Autism can be connected to Glyphosate and Clostridia
Just like any chronic health concern, there is a general consensus that Autism is multifactorial. We have come to know that individuals are born with a genetic susceptibility for autism, and these genes are later triggered (or turned on) by a host of environmental factors.
Gut Microbiome and Mental Health:
One of the most critical environmental factors in the development of autism disorder (and really any chronic illness for that matter) is the early-life development of the gut microbiome. We know that the development and maintenance of a healthy and plush microbiome is crucial for neurodevelopment and mental health. Unfortunately, many aspects of our current industrialized environment are working against us.
For more information on the factors contributing to the development of the microbiome, please read more in our article titled Your Infant’s Health Begins in the Gut and Before Birth in our blog.
More and more of the research literature these days are linking the disruption of good microbial diversity with onset of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and autism disorder. The role of gut microbial involvement in autism behaviors is becoming better understood. Children with autism have been shown to have differences in their gut microbiome when compared to neurotypical children. They tend to display overgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria — namely clostridia species.
Clostridia and Autism
The role of Clostridia species in the development of autism symptoms has been known for a while. In 1998, a study found that Clostridum tetani, a neurotoxin, can travel along the vagus nerve from the GI tract into the brain, causing damage to the neurons and leading to autism symptoms. A later study found that short term treatments with antibiotics that eradicated the clostridia species, could also cause reversal of these autism traits.Clostridum tetani, a neurotoxin, can travel along the vagus nerve from the GI tract into the brain, causing damage to the neurons and leading to autism symptoms. Click To Tweet
One proposed mechanism as to how Clostridia contributed to the development of autism is through the inhibition of the enzyme dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH). DBH is responsible for converting dopamine into norepinephrine. When this enzyme is inhibited, this reaction cannot occur and dopamine begins to build in the system. High dopamine levels can result in symptoms of psychosis, aggression, and agitation. The majority of the dopamine is stored within the terminal vesicle of the neuron; however, some of the dopamine is within the cell and thus metabolized by the body. The metabolism of degradation of dopamine within the body leads to quite a bit of toxic byproducts and oxidative damage, and this process is believed to lead way to neurodegeneration. Thus, current evidence suggests that dopamine in high concentrations may be toxic to the brain, and this may be why some individuals with autism respond favorably to antipsychotic medications that inhibit dopamine.
The Role of Pesticides:
We have known for quite some time that exposure to agricultural pesticides, specifically organophosphates, is associated with increased risk of autism. Glyphosate is an organophosphate and the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. In the United States, it is estimated that around 300 million pounds are applied each year! Glyphosate has been shown to have detrimental effects on the microbiome, killing off beneficial bacteria but sparing clostridia species. This creates a perfect environment for the overgrowth of harmful clostridia species to occur.Glyphosate has been shown to have detrimental effects on the microbiome, killing off beneficial bacteria but sparing clostridia species. Click To Tweet
What to do now for Autism diagnosis or treatment:
- Determine if Clostridia is playing a role in your child’s autism
- Test for Clostridia in the Stool
- Test for Urinary Organic Acids to Assess for High Dopamine Metabolites
- If Positive, work with a practitioner who can help eradicate clostridia
- This may include antibiotics, herbal antimicrobials, or fecal matter transplants
- Re-build a Healthy Gut:
- Eat an Organic Diet
- Avoid use of unnecessary antibiotics
- Minimize Sugar within the Diet
- Consume plenty of prebiotics and probiotic rich foods (or supplement)
Argou-Cardozo, I., & Zeidán-Chuliá, F. (2018). Clostridium Bacteria and Autism Spectrum Conditions: A Systematic Review and Hypothetical Contribution of Environmental Glyphosate Levels. Medical Sciences, 6(2), 29. doi: 10.3390/medsci6020029
Bolte, E. (1998). Autism and clostridium tetani. Medical Hypotheses, 51(2), 133–144. doi: 10.1016/s0306-9877(98)90107-4
Finegold, S. M., Molitoris, D., Song, Y., Liu, C., Vaisanen, M. L., Bolte, E., … Kaul, A. (2002). Gastrointestinal Microflora Studies in Late‐Onset Autism. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 35(s1). doi: 10.1086/341914
Parracho, H. M. (2005). Differences between the gut microflora of children with autistic spectrum disorders and that of healthy children. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 54(10), 987–991. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.46101-0
Sandler, R. H., Finegold, S. M., Bolte, E. R., Buchanan, C. P., Maxwell, A. P., Väisänen, M.-L., … Wexler, H. M. (2000). Short-Term Benefit From Oral Vancomycin Treatment of Regressive-Onset Autism. Journal of Child Neurology, 15(7), 429–435. doi: 10.1177/088307380001500701
Shaw, W. (2017). Elevated Urinary Glyphosate and Clostridia Metabolites With Altered Dopamine Metabolism in Triplets With Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Suspected Seizure Disorder: A Case Study. Integrative Medicine, 16(1), 50–57.