Ask An Autism Mom EP. 65

Gut Health And Autism

Optimal Gut health is having thousands of different species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, all working in harmony with each other to digest our food...

What we know about our kids with autism is that their microbiome is different than kids that don't have autism. So they don't have quite the same variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, that kids without autism have.

Watch Full Reply

Episode Highlights:

Lisa A. Brone, MD has been in medical practice for 23 years, most recently working for Paladina Health, a direct access concierge medicine company and prior to that as owner of her own solo practice. She has done extensive personal study in nutrition and integrative medicine. She has always been interested in preventive medicine. As more and more family members developed cancer, she was inspired to change her medical path and devote her time to prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases; hence, the birth of Optimal Health and Wellness in 2018. Dr Lisa Brone is with us this week to discuss all things gut health related.

  • What is gut health?
  • What is leaky gut?
  • What function does the gut do?
  • How can we improve gut health?
  • Are gut issues common in autistic children?
  • How do we use gut health to optimize the brain?
  • Can you tell us about what you do?


Hi everyone. Welcome back to ask an autism mom live with Jenn Eggert of You can join her every Monday, live on Facebook to learn tips, meet other parents and share your insights. She will tackle any topic from the dreaded meltdown to the basics of how autism can affect a family.

Jenn Eggert: Hi everyone. I'm Jenn Eggert of and you can join me every Monday at 1:00 PM eastern to meet other parents, share your tips and learn more tips and insights on today's show. I am actually talking with Dr. Lisa Brone about the importance of gut health. I know many of you are suffering from issues regarding gut health, so I hope that this helps. I want to welcome those of you watching live on Facebook or listening to the podcast on iTunes or youtube. If you want to get alerts to watch a live or ask questions live, please type "5" in the comments section now or go to Now, I know we have nobody on right now, but I know it is also in Canada, a holiday and here people are busy, but I know we will have people come and as we all know a lot of you watch later on and that's fine. If you do watch later on and you have questions later on, just give them to me in the group and I will get them to Dr Lisa and we will see if we can answer your questions if you were not able to make it live. So welcome Jason. So far and I know Jason has actually, even though he is the founder of LakiKid, he has been having some questions regarding gut health for his own child. So this is exciting for him. So if you're just joining us, you're listening to ask an mom and we're discussing gut health and how we can help. I can't wait to dig into this topic with you, but first huge shout out to our sponsors. We all know our sponsors are LakiKid and I'm so excited about our new write and chill lap pad you simply use a water pen and draw on the thing and it shows a variety of colors.

Jenn Eggert: You can use this for practicing the A B C's. You can use it for anything. It really works great for traveling. I love this thing because it folds up packs in your suitcase. The pen goes in the little pouch. It all travels well. This is actually one of the items that will be available in our travel kit. I will do a video in the next couple of days showing everyone our travel kit and what we offer. So welcome Maria. Maria, we will get into exactly what gut health is in two seconds. So first I want to welcome Dr Lisa for coming to the show. Thank you so much for being with us.

Lisa Brone: Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure.

Jenn Eggert: Now, Dr Lisa Brone, MD has been in the medical practice for 23 years. Most recently working for Pella Dina health, a direct access concierge medicine company and prior to that as the owner for own solo practice, she has done extensive personal study in nutrition and integrative medicine. She has always been interested in preventative medicine. As more and more family members developed cancer, she was inspired to change her medical path and devote her time to prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. Hence the birth of optimal health and wellness. In 2018 she received a doctorate in medicine from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Dr Lisa is or Dr. Brone is a board certified in family medicine and fellowship trained in sports medicine. She has served as a team physician for both Virginia Tech University and they used to University of Colorado Boulder, while working at Virginia Tech University. Dr Brone was named faculty woman of the year. She volunteered on two medical brigade trips with the Timmy Foundation accompanying pre-medical students from the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Kentucky to Quinto and the Amazon of Ecuador respectively. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two Labradors hanging out with her friends, hiking, yoga in nature photography. So please. So our first question that actually popped up on our screen as a guest question is actually my first question for you. What exactly is gut health

