Healthy gut microflora is well-known for the role it plays in digestive and immune system function. For individuals with autism, gastrointestinal distress and immune dysfunction are common problems that often develop due to an issue called dysbiosis, which refers to an imbalance of gut bacteria.[1, 2] Furthermore, new evidence indicates that gut microflora also influence mental development, performance, and behavior in individuals with autism. 
The overgrowth of Candida, in particular, has repeatedly been observed in individuals with autism, and studies have even shown that the number of Candida in the stool of children with autism was twice as high as that of typically developing children.  Increased levels of a byproduct of Candida called d-arabinitol was also observed in children with autism.  Accordingly, the worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as behavior, has been seen in children with autism who are experiencing Candida overgrowth. [1, 2]
Symptoms Of Candida Overgrowth include:
- Gastrointestinal pain
- Rashes/Skin irritations
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased self-stimulatory behaviors
- Decrease cognition and focus
- Mood swings
- and more
Potential Causes of Yeast Overgrowth:
- Sugar and simple carbohydrates
- Antibiotic overuse
- Steroid/corticosteroid use
Given the significant digestive and behavioral changes that may occur in children with autism who demonstrate ongoing dysbiosis, steps should be taken to frequently monitor gut microflora to ensure that the optimal balance of healthy intestinal bacteria are maintained. Addressing increased gut permeability or “leaky gut” can be beneficial, as well.
Interestingly, probiotic supplementation is associated with improved behaviors in children with autism, including an enhanced ability to concentrate and follow tasks. Lower levels of d-arabinitol, a marker for Candida overgrowth, have also been associated with probiotic supplementation. These findings demonstrate just how effective probiotics are at destroying these harmful microorganisms.
Probiotic supplementation is beneficial toward improving both intestinal and behavioral symptoms because healthy bacteria release enzymes that can break down the protective layer of Candida, preventing them from growing and multiplying. Therefore, probiotic supplementation is an important aspect of nutrition for children with autism as it provides long-term benefits that have been demonstrated through clinical research.
My Spectrum Heroes™ has a variety of supplements that can help support gut health and improve issues related to yeast overgrowth.
Our Probiotic Essentials Powder is a unique probiotic formula designed to deliver active organisms shown to promote healthy gut flora, protect intestinal integrity and boost immune function. With 7 proven probiotic strains, we included Saccharomyces boulardii, an extensively researched microorganism shown to help restore microflora balance by enhancing commensal organisms.
The My Spectrum Heroes™ GI Shield is designed to promote the health and barrier function of the Gastrointestinal lining. This is a go-to product to take-on leaky gut!
- Hughes HK, Ashwood P. Anti-Candida albicans IgG Antibodies in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Front Psychiatry. 2018;9:627.
- Luna RA, Oezguen N, Balderas M, et al. . Distinct Microbiome-Neuroimmune Signatures Correlate With Functional Abdominal Pain in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;3(2):218-230.
- Strati F, Cavalieri D, Albanese D, et al. New evidences on the altered gut microbiota in autism spectrum disorders. Microbiome. 2017; 5(1):24.
- Noto A, Fanos V, Barberini L, et al. The urinary metabolomics profile of an Italian autistic children population and their unaffected siblings. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2014;27 Suppl 2:46-52.
- Kałużna-Czaplińska J, Błaszczyk S. The level of arabinitol in autistic children after probiotic therapy. Nutrition. 2012;28(2):124-6.
- Manzoni P, Mostert M, Leonessa ML, et al. Oral supplementation with Lactobacillus casei subspecies rhamnosus prevents enteric colonization by Candida species in preterm neonates: a randomized study. Clin Infect Dis. 2006, 42(12):1735-1742.