Primal Defense’s HSOs Aid Autistic Children?
Doctor’s Prescription for Healthy Living Article Reprint – 2004
The following article discusses the connection of the
gastro-intestinal tract to Autism. It also discusses the importance of
probiotics and a specialized diet in supporting gastro-intestinal
health. The doctor’s studies and research in this article provide a
growing body of evidence that dysbiosis (bad bacteria invasion in the
colon) can cause or contribute to Autism by creating toxins and
altering chemicals in brain function.
First steps in science often come from
observation—from patients and their doctors. In the case of children’s
health and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD, of which autism is
part), one of our initial reports on
Primal Defense™ and its benefits in cases of autism came from a
physician whose child suffers from autism.
Two years ago, through her contacts with the
Autistic Society of Great Britain, Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., of
Cambridge, England, learned of Primal Defense from Garden of Life.
Parents attending this autism support group revealed that the
homeostatic soil organisms (known as HSOs™) in Primal Defense had
become an important part of their children’s recovery program. Dr.
Campbell-McBride’s seven-year-old son, Normie, had been affected by
autism from the age of three, and his condition was complicated by
recurrent diarrhea. So, from another mother at the autism society,
this physician acquired the HSO probiotic organisms specifically to
relieve her son’s loose bowels, which they did do. Simultaneously, she
observed that the HSOs also slowly but steadily rid Normie of his
autistic symptoms, shown by his improvement in social interaction, the
development of peer relationships, elimination of his use of
repetitive language, and the stopping of repeat motor mannerisms.
Dr. Campbell-McBride holds a degree in medicine and
a postgraduate degree in neurology. She is currently completing a
second postgraduate degree in human nutrition. In her Cambridge Clinic
she specializes in nutrition for children with learning disabilities,
and adults with digestive and immune system disorders. A mother as
well as a physician, Dr. Campbell-McBride is enthusiastic for Primal
Defense as an autism treatment. “Children with autism do not have
normal gut functioning,” the physician explains. “Often they are
infected with Candida albicans and clostridium, and the metabolites of
these cultures cause havoc with the gastrointestinal tracts of these
“Such infected children fail to develop normally. But if the parents
put their little patients on a dairy-free diet and supplement their
food with Primal Defense, much improvement in their communication
skills occurs,” Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride assures us. “By use of
these probiotics, parents of autistic children will see a change for
the better. Many symptoms of their autism disappear and do not return.
This happened for my son.”
This initial report was so encouraging and we
received so many similar reports from other parents of children with
PDD or autism, they led us to research the annals of science to see
what other health experts were saying with regard to autism and
This is a very promising area of research. The
evidence that probiotics can aid autistic children is newly emerging
but makes sense.
Anyone who has read the
Patient Heal Thyself book, by Jordan Rubin, knows that Jordan has
often said the gut is the key to health, and, once again, we find this
confirmation in newly emerging lines of thought when it comes to
helping autistic children.
Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning?
Autism is a developmental disease characterized by a spectrum of
symptoms ranging from decreased verbal skills and social withdrawal,
to repetitive behavior and violent outbursts. Genetic analysis has
yielded a few potentially interesting genes; however no clear linkage
has been established, note experts. For this reason, it has been
suggested that the etiology of autism may involve multiple causes.
This, in large part, explains why so many different theories abound.
One such theory is that autism is caused or
exacerbated by heavy metal poisoning. Environmentally acquired heavy
metals including mercury, either through some causal contact or
through vaccination, has been postulated as a major culprit. (Mercury
is used as a preservative in some types of vaccinations.) Mercury is
thought to be exerting its neurological effect on the brain. There are
of course other areas of causation that are also critically important.
But autism as a form of mercury poisoning is one of the areas that we
need to take seriously.
The standard treatment parents of autistic children
commonly use has been to apply medically prescribed chelating agents
in an attempt to extricate the mercury.
But the human body has an amazing ability to
detoxify itself when given the proper nutrients. “One missing
component in the treatment is the utilization of the body’s own
detoxification mechanisms,” notes autism expert Mark Brudnak, Ph.D.,
N.D. In several articles in the journal Medical Hypotheses, Dr.