Lisa Brone: That's a great question. And I'd like to address this from two different perspectives. The first perspective is just an overall perspective, and that's taking a look at things from the big picture. So the big picture is, you know, it's somebody that seamlessly eats, digest their food, can take medications or other substances in through their mouth and not have any problems with reflux, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain. It's a person who's got functions normally without them thinking about it. It just works like nature intended it to work. So that is an optimal situation on the microscopic level. Optimal Gut health is having thousands of different species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, all working in harmony with each other to digest our food, metabolize drugs, metabolize our hormones, break down drugs, break down hurmones and create an environment where we are thriving. So we can look at it on two different levels on a, on a big level, and on a small level
Jenn Eggert: I often hear the term leaky gut, especially in regards to autism. Can you explain what that means

Lisa Brone: Absolutely. So in order to understand leaky gut, we have to understand what a normal gut is. So the normal gut lining is a single cell thick all the way throughout the gut and the cells are tightly held to each other, so one cell against another cell. The reason for that is because only very small particles, very small molecules are allowed to go pass the lining of the gut onto the other side where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. And on the other side is the immune system. The bacteria and other microbes in the gut actually train the immune system. So it's really important that the lining of the gut is tightly held together because the immune system is on the other side. What a leaky gut is, is when these cell linings, single cell linings are not held tightly together, but there's holes in the cell lining and large molecules can get through and we don't want large molecules to get through.

Lisa Brone: We only want the smaller ones to get through. So when these large particles, large molecules get through on the other side is the immune system. The immune system sees these large molecules as basically foreign. They see them as invaders and end up attacking these molecules. So what causes leaky gut Well, there are a lot of things that can cause leaky gut. Gluten, dairy, Tylenol, anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen, neproxin, which is a leaf alcohol. I'm not sure if I said dairy. Glyphosate, that's the principle ingredient in roundup. When you don't buy organic products, you may be getting round up in their products that are not GMO certified, that can contain roundup. If you have dysbiosis, which means an imbalance or lack of harmony in your gut bacteria or an overgrowth of bacteria in your gut, that can cause leaky gut. So there's a lot of different things that can cause a leaky gut. So basically it's like a hole. It's like microscopic holes in the lining of your gut that allow particles to go through that are not supposed to go through, that can trigger an immune response.

Jenn Eggert: Now, what exactly does the gut do on a functional level?

Dr.Lisa Brone: great question. The gut does a lot of different things. The liver is involved in detoxifying drugs and detoxifying other things that come into the body. The microbiome, which is the bacteria, the viruses, the fungi, the protozoa microbiome is also involved in detoxifying medications, drugs, the food that comes in and is carried with pesticides and that sort of thing. They're also involved in sometimes activating medications. Sometimes our medications come in in a form that we can't use until the microbiome activate the medication. Our gut is involved in breaking down our food into a form that we can utilize. Some of our vitamins are actually created in our gut bacteria, actually make vitamin K. So there's a lot of different functions of the gut, fiber in the gut. The bacteria break that down, to decrease our risk of colon cancer. So the average American gets about 12 grams of fiber and the recommendation is to get 25 grams of fiber. And the reason for that is that the gut lining actually needs that to decrease the risk of formation of polyps.

Jenn Eggert: So this is not something that you and I have discussed as a question before, but I just want to make it clear to people, if I were to have a high risk of colon cancer, you would recommend me to up my fiber intake greatly.

Lisa Bone: Yes, absolutely. Probably would probably make that even greater than 25 grams. Absolutely.

