March 3, 2019©
The beauty of adversity. In adversity you can not deceive yourself but you are forced to see things as they really are.
Probiotic/colostrum Supplementation Benefits Children With Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits, repetitive and stereotypical behaviors, insistence on routines and communication impairments. It is now evident that gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities are characteristic of a substantial number of children with ASD. An estimated 50% or more of these children are affected with the prevalence of symptoms four times greater than in children without ASD. The most commonly reported symptoms include chronic constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In addition, GI microbial dysbiosis, an imbalance in the organisms that make up the gut microbiota, has been documented in multiple studies of children with ASD.
Children with ASD have been reported to generally consume less than 50% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. In addition, suboptimal breastfeeding practices, including non-intake of colostrum and short duration of breastfeeding, have also been shown to be associated with ASD. Oligosaccharides, the third most abundant component of human milk, serve to selectively promote the growth of bifidobacteria in the gut. The probiotic Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis) is considered to be beneficial to GI health. It has been found to dominate the guts of healthy breastfed infants and is associated with numerous beneficial health outcomes. It has also been shown in vitro to improve gut barrier integrity and reduce expression of inflammatory genes in intestinal epithelial cells. This bacteria grows exceptionally well in the presence of complex milk oligosaccharides to the exclusion of other potentially harmful bacteria. Bovine colostrum not only contains a limited amount of milk oligosaccharides that may serve as a selective food source (prebiotic) and promote the growth of this particular bacteria, but also contains an abundance of immune proteins, such as immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and numerous cytokines. These proteins have been shown to resist digestion in order to be biologically active in the gut and can modulate the microbiota and the immune system. Many of these immune proteins are heavily glycosylated, which may also provide a prebiotic effect as these sugars can be cleaved by bacterial glycosidases. Therefore, concurrent supplementation with both the probiotic B. infantis and bovine colostrum product (Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic) as a source of immune factors and prebiotic glycans could alter the microbiota to a more beneficial composition in order to improve gut health in children with ASD and GI symptoms.
A substantial number of children with ASD experience chronic gastrointestinal symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, pain associated with bowel movements and gassiness/bloating. Early antibiotic exposure, due in part to this population’s increased incidence of ear infections, is also associated with ASD and perturbs the gut microbiota, leading to dysbiosis and gastrointestinal problems. The probiotic organism Bifidobacterium longum subsp infantis has been shown to improve gut barrier integrity and reduce expression of inflammatory genes in intestinal epithelial cells.
In order to assess tolerability and gut microbial changes associated with administration of these supplements, researchers conducted a pilot study released in January 2019 in PLoS One with a crossover design in which children with ASD and chronic GI symptoms were supplemented for five weeks with Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only and the combination Bovine Colostrum Probiotic + B. infantis for another five weeks with a two week wash out period in between.
Study supplements were well-tolerated
Both study supplements were found to be well-tolerated with participants experiencing limited and mild adverse events on both treatment arms. Many children with ASD have sensory issues and restricted eating patterns; the ability to obtain high compliance in supplement administration in this population with minimal drop-out is another highlight of this study. The most common adverse events were gassiness and weight gain (a positive side effect). Any reported gassiness occurred at the onset of supplementation and then diminished shortly thereafter.
Reduced allergic and inflammatory response
Researchers observed significant changes in intracellular cytokine expression in stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after treatment, specifically CD3+ T cells. The combination treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the percentage of helper T lymphocytes (CD4+ T cells) expressing IL-13. This cytokine is important in allergic responses and may be important in GI pathology as many children with ASD and GI symptoms report food allergy. Elevated production of the TH2 cytokine IL-13 in children with ASD had been reported. Reduction in production of this cytokine corroborates findings of improved GI function and symptom reduction with both treatments. There was a significant reduction in the frequency of CD8+ T cells expressing TNF-α after Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only treatment suggesting pro-inflammatory signals are decreased. The reduction in inflammatory cytotoxic T lymphocytes is concordant with clinical outcomes and suggests that bovine colostrum may have helped to improve GI function through reduction of expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the gut. Research results are in agreement with previous findings of elevated TNF-α expression in children with ASD and GI symptoms compared to non-inflamed controls that was similar to participants with Crohn’s disease. It is also interesting to note that several studies have demonstrated increased TNF-α production in PBMCs isolated from children with ASD in response to certain dietary proteins, including bovine milk proteins. Findings from this study do not support this preliminary in vitro data and suggest that consumption of raw bovine colostrum product may be effective at reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the gut.
Decreased behavioral symptoms
There appears to be a trend toward greater reduction in GI symptoms, aberrant behavior and immune imbalance with the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only treatment compared to the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic + B. infantis combination treatment. The trend toward greater symptom reduction with Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only treatment was marginal and it is difficult to conclude that the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic supplement demonstrated greater symptom reduction than the combination treatment due to high variability in response of our participants.
