Autism in children has increased significantly over the last few years. Eating disorders and ailments of the gastrointestinal system are a common affliction among these children. The hypothesis linking the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the digestive system with its bacterial microflora based on the concept of the gut-brain axis become very interesting and credible. This axis is a two-way communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and gut innervation. Mechanisms of this dependency include effects of neurological, immunological, and hormonal mediators. Among patients with ASD, mucosal permeability is frequently diagnosed, which may be caused by chronic inflammation. Such inflammation can damage cells of the intestinal membrane. Children with ASD also have a different composition of intestinal and gastric flora compared to healthy ones. Different types of environmental and situational stressors may contribute to the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis, as well as increase intestinal permeability and change their bacterial flora. The chapter presents eating disorders and nutritional deficiencies in children with ASD and shows how nutrition during pregnancy can affect ASD symptoms and how to reduce the severity of ASD symptoms through carefully selected nutritional interventions and supplementation.
Part of the book: Gut Microbiota