Brudnak combines several potential mechanisms associated with autism
to construct a theory that explains how the condition could develop
and progress, and how probiotics can help.
“Arguably,” he says, “the largest detoxification
component of the body—the endogenous enteric bacteria—are an enormous
reservoir, which can be constantly and safely replenished.”
Piecing Together The Puzzle Of Autism— Linking
the Digestive Tract to the Brain
Next, we went to Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, which has been
pioneering many different diagnostic tests that allow us to determine
whether the gut flora of autistic children are in balance, and whether
their intestinal tract suffers from excess permeability. Could there
be a link between an imbalance of gut flora, intestinal permeability
and autism? (By permeability, we mean that the gut is leaking and is
allowing undigested chemicals to pass directly through into the
bloodstream. Some of these compounds are thought to be toxic and
manifest their toxicity as autism symptoms.)
Childhood vaccinations have been implicated in the
onset of autism, while diet has been implicated in its subsequent
prognosis, Dr. Brudnak points out. A strong gut-brain connection is
also apparent, with poor digestive function often appearing as a
hallmark of the disorder. That takes us back to Normie, the
seven-year-old son of Dr. Campbell-McBride, M.D., whose initial
symptoms were accompanied by severe gastrointestinal distress.
According to the Great Smokies Lab Connection
newsletter [October 10, 2001;14(5)], “Dr. Brudnak speculates on the
following chain of events. In early childhood, sensitivity to a
vaccine, or a reaction to a mycobacterial infection, could disrupt
pivotal molecular mechanisms that regulate how specific genes in the
body switch ‘on’ or ‘off’—what’s known as genetic expression. This may
trigger malfunctioning of the immune and gastrointestinal systems,
particularly in gut-associated lymphoid tissue, which Dr. Brudnak
cites as ‘a major contributor to the pathological manifestations of
“When this happens, proteins are no longer properly
broken down in the digestive tract. Cells in gut tissue die off
prematurely, as the gut lining becomes ‘leaky’ and unable to repair
itself. Compounds in the diet, like casein and gluten, normally kept
at bay, may then permeate into the bloodstream. Their activated
by-products, called exorphins, could act directly on the brain to
trigger opioid-like effects associated with autistic symptoms.
“Such a scenario could explain why restoring healthy
gut barrier function in autistic children is a treatment approach that
‘has met with a degree of success,’ Dr. Brudnak observes.
Enzyme therapy (which improves the gut’s ability to break down
probiotics (supplementation with beneficial gut microbes that help
repair the intestinal lining) have both produced positive clinical
results in autistic children, he points out.
“In most cases symptoms of autism begin in early
infancy. However, a subset of children appears to develop normally
until a clear deterioration is observed. Many parents of children with
‘regressive’-onset autism have noted their children were given
antibiotics immediately prior to the regression and that such use was
followed by chronic diarrhea. This leads to researchers to speculate
that, in a subgroup of children, ‘disruption of indigenous gut flora
might promote colonization by one or more neurotoxin-producing
bacteria, contributing, at least in part, to their autistic
This line of thought stimulated recent research at
the Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Rush
Children’s Hospital, Rush Medical College, Chicago. To help test this
hypothesis, researchers took 11 children with regressive-onset autism
for an intervention trial using a minimally absorbed oral antibiotic.
Short-term improvement was noted using multiple pre- and post-therapy
evaluations. “These results indicate that a possible gut flora-brain
connection warrants further investigation” as a “meaningful prevention
or treatment in a subset of children with autism.”
Now let’s take this even further and look at what
happens to the gastrointestinal health of children with chronic
Chronic Immune Reactivity May Damage Intestine
“The challenge that many chronic disorders pose to modern medicine
is that they often emerge as an interrelated tapestry of imbalances
within the human body, rather than in response to a single, isolated
cause,” notes the newsletter. “And autism may be a prime example of
Many children with autism have chronic digestive
problems. In fact, gastrointestinal symptoms in autistic children
often first appear in conjunction with initial changes in emotion and
behavior during the onset of autism, leading researchers to suspect a
A recent study in the American Journal of
Gastroenterology, lends strong support to this possible gut-brain
link. Researchers performed a colonoscopy on 60 children with autistic
spectrum disorders who also had symptoms such as stomach pain,
constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. The autistic children had much
greater evidence of intestinal lesions than healthy children or
non-autistic children with similar digestive problems.
