According to a new study conducted by the University of Central Florida (published in Scientific Reports on June 19), there seems to be a connection between processed food and autism. Processed food consists of high levels of Propionic Acid (PPA). PPA is used to increase the shelf life of packaged foods and inhibit mold in commercially processed food such as cheese and bread. The bad news is that, looks like PPA makes a negative impact on fetal brains by reducing the development of neurons.
Although more research needs to be conducted, this is an important observation in order to understand the consequences of poor nutrition.
Dr. Naser specializes in gastroenterology research at the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, and he is responsible for conducting the said study after the reports proved that autistic children suffer from irritable bowel syndrome also known as “IBS”. He wanted to find out the linkage between the gut and the brain. He started examining how the gut bacteria differed between people having autism and people that aren’t affected by autism.
“Studies have shown a higher level of PPA in stool samples from children with autism and the gut microbiome in autistic children is different. I wanted to know what the underlying cause was,” Dr. Naser said.
According to Dr. Naser and Latifa Abdelli, their 18-month study self-funded by UCF, is the first to discover the molecular link between elevated levels of PPA and disturbed neural circuitry and autism.
(Reference: Medical News Today, All4Women, Big Think, Medical Xpress, Science Daily)