Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

2013 Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Leaky Gut Syndrome

  • Kimberly JohnsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1698-3_29


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) comprise a group of diagnoses that are collectively characterized by qualitative impairments in social interaction and communication along with stereotyped and repetitive behaviors and interests. The underlying cause, or etiology, of ASD is poorly understood but may be multifactorial with both genetic and environmental factors playing a role. The “leaky gut syndrome,” as it applies to ASD, is based on the theory that the lining, or mucosa, of the intestinal wall is damaged, allowing the contents of the intestine, such as undigested food, toxins, bacteria, and waste, to “leak through” an abnormally permeable bowel wall. There are many theories involving the leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability specific to ASD. One of these is the leaky gut-opioid excess theory, which posits that incompletely digested proteins derived from the diet are absorbed through a leaky gut, thereby entering the central nervous system and interfering with...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral PediatricsChildren’s Hospital ColoradoAuroraUSA