Over 90 percent of autistic children showed clinical
evidence of chronic enterocolitis, such as lymphoid nodular
hyperplasia, a six fold greater rate than found in the non-autistic
children with inflammatory bowel disease.
“The pathology seems to reflect a subtle new variant
of inflammatory bowel disease…” the researchers concluded, a type of
Enterocolitis is an inflammation of the mucous
membrane of the intestine. Researchers are not sure what could be
causing the condition in children with autism, although it usually
arises from chronic immune reactivity.
In autism, such immune responses might be triggered
by substances in the diet (e.g., opioid peptides), viral agents (such
as measles virus), mercury, or other causes, the researchers
The opioid peptide theory was first presented to the medical world in
1979. Excess peptides (breakdown products of dietary proteins) act as
opioids affecting neurotransmitters within the central nervous system.
In the normal course of events, proteins are
digested in stages by enzymes; firstly to peptides (the intermediate
compounds), then to smaller amino acid components, which are absorbed
into blood capillaries in the gut mucosa. The larger peptides are
generally unable to cross this membrane barrier, but when they do,
they can act as opioids affecting neurotransmitters in the brain
causing abnormal behaviors and/or activity. This theory suggests a
higher percentage of these opioid peptides reach the brain in autistic
These incompletely digested peptides—known as
exorphins, casomorphins, and gluteomorphins—usually come from milk
proteins such as casein or from wheat (gluten) and are structurally
similar to morphine. In experimental studies, they have been shown to
exert a morphine-like neurological influence. The formation of excess
peptides in the gut is possibly associated with sub-optimal enzyme
activity or an insufficient supply of enzymes required to breakdown
these peptides. This may be genetic in origin, or caused by other
factors, such as enzyme inactivity secondary to nutritional
deficiency, or by altered gut microflora. So if we repair the
imbalance of beneficial bacterial organisms in the gut and the gut
lining, which we can with soil organisms, we have a chance to help
some of our children with autism.
Indeed, a report from a dietician at the Royal Free
Hospital, London and published in the Journal of Family Health Care
recently discussed the link between autism and abnormal gut flora “and
the use of probiotics and prebiotics in improving the integrity of the
“The gut-brain connection is now recognized as a
basic tenet of physiology and medicine,” writes Eammonn M. M. Quigley,
MD, in a related editorial, “and examples of gastrointestinal
involvement in a variety of neurological diseases are extensive.”
Andrew Wakefield and colleagues have raised the
possibility that a subset of children with pervasive developmental
disorder (which includes autism), particularly those with a history of
developmental regression and chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, have a
disregulated immune response to measles antigen from the
measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. This has been suggested as a
possible precipitating factor associated with intestinal
Did you know—What is PDD?
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) is an umbrella term used to
describe a group of disorders, including autistic disorder, which
involve delayed development of communication and social-interaction
skills and particular behavioral abnormalities. Although both genetic
factors and environmental insults have been implicated in the
pathogenesis of PDD, the underlying causes remain poorly understood.
Primal Defense’s Role
Besides aiding repair of the gut lining and improving digestion,
there is both anecdotal and clinical evidence that “soil-based
organisms” can help with detoxification, notes a recent report
from Clinical Pearls, one of the nation’s premiere nutrition
newsletters. “Aerobic organisms have been shown to readily detoxify
mercury. . . . According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 90% of
methyl-mercury is excreted through bile in the feces. . . . With large
numbers of probiotic bacteria, mercury can effectively be driven
toward expulsion. The administration of probiotics would prevent any
recycling of toxic mercury. Mercury can cause an autoimmune response.”
