Researchers Theoharis Theoharides and colleagues from Tufts University have identified a link between mast cells (immune cells that cause allergic sneezing) and autism. The researchers found that among 400 people with mastocytosis (excess mast cells in the body) the incidence of autism was five to seven times higher that the rate in the general population.
Interestingly, mast cells are found in significant quantities in the brain and in the gut, where they play a role in intestinal permeability and the blood brain barrier.
I have found in practice that the majority of patients facing autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia have intestinal permeability and a hyper-response to foods that are not digested properly. Sickness Syndrome is a condition that involves the immune system and links disorders in the gut with inflammation in the brain and mental health disorders.
There is an old saying that your gut is your second brain. This new research paired with the newly identified Sickness Syndrome condition, brings new light to this saying.
When treating patients with autism, it becomes imperative to supply specific digestive enzymes, and an autism-specific nutritional protocol that works to repair the gastrointestinal tract, optimize the integrity of the blood brain barrier and reduce inflammation in the brain. By doing so you invariably decrease mast cell production, which can lead to a relief of symptoms related to this hyper immune response.
The diagnosis of autism has increased to approximately one in every 180 people. It is time that physicians treating autism begin to integrate the basic principles of Sickness Syndrome (connection between stress, digestion and inflammation in the brain) into our treatment protocols, to serve the best interests of children, adults and the families affected by this condition.