Jenn Eggert: I want to make that clear because cancer nowadays folks, everyone knows it is coming at us from all directions and if simply eating a couple more vegetables a day is going to reduce my risk, you know that as an adult, that's the smartest thing. I know it's hard for our children, but maybe making an impactful statement, and this is something we've been trying to get Ryley more, is just keep trying with those foods, make them fun. The other day. And again this morning when Dr Brone and I were speaking, we talked about veggies, the color of the rainbow. So I started to think maybe this summer I'll do a fruit platter from one day and make it a rainbow and let her experiment with new vegetables, tomatoes, Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers in different colors. So not only is she getting the rainbow, but she's also getting more fiber and her body will work better because I can tell you my child definitely suffers from leaky gut because of what she eats.

Jenn Eggert: Now how can we improve our get help?

Lisa Brone: Yeah. Another great question. So ourselves all over our body require a lot of water to function well. So half of your body weight in water in ounces of water per day is what is recommended. So for instance, if you have a hundred pound child or a person that would be 50 ounces of water per day. That is what is recommended. I know it's not easy to get that volume of water in. That could be also in, if you have a liquid day soup that can count if you have an herbal tea that can count as well. So it doesn't have to be, you know, all just water and I like to recommend that people can flavor their water as well to make it more palatable. If you wanted to add lemon slices, lime slices, orange slices whatever you want to do to make it more palatable. Absolutely. Just not the sugar based drinks so much. And just more of the plain water.

Jenn Eggert: I guys I really enjoy. I don't have it with me. I wish I did the water bottle that comes with the sleeve in the middle and you put your flavoring your fruit in there, mixed berries and strawberries. It is amazing. I've actually got Ryley to start drinking it because she loves strawberries so much that by saying, oh, this water isn't water, it's strawberry. It's magical. Strawberry water is what we call it. And whatever you have to do folks to change it. Like I said, make a rainbow out of their meal, give them strawberry magic water. We're dealing with young children. And even if your child is older, they may have the ability of a young child. So you have to think not on your level, but on their level of making it more enjoyable.

Lisa Brone: And I love to encourage kids to play with their food, especially when it comes to the fruits and vegetables, you know, blueberries fit perfectly inside of a raspberry. I mean, that's a fun thing for kids to play with. You can cut vegetables into shapes, you can by shape cutters and you can peel cucumbers and cut them into star shapes or round shapes or heart shapes or whatever. So it's fun to allow them to play with their food. They get more excited about eating something that they have played with a little bit. So just experimenting with things that way as well. You might get them to eat that a little bit more, or putting fruits and vegetables into a smoothie or into a juice is another good way. I like to start out with just a small amount of vegetables in the juice or the smoothie at first. And then as they tolerate it, as they drink it, then you can start adding a little bit more, but make it more fruit based initially and then make it a little bit more vegetable based as they have, started to start it, to drink it. But that's another way to get in vegetables.

Jenn Eggert: Now. Most of you know that have been watching me for a while. Know Ryley has a huge version two vegetables. She will actually tell you that they will hurt you, but she doesn't know is that when I make spaghetti sauce, especially during the summer where I can get these fresh vegetables. She doesn't know that when she goes to bed, I seem vegetables and then I puree them and I freeze them. So when I make, I just got caught. Someone just caught me. She was overhearing. But when I make sauces, I add these purees of high fiber, more nutritional vegetables and I am now being told from the corner of my computer screen, no, no, no. Mommy, we don't do that.

Lisa Brone: That's awesome.

Jenn Eggert: Another thing that my kids love that is funny, if you're going to do cake my kids and they had no idea for years, Zucchini cake. And they really actually liked it. My picky husband even ate Zucchini cake until you realize there was a Zucchini. So like Dr. Brone said, really play with your food, enjoy it. And we all know the techniques that I have been talking to most of you about is the letting them touch it and then move it to their lips, letting them kiss it, letting them lick the food and then eventually moved to putting it in their mouth and then eventually moved to chewing and then eventually moved to swallowing the food.

Jenn Eggert: But making it fun makes it much more easier to do those lick touch kiss actions. Now Dr. Brone, what gut issues are common in autistic children?

Lisa Brone: Yeah, so there's definitely a few ones that are common. Reflux, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. Those are the common ones. And I think that, what we know about our kids with autism is that their microbiome is different than kids that don't have autism. So they don't have quite the same variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, that kids with without autism have. And part of that might be the variety of foods that they're eating. So we know that when you eat the colors of the rainbow, you have a wider variety in your microbiome. So it can be a chicken and an egg thing. You know what came first. But we know that kids with autism in general tend to eat more highly processed foods and they tend to eat foods that have more sugars in them. Sugars can poison the microbiome. So the more sugar and the more processed foods that you're eating, the less variety that you're going to have in your microbiome. So when you can try to limit sugar, try to limit process food, you're going to have a nicer variety of bacteria, viruses, and so on. Soit's a chicken and an egg thing. So just trying to improve the gut microbiome is probably going to help with those. With those gut issues. I do understand that there can be some textural issues with kids that have autism and they can be picky eaters and that that's something that you have to, that you have to work around. But as much as possible trying to limit the processed foods and the sugars can be helpful with with those issues. And with the constipation the water can be helpful as well. So fiber and water can be helpful. Yeah.

Jenn Eggert: Now how can we use gut health to optimize the brain?

Lisa Brone: Great question. So there is a direct link between the gut and the brain. Okay. So we now call the gut, the second brain. Okay.
And it's because of the microbiome and there's a direct communication between the gut and the brain. And it's called the gut brain access. There's communication through the Vegas nerve and there's communication directly through chemical messengers. And the health of your microbiome is so important to that communication process. So if you have a healthy microbiome, you're going to have healthy brain. If your gut is on fire and it's inflamed and you have a leaky gut, your brain is not gonna be optimized either. So for a child that has autism or add or ADHD and is struggling with a leaky gut they're going to have a real struggle in terms of having an optimized brain. So there are some things that can be done for helping with, with the gut. Vegetables and fruit that contain Queer Sutton are good sources for helping to heal the gut. Tumeric. So the main ingredient in that is curcumin human, that's another thing that can help heal a leaky gut. Garlic and onions are wonderful for healing. A leaky gut. Horseradish is great. Zinc and vitamin A are also a wonderful for healing, a leaky gut. So anything that you can get in along those lines. Fish oil is another one. That's really good for leak healing, a leaky gut, Oregano, glutamine, vitamin A, all of those are really helpful. So basically if the gut is on fire and inflamed, the brain is also inflamed.

Jenn Eggert: That's great. Now I have the question about, well let's talk about what you do on the sidelines. I know you do so much, but you also work with Amare.

Lisa Brone:Yes, yes.

Jenn Eggert: Talk about Amare and what they have.
Lisa Brone: Yes, absolutely. So Amare is a mental wellness company. I've just been working with them a few months and I'm working with them within the context of my lifestyle, medicine, business, optimal health and wellness. But I came into a Amare because it really aligns with this business that I'm doing. So Amare produces supplements that are sustainably obtained and they have a specific supplements for children that I love. One of their supplements that I think is great and has actually had great testimonials from parents with children who have autism is this kids fundamentals. And the beautiful thing about this product is that it contains a prebiotic, which is the food that feeds the bacteria. It contains probiotics, which are the actual bacteria themselves. And it also contains a supplement that is part of the gut brain axis, so works along those lines. So it contains everything that is needed to activate the microbiome and the gut brain access. And the other supplement that they make that's great for kids is this a kids bite, a GBX, which is the kid's multivitamin. And I'm the chief science officer for Amare has just done a, a wonderful job at putting these supplements together. They're gluten free and the kids are really doing great. If you have any questions about the supplements, I'm happy to take any questions on them. But and then my business, optimal health and wellness, I do lifestyle medicine coaching. So I work with people on nutrition, exercise, stress management weight loss if they're looking for it and sleep yeah, those sorts of things. So I'm working with people on improving chronic, chronic diseases. So if somebody has diabetes, high blood pressure cancer or wanting to prevent cancer autoimmune diseases that sort of thing.

