constipation, abdominal pain, etc: 15.9%). FC was elevated in 24.4% of patients with autism and in 11.6% of their relatives; it was not, however, correlated with abnormal IPT values. 

CONCLUSIONS:: The results obtained support the leaky gut hypothesis and indicate that measuring IPT could help to identify a subgroup of patients with autism who could benefit from a gluten-free diet. The IPT alterations found in first-degree relatives suggest the presence of an intestinal (tight-junction linked) hereditary factor in the families of subjects with autism.


  1. I was glad to see this. This is definatley the case for me and my son. He had gluten antibodies, but it may explain why some children do well gfcf even without them. Since leaky gut has been tied to incorrect gut flora, it explains the other gi issues, especially constipation.

  2. Hi MJ -

    I was planning on writing something about this sooner or later. If you look at some of the authors previous works, you can see that they are very well versed in gastro intestinal disorders. The neurodiverse narrative regarding this type of thing is highly false dichotomous; two papers failing to find opiods therefore a leaky gut has no basis. [there was one paper finding no changes in permiability, but was based on 14 children with PDD-NOS, and likely, no gastro problems]

    Do you have a copy of the paper? I've been unable to get one so far.

    I'm also not positive that genetics per se need be the mechanism of action. I developed some rather nasty gastro problems, including gluten intolerance, since my son's diagnosis; I believe as a result of the crazy, crazy stress involved with a very autistic child. The MET-C stuff does make some amount of sense from a genetic standpoint.

    - pD

    ps - dude blogger is such a POS regarding logging in and ids. Delete dups if necessary.

  3. Hi PD,

    I haven't gotten a copy of the paper yet, but I am working on it. If the study lives up to the promise of the abstract, it will be an interesting read. I am not as familiar with the types of testing for intestinal permeability or the FC tests that were used, so I guess I have some reading to do.

    As for genetic mechanisms, I dunno. I know there is likely going to be some genetic part but I keep thinking about the recent links found between things like diabetes, multiple sclerosis and gut flora and how a disruption in flora might play a role in the development of (or at least be correlated to) these conditions. There is so much about how the GI tract works and interacts with the rest of the body that that is not well understood.

  4. Have you read "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride?

  5. No, I haven't read that one, but it looks interesting.

  6. If you are suffering from this kind of problem you need to really take care of yourself. Take small small bites of food and chew it properly, eat as much of green vegetables and fresh fruit as you can.

  7. Patrick,

    I don't think it is quite that simple, especially when you are talking about how a leaky gut could be involved in autism. Which I suspect that you already know since your profile is linked to site that is supposed to be about leaky gut.