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A recently published pilot study found that supplementation of soluble guar fiber (Sunfiber from Taiyo International) helped alleviate constipation and the resulting irritability in children with autism.
A recently published pilot study found that supplementation of soluble guar fiber (Sunfiber from Taiyo International; Minneapolis, MN) helped alleviate constipation and the resulting irritability in children with autism. As researchers explain in the study, it is common for children with autism spectrum disorder to have gut dysbiosis. This can lead to chronic inflammation, and constipation, which causes discomfort to the children and exacerbates irritability. In the study, researchers gave 13 children between 4 and 9 years of age diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder 6 grams/day of guar fiber for two months.
Results showed that supplementation improved the frequency of defecation. For example, nine children were only observed defecating once a week prior to supplementation, and twice a week for the remaining four. A week prior to the end of supplementation, however, defecation increased to four time a week in all children. Significant differences in irritability were also observed in the children compared to pre-supplementation levels, based on Aberrant Behavior Checklist, Japanese Version (ABC-J) irritability subscale.
Supplementation also shifted the composition of gut microbiota. For example, Blautia and Acidaminococcus increased significantly and genera Streptococcus, Odoribacter and Eubacterium (belonging to the family Erysipelotrichaceae) decreased significantly. Inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha also saw a significant decrease following supplementation with the soluble guar fiber.
“In summary, in the present work it was shown that partially hydrolyzed guar gum supplementation to diets of constipated ASD children helped improve gut dysbiosis and constipation symptoms, which in turn helped attenuate the level of serum inflammation cytokines and behavioral irritability,” conclude the researchers. “Although the decreasing rate of the ABC-J irritability subscales may seem to be lower than that usually achieved by typical antipsychotics such as aripiprazole, but it should be stressed that this decrease was achieved not by medication, but merely by supplementation of prebiotics with no food intervention.”
Larger-scale studies will be needed to confirm these findings.
1. Inoue R et al. “Dietary supplementation with partially hydrolyzed guar gum helps improve constipation and gut dysbiosis symptoms and behavioral irritability in children with autism spectrum disorder.” Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition, Published online ahead of print March 7, 2019