The incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in global population is systematically rising. The exact cause of both disorders is still unknown. The aetiology of neurodevelopmental disorders is most likely multifactorial. A widely discussed factor that may adversely affect the behaviour of people suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders is the abnormal digestion of gluten, casein and probably other nutrients, resulting from a deficiency of specific digestive enzymes. As a result, certain foods are incorrectly broken down and food particles with a structure similar to opioid (similar to morphine, heroin, etc.) are formed. These are so-called exorphines or food drugs.
In children with ASD/ADHD there is a strong evidence of increased small bowel permeability (commonly referred to as the leaky gut syndrome). This is the pathway where the exorphines from the food penetrates into the circulatory system to be finally transported to the central nervous system (gut-brain axis). Consequently, consumed food negatively affects the behaviour of the child, further disturbing the development of the central nervous system. As it is still unclear what dietary factors (except of gluten and casein) are transformed into opioid-like substances, it is of a high priority to conduct the analysis of latent food allergies. This will help to identify all foods that penetrate the intestinal barrier, and potentially impair the child’s behaviour.
The observational studies indicate that a large group of children diagnosed with ASD/ADHD, manifests a spectacular improvement of the behaviour and well-being after the implementation of a diet based on the results of specialized blood tests for IgG- and IgA-dependent hypersensitivities.
Additionally, severe gut dysbiosis has been observed in people both with ADHD and ASD. The bacterial component is widely discussed both in the aspect of the disorders aetiology and its clinical course. In patients with neurodevelopmental disorders, a great abundance of pathogenic (putrefactive) bacteria, Clostridium (producing neurotoxins) and Candida yeasts was observed. Moreover, in some patients the development of behavioural disorders was subsequent to antibiotic therapy. Intensive therapy with probiotics and prebiotics may significantly improve the functioning of patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. This may be due to the reduction in the number of intestinal toxins producers that have a negative effect on the central nervous system. For this reason, the assessment of a bowel function i.e. evaluating markers of inflammation, intestinal permeability and intestinal microflora and the implementation of targeted probiotic therapy are particularly recommended in the described disorders.
In case of ASD, ADHD and any other neurodevelopmental disorders, the following tests are recommended: