Autism thrush involves a theory that the compromised immune system of a person with autistic disorders can lead to an overgrowth of a fungus that is similar to yeast. The overgrowth is believed to have an adverse effect on the brain. In order to understand the theory, it is necessary to define thrush clearly, as well as terms related to yeast-type infections.
What Is Thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection that is present in the mouth and on the tongue. The condition is commonly found in infants, and some individuals may experience thrush after taking antibiotics. The condition is more prevalent in people with compromised immune systems, as in cases of AIDS and in the elderly.
Symptoms of thrush include white spots on the tongue and in the mouth that resemble milk curds, causing the area to become irritated and sore. Rubbing the affected area may lead to bleeding. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Burning sensation in throat or mouth
- Unusual taste in the mouth
The primary cause of thrush is candida albicans, yeast that is present in mucous membranes in normal conditions. When the yeast is not kept under control by the immune system, it can grow out of control, affecting and irritating the surrounding tissues. Bacteria in the mouth are usually effective in helping to keep candida albicans under control.
Candida albicans are not usually harmful in their normal state. If a person’s immune system is working properly, the presence of yeast in membranes is perfectly natural. However, if the balance is disrupted, the yeast can spread causing infections including thrush.
Some experts believe that the overgrowth of candida albicans is believed to be connected to brain functioning differences in people with pervasive developmental disorders. According to theory, autism thrush may interfere with mental processing because the yeast releases toxins that affect the body in ways that are relevant to autistic disorder.
Immune system problems
Disruption in brain functioning
Some assert that canadidiasis can lead to mental health problems including:
These claims have not been clinically proven but present data suggests that candida may play a role in some cases of autistic disorders. This is not to suggest that autism thrush is the cause of pervasive developmental disorders. The researchers suggest that a small portion of individuals diagnosed on the spectrum may have severe yeast infections.
Treating Autism Candida
The theory that autism thrush exists has significant implications for the alternative treatments for autism that include dietary interventions and medication. However, it is important to note that theorists that support the autism thrush connection believe that a relatively small number of people with autistic disorders have candidiasis.
Casein and Gluten-Free Diet
A popular approach to as an alternative treatment for autism spectrum disorders is to adopt a glutein and casein-free diet. This approach involves preventing yeast overgrowth by limiting the intake of foods that may aggravate the condition. The diet often coincides with the leaky gut syndrome theory that asserts toxins leak through the individual’s digestive tract, eventually reaching the brain.
Candida thrives on foods that are rich in processed carbohydrates and sugar. Removing the elements that encourage the yeast to grow may have alleviate the symptoms of autism. Many families report a signficiant improvement in their children after adopting a GFCF diet, among the most famous is Jenny McCarthy.
Other Treatments for Thrush in Autism
Other treatments for autism thrush can benefit some patients. Many physicians remain skeptical about the connection between yeast infection and candida, which may make it difficult to receive support for these approaches. However, it is still advisable to discuss the options with a doctor.
The Herxheimer Reaction
Individuals who have overgrowths of candida albicans may become ill as the yeast infection is treated. The removal process requires adjustment and the yeast dying off and leaving the body. Byproducts circulate through the body until it is finally excreted. Some assert that an initial regression after treatment for autism thrush is introduced is a good sign for recovery.