Obviously, we don’t know all the answers yet, but
use of homeostatic soil organisms, what we at Garden of Life term HSOs,
appears to be a promising lead in helping children with this very
difficult-to-treat condition. If your child’s autism is accompanied by
gastrointestinal distress, their potential to help might be further
Protocol for PDDs and the Autistic Child
Follow the diet prescribed in Chapters 8 to 10 of Patient Heal
Thyself, as diligently as possible. Many children have poor health or
even illness due to poor nutrition and improper detoxification. The
improvement in diet and the addition of key nutrients can keep
children healthy and may even aid in the reversal of many childhood
health problems, especially as we find that these disorders are
exacerbated or, in some cases, caused by gastrointestinal imbalances.
By following the
Maker’s Diet, I believe each child will have excellent health,
improved learning ability and the potential grow into a healthy adult.
It is also recommended to read
Restoring Your Digestive Health by Dr. Jordan Rubin & Dr. Joseph
Brasco to understand gastrointestinal health and therapeutic diet
These therapeutic foods can help improve the health of the
gastrointestinal tract and other related bodily systems:
Cultured goat’s milk dairy products: Consume eight to
thirty-two ounces of the highest quality cultured dairy products
from goat’s milk.
- Grass-fed red meat: Red meat from grass-fed
cattle, buffalo, and lamb is very healthy and can be eaten a few
times per week. This meat is a great source of protein, minerals,
vitamin B12, vitamins A and D, omega-3 fats, and conjugated linoleic
- Omega-3 eggs: Consume as many as one or
two eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids each day. These eggs contain
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamins E and B12, and antioxidants
Extra Virgin Coconut oil: This oil is perhaps the healthiest
of the widely available oils. I recommend cooking almost exclusively
with coconut oil. Consume as much as two tablespoons per day of the
oil in cooking, smoothies, or right off the spoon. It contains large
amounts of lauric acid, a potent antimicrobial and one of the chief
fatty acids in breast milk.
- Ocean-caught fish: This type of fish is
perhaps the healthiest of all protein sources. Wild (Alaskan)
salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and albacore tuna are high in
the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaneoic acid and DHA. Ocean-caught
fish can be consumed every day to enhance digestive and immune
Icelandic Cod liver oil: Take ½ to one teaspoon of plain or
flavored cod liver oil each day. The amount consumed should be based
upon the amount of sunlight you receive. People in colder climates
generally need to consume larger amounts. Cod liver oil is a
fantastic source of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, as well as
vitamins A and D. This is also available in caps and called
Vegetable juice: Consume vegetable juices that are low in
carbohydrates, such as celery and green juices mixed with a small
amount of higher carbohydrate veggies such as carrot or beet. Mix in
some form of healthy fat with each glass of the juice. One to three
teaspoons of cultured goat’s milk, coconut oil, canned or fresh
coconut milk and cream, or flaxseed oil enhances absorption of
minerals and prevents spikes in blood sugar.
- Fermented vegetables: Consume a few
tablespoons of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut with each
meal to aid in digestion. Fermented vegetables are an excellent
source of naturally occurring probiotics and enzymes.
- Stocks: It is a great idea to consume
stocks on a regular basis. Stocks made from the bones of chicken,
fish, lamb and beef contain minerals, gelatin, cartilage, collagen,
and electrolytes from the vegetables. Stocks are an excellent source
of proteins, especially collagen. They help to heal the gut lining
and reduce inflammation.
The following health supplements are recommended:
Primal Defense: Follow suggested use on bottle. Primal Defense is
best taken first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. Primal
Defense may be taken with other nutritional supplements, but it is
recommended be taken one hour apart from medications. If you
experience symptoms of detoxification (i.e., increased elimination,
loose stools, constipation, excess gas, flu-like symptoms or fever),
reduce the dosage and slowly increase to the recommended amount on
bottle. Primal Defense is available in powder, which is easier for
children’s serving sizes or is also available in caps.
Note: Children’s Serving Sizes: For Children,
it is best to divide their body weight by 150 pounds (average adult
weight) and give them that percentage of the suggested use on bottle.
For example: If the child weighs 50 pounds, it is suggested to start
the child with 1/3 of the suggested (adult) serving size.
