A new study published in the online journal mbio® found differences between the gut bacteria of autistic children compared to non-autistic children. This comes as no surprise to me. Children with autism commonly have digestive issues. Dr. Smith has blogged about this, and we’ve written about it in my book, The Road To Perfect Health.

In the study, actual tissue samples taken from the guts of 23 autistic children were used to determine gut bacterial balance. Not widely used due to its invasive nature, taking actual gut samples (as opposed to stool samples) is considered the best method for determining the “actual” gut bacterial contents. In 12 of the 23 samples from autistic children, the bacteria Sutterella was isolated in relatively large proportions yet not at all detected in the samples from non-autistic children.

Sutterella has been associated with gastrointestinal diseases below the diaphragm, and whether it is a pathogen or not is still not clear,” says Jorge Benach, a reviewer of the study. “It’s an observation that needs to be followed through.”

Autism is a condition that demands attention. Its prevalence has increased so rapidly it cannot be simply attributed to genetic causes. Something, probably a combination of many things, is triggering this condition. Gut health is an important piece of the autism puzzle.

Like other studies on gut bacterial balance, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the deep-reaching connections between the gut and total-body health. Truly, our guts are in control here. This is why supporting healthy digestion and gut balance is so important.