All participants experienced reduced symptoms by study end
All study participants experienced reduction in at least one gastrointestinal symptom on at least one treatment arm of the study, if not both. Based on overall impressions of the parents, 75% (6/8) reported greater improvement on the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only arm while 25% (2/8) reported greater improvement on the combination treatment arm. This finding is important and likely reliable as all participants and parents were blinded as to the order of treatment and there was no apparent difference in taste or texture between the supplements. Based on stool log data, the proportion of stools with normal consistency was low at the start of both treatments. This proportion increased to nearly half at the end of the combination treatment. Concurrent with increases in the proportion of normal stools, there was a trend toward a decrease in the proportion of hard and soft stools with treatment. Based on survey data, there was a significant decrease in diarrhea incidence during the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic only treatment and a significant decrease in pain during both treatment arms. There were no significant differences between treatment groups for any of the GI symptoms.
Parents request to keep supplementing with Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic
All parents thought their child benefitted from supplementation in regard to reduction in global chronic gastrointestinal symptoms that could not be alleviated by various other treatment options. In addition, many parents inquired about the availability of similar commercially-available supplements in order to continue administration to their child.
Significant reduction of aberrant behaviors
In order to assess tolerability further, changes in adaptive, repetitive and aberrant behaviors with supplementation were also assessed. We found significant reduction of certain aberrant behaviors, including irritability, lethargy, stereotypy and hyperactivity, with supplementation which is in agreement with improvement in GI symptoms. The absence of a worsening of adaptive behaviors provides evidence that both study supplements were well-tolerated in this group. Reductions in aberrant behaviors may be related to decreases in gastrointestinal discomfort associated with supplementation.
There are several limitations to the current study. The first is the lack of a clear control group receiving a placebo. The study partially addressed this limitation by designing a cross-over study where each participant was his own control. Researchers also recognized the lack of a probiotic only arm that would have been useful in parsing out specific treatment effects. The rationale for lack of such a group was to maintain blinding to treatment that was determined to be of great importance. The volume of Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic administered was such that a matched volume of a probiotic only treatment was not feasible. Therefore, the only way to keep participants blinded was to administer the Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic on both arms of the study. They also recognize the lack of a control cohort of healthy children (both non-ASD and asymptomatic in terms of GI function) may interfere with ability to see time-related changes of the microbiome that occur in a healthy children population that is gender and age matched. The use of a cross-over design, where each participant serves as their own control, partially addresses this flaw as well.
While improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms may also be due to simple growth and maturation, the chronic nature of these symptoms and the report of return of symptoms upon post-study follow up with parents suggest that this may not be the case. The study duration was short (5 weeks on each arm), and study conclusions would not expect to see much growth and maturation occurring in such a limited time. All participants were receiving standard of care treatments for ASD, and there were no changes in these services during the course of the study. While these interventions can also be related to changes in behavior, they are less likely to do so over the short time period of the study.
Children with ASD and gastrointestinal symptoms tend to experience gut immune dysfunction and bacterial dysbiosis. Bovine colostrum product appears to be well-tolerated in these children as its own treatment as well as when combined with the probiotic B. infantis. It is important to note that some of these children experienced improvement in chronic GI symptoms that were not responsive to a number of other common intervention strategies. Conclusions from this study are limited due to the small sample size and high diverse set of symptoms between participants. The limited number of mild side effects coupled with reduced frequency of some GI symptoms in children supplemented with Bovine Colostrum Prebiotic with and without B. infantis support the need for larger trials.
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Bonus: Best Fast Results Recipe
Despite common belief colostrum and whole fat mammal work amazingly well on their own for gut/pain and immune problems as seen here…
This is due to several effects including increasing phagocytosis and greatly enhanced colonization of all human strains of probiotics by supplying their energy needs with lactose while reducing the effects of harmful toxins with the least amount of best tolerated in the majority live strains of probiotics.
*Never introduce too many unknown strains in the immune deficient as without galactose, a necessary and healthy sugar, the immune system can not ‘see’ and is not primed for introduction of the strains common in the healthy mature or adult microbiota. Stick with store bought off the shelf yogurt, kefir or other well tolerated in the majority probiotic strains such as bifido. Never introduce kombucha, fermented foods, or other soil based organisms until immune tolerance is well established and maintained with zero negative issues.
*Galactosemia is a rare condition, such patients should avoid lactose.
However, some people continue to believe maf products work better. Here is a quick recipe to activate the ingredients in bovine colostrum and whole fat mammal milk to achieve incredibly fast pain relief and reduction of gastro symptoms.
- 2 bovine colostrum capsules or 2 tsp. powdered bovine colostrum
- 1 Vie Naturelle’s Advanced Probiotic
- 4-8 oz. whole fat mammal milk (as tolerated, more whole fat mammal milk is best)
Stir. Drink once daily.
*Lactose intolerance can be overcome by slowly increasing amounts of whole fat mammal milk. Whole fat mammal milk also supplies vital chondroitin sulfate in sufficient quantities.
THE PRO IN PROBIOTICS – Utilizing a fantastic blend of 40 BILLION organisms, Vie Naturelle’s Advanced Probiotic brings you a proprietary complex that makes it’s way all the way to the lower intestine ensuring intestinal health, and quality immune support!