OmegaZyme™: Follow suggested use on bottle. OmegaZyme could well
be critical to aiding the digestive secretions of the autistic child
and helping to completely digest and breakdown various potentially
toxic proteins and peptides, thus alleviating one potential cause or
contributor to autistic symptoms. See Children’s Serving Sizes above.
OmegaZyme is also available in powder as well as caps.
Fruits of Life™: Use one to two tablespoons as part of a healthy
diet. Fruits of Life is an excellent source of antioxidants and
minerals and may be taken with water, juice, yogurt, mixed in cereal
or smoothies, or even eaten right off the spoon.
Perfect Food™: Use one to three teaspoons once daily with eight
ounces water or fruit or vegetable juice (works very well with apple
juice or in a smoothie, see below).
Super Seed™: Consume one to three teaspoons twice per day, morning
and evening, mixed in water or juice to ensure proper fiber intake.
Super Seed Fiber can provide essential nutrients and help remove
toxins from the colon.
SuperCritical Omega 7 by New Chapter – Is very helpful for
restoring the intestinal gut lining. Use as directed on bottle.
CaProtein by Mt. Capra is a great source of pre-digested goat
protein powder and contains probiotics. This can be used in a smoothie
or mixed with liquids. See smoothie recipe that combines the Perfect
Food, Fruits of Life and Goat Protein. It is great tasting and great
Restoring Your Digestive Health book, by Dr. Jordan Rubin & Dr.
Joseph Brasco This breakthrough book details Rubin's remarkable and
successful battle with Crohn's disease by using his new, self-designed
Guts and Glory Program, a revolutionary new diet and health regime. In
this easy-to-understand manual, Jordan Rubin and Joseph Brasco give
not only a guided tour of the major reasons why our guts revolt
against our modern ways of living, but step-by-step directions on how
to reverse gastrointestinal complaints.
For children who are rapidly developing a strong immune system,
avoiding contact with chlorinated water is of the utmost importance.
That includes bathing water and drinking water. Chlorine kills
bacteria, friendly and unfriendly, in the intestines. It can be
absorbed through the skin. I recommend installing a shower filter to
remove chlorine. Avoid swimming in chlorinated water as well.
For More Information on recommended products and
books, please contact Christine’s Cleanse Corner, Inc. by visiting the
www.TransformYourHealth.com or call their office at 858-673-0224.
How to Contact Great Smokies Diagnostic
This pivotal role of gut function in physical and emotional health
is a central tenet of functional medicine and integrative treatment.
For this reason, Great Smokies provides a variety of gastrointestinal
assessments to help practitioners to detect and treat gut dysfunctions
that may underlie or contribute to symptomatology in a diverse range
of illnesses, including PDD and autism. Their website is www.gsdl.com
or call (800) 522-4762.
Note: The content provided in this article is intended
for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to
take the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to
consult with your medical health care provider regarding any health
concern or health-related condition you may have.
Brudnak, M.A. “Probiotics as an adjuvant to
detoxification protocols.” Med Hypotheses, 2002;58(5):382-385.
Sandler, R.H., et al. “Short-term benefit from oral vancomycin
treatment of regressive-onset autism.” J Child Neurol,
Wakefield, A.J., et al. “Enterocolitis in children with developmental
disorders.” Am J Gastroenterol, 2000;95(9):2285-2295.
Pinesap, J. “A neurochemical theory of autism.” Trends in
Reichelt, K.L., et al. “Gluten, milk proteins and autism: dietary
intervention effects on behavior and peptide secretion.” Journal of
Applied Nutrition, 1990;42(1);1-11.
Reichelt, K.L., et al. “Childhood autism: a complex disorder.” Biol.
Garvey, J. “Diet in autism and associated disorders.” J Fam Health
Quigley, E.M.M. & Hurley, D. “Autism and the gastrointestinal tract
[editorial].” Am J Gastroenterol, 2000;95(9):2154-2156.
Note: Statements in this article have not been
evaluated by the FDA. This information is for informational and
educational purposes only. We make no medical or curative claims. If
you are dealing with any health condition, it is advised to see your
health care practitioner.