Gut Bacteria and Autism

Well, first my apologies for not writing more on this space! Summer is my busy season at the clinic, but I intend to make up by writing more as we move into winter.

Today, while researching a patient’s issues, I came across a gem of a research paper. It suggested that dysbiosis of the microbiome might be a factor leading to Autism! imagine that… Seriously though, when I wrote this in The Symbiont Factor back in 2014, there wasn’t as much direct research evidence for it-it seemed more to be a logical conclusion given all the ways that the microbiome affects development of the immune system, and how inflammation is tied to developing Autism.

Here is a link to the paper’s abstract: 

Please let me know what you think of this! I have seen, in my clinic, that improving the gut microbiome does lead to some benefit for autistic children. This makes perfect sense from my point of view!

in health,  Richard Matthews DC DACNB

FMT improved gut bacteria of kids with Autism…and improved gut symptoms…and reduced Autism symptoms too!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I wrote about the connection between gut bacterial symbionts and Autism in The Symbiont Factor (you’ve read my book, right? 🙂 and often come across studies confirming this connection.

The most dramatic way to quickly alter a patient’s microbiome is FMT, or Fecal Microbial Transplant-yep, that’s a poop transplant- and that is what this study looked at.

While it wasn’t a huge study, the results were pretty clear cut-improvements both in gut function as well as in autism-related behaviors. Check it out! link is below. Enjoy 😉

The Symbiont Factor on Amazon

My New Favorite protein snack bars!

So, like many of you, I like to snack. Because I swim, bike, do Crossfit, (and even run sometimes!) I try to keep my protein intake high enough to help my body recover and improve from the exercise. If I don’t, then I also don’t improve as much, and I hurt more, which…bugs me. Like many of you, I’m gluten sensitive, so my bars have to be gluten-free. I’ve found that they also have to be made of something that doesn’t melt and become inedible if it gets warm in the car or the gym bag, because that bugs me too! That usually narrows it down to Lara Bars. However, Lara bars only have 4g of protein for 30g of carbs. While the carbs are from dried fruit, which does help recover from exercise, that’s really not a significant amount of protein. Then I discovered Exo bars, which have 10g of protein and as little as 23g of carbs-a much better ratio. Where does the protein come from? we’ll get back to that in a moment LOL. First, let’s cover the “why” of it. Jerky has great protein, but no carbs, and I need some of both to recover from exercise. While I do eat meat, many of you don’t, either for health or ethical reasons. And even if you do eat meat like me, you might still enjoy a better snack bar. So what if your new source of snack protein was produced in a way that resulted in 12 times the protein for the same amount of feed, and 2000 times the protein for the same amount of water, compared to beef? What if the protein production emitted 1% of the greenhouse gases that beef production does? For those of you that aren’t interested in that train of thought, what if it tasted great and had 2.5x the protein of a Lara Bar?
So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to my little friend…the cricket. He’s a great source of protein, you see, and actually pretty tasty. Exo bars uses cricket powder, so nope-you won’t find bugs in your food! It’s a growing trend-see this article:
So, why not give it a try? They make great snacks and generate interesting conversations too. You can order a sample pack using this link:
Be sure to let me know if you like them as much as I do!

Bifido and Lacto gut bacteria protect intestinal barrier function/prevent leaky gut

Many of you reading this are familiar with the concept of “leaky gut”. For the benefit of those that are new to the subject, our intestinal epithelium lining strictly controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream and what does not pass. This function is known as intestinal barrier function, and the columnar cells making up the gut lining include “gates” that are modulated by the molecules Zonulin and Occludin, which alter gate function. When the gut is inflamed and the microbiome is imbalanced, the gut becomes more permeable, allowing the absorption of food molecules (triggering food sensitivity immune reactions) and pieces of bacterial proteins known as LipoPolySaccharides (LPS, which triggers systemic inflammation ).

This most recently published research study found that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus organisms produced secretions that prevent this process quite directly!

What should you do to help grow more Bifido and Lacto?


Meditate and practice Yoga or something similar, or learn Wim Hof’s breathing and autonomic exercises (go ahead, Google it…very interesting individual!)

Fermented foods, such as or coconut Kefir, fermented oatmeal which are earlier in this Blog

Work at sleeping better, preferably 9 hours a night (really)

Prebiotics: Arabinogalactan (available here:


When that chemical you avoid, is food to your good gut bacteria…

chinese-take-outHere’s some quick food for thought: isn’t it funny that we consider MSG a bad thing (due to it being monosodium glutamate, and glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter), and many people have problems with it-yet the two most beneficial gut symbionts we know of actually consume MSG and metabolize it into GABA, which is the brain neurotransmitter that is calming and inhibitory…almost like MSG sensitivity could be a marker for poor levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, isn’t it? And, people sensitive to MSG often have problems with excitotoxicity, where the brain is overstimulated by the MSG. Almost like? yes, not enough inhibitory GABA. hmmm.

Cancer researchers identify need for this…

It appears that the microbiome’s ability to help fight cancer is being recognized. This study identifies weaknesses in current cancer care protocols, pointing out that chemotherapy and antibiotics diminish the microbiome, and that the microbiome increases immune response to cancer cells. So, really, part of cancer care should be building up the microbiome. Just an example of one of those times that the most advanced science proved the need for ancient practices 🙂

BCAA Branched Chain Amino Acids and how they boost Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia

Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAA’s, are a common addition to the diet for bodybuilders and athletes. Here’s a new research study, published this month, that shows BCAA’s help change your gut bacteria. Specifically, the encourage more Bifidobacteria (which boosts immune function but lowers inflammation) and Akkermansia (which helps build lean muscle mass and reduce fat). As there is much research now connecting aging with inflammation, even calling it “inflammaging”, these are both great things. It’s also somewhat of a departure from the thought of using probiotics and prebiotics to modulate the gut bacteria, adding amino acids to our microbiome toolbox!