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Shedding Light on Autism-Spectrum Disorders and Behavioral Problems

I’d like to take the opportunity to shed some light on autism-spectrum disorders and their resulting behavioral problems, and their connection to clostridia bacteria (a common gut bacteria).

For years I have been advocating to parents (for their children) and physicians (for their patients) to make sure they perform the Organic Acid Test (OAT) or minimally the Microbial Organic Test (mOAT) from Great Plains Laboratory to measure levels of yeast markers, i.e. arabinose, tartaric acid and the clostridia bacteria marker HPHPA (defined in the last paragraph). Many people focus solely on yeast, but often do not realize that clostridia bacteria are problematic too and can lead to adverse behavior including psychosis, aggression, self-injury and violent outbursts in extreme situations.

Many times just treating yeast and not addressing clostridia bacteria will backfire leading to deterioration in a child’s condition. I learned years ago with a child who showed the classic yeast behavior of giddiness, goofiness and inappropriate laughter, excessive self-stimulatory behavior, and heightened sensory needs. We treated for candida and instead of seeing improvement the child became extremely agitated, aggressive and self-abusive. Subsequent OAT testing revealed elevated HPHPA. What the treatment for candida apparently had done was unveil an underlying clostridia problem. Treatment with appropriate antibiotics and probiotics (Culturelle) resolved the problem. The relationship between candida and clostridia is complex, but in those kids neurologically sensitive to the biotoxins of these organisms the adverse effects can be profound.

HPHPA called 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic acid is an abnormal metabolite of clostridia species. It specifically interferes with a converting enzyme for dopamine which can lead to imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that contribute to psychological problems seen in autism, as well as schizophrenia. An excellent article from Dr. Shaw from Great Plains Laboratory about clostridia and HPHPA is worth reading:

Be sure to thoroughly test your children when trying to rule out the reasons for their behavior or physical issues.  It’s extremely important to be sure that you’ve narrowed down the true cause of the issues.

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