Jenn Eggert: Now I am going to turn it over to our question portion of the show. If you have any questions for Dr. Brone, please let us know. I am going to have Miguel. Miguel, if you can please post the Amare website for us in the comments. We would appreciate it. Jason, I know you're looking for the, where you can find the products. We will get you the link for that. Don't worry if I don't get you the link for that Jason messaged me or posts, I know you're in, I'm pretty sure you're in group post and group or messaged me, Jason, but there is a website right above your comment so that you can check out the products and see what they really are now at least. So when you held up the products it kind of got a little bit pixelated. Can we try one more time just to see them if we can get a clear view on them

Jenn Eggert: Okay. Jason is Lisa maybe a little more to the center cause my little. There we go, Jason, that is the probiotics and prebiotics mixed together. And can we, Lisa, can we do that again for the other item that we were discussing

Jenn Eggert: and these are the vitamins. Jason, I hope you can now see the labels so that you know what to look for and you have the website so that you can go and check it out. Now I'm going to go back a little bit to questions. Jason, I know you, you came in late. You're never late so I know something was going on but I appreciate you coming and like I said, if the link doesn't give you enough information, message me. I will get in contact with Dr. Brone and we will work with you because we will help you get the information you need. Remember, we are only as empowered as we have the information to make us empowered. Now, Chris, this show I specifically did for Chris. Chris is in the process of testing. Her son's got health. This is the one that I was speaking with you, Dr. Brone earlier about that I wanted to answer. She couldn't come on. I wanted some questions answered for her. Now they're looking at gut health for Cameron is three. What tests should she be getting and what data should she be collecting to help the doctors help her son?

Lisa Brone: Can you tell me a little bit about what's going on?

Jenn Eggert: Okay! Chris, if you can type up a quick idea of what's going on with Cameron. That way we know better if we can't do it during this show. What I will do if Dr. Brone is agreeable, I will get Chris and Dr Brone your emails together.
Lisa Brone: Sure.

Jenn Eggert: And that way because she has been working for over a year on fixing his gut health check. So now we have Jason who says that my little guy has never had a solid poop in his life and this was something that might've helped. Now this little guy is four years old. Jason, correct me if I'm wrong. Your guy's about four. Jason is one of our very few stay at home dads. Who Does it all Well, mum works right so he researches, he tries to figure it out. Now if his son doesn't have solid bowel movements, would divide dividens in the probiotics. Be Effective for him.

Lisa Brone: I would hope that they would help. Absolutely. Yeah, I would definitely give that a try. But I would want to, I would also want to know what his diet is like. You know, is he eating a lot of processed food Is he eating a lot of sugar What is his fiber intake like I mean, all of those things have to work together.

Jenn Eggert: Jason and Chris, if we asked you to give us more information, please just personal message it to me. Jason, you can get my personal information of our Facebook group messaged me the information that Dr Lisa is asking, I will forward it to her in an email and get you guys a response because I know the two of you have been working so hard to help your children be more healthier and I mean, I know Cameron who is Chris's son has some pretty horrible stomach issues. So let's get you guys on the right path of the thing. And you Jason, as part of it right there, pizza, it being his favorite food is difficult. Now Lisa, if pizza is his favorite food, could we add more vegetables to the pizza if he's willing to make it healthier?

Lisa Brone: Yeah. And the other thing is that you know, you can also do a gluten free crust, right so finding alternatives like dairy free cheese, gluten free crust,adding more vegetables. All of those things are positive changes and you might not be able to do all of those at once because it might not taste like pizza to him and he might not eat it. But trying to gradually make that transition away. That might be helpful.

Jenn Eggert: And Remember, folks, I am gluten free. I do understand the challenges that come with being gluten free is hard to find. Food is more expensive. Let me give you a couple of quick tips on that aspect. If you have an Aldi's near you, if you have an angle's near you, a public's in oftentimes buy low, those stores really sell a lot of gluten free food and it tastes good. No, I have not tried it yet. But there is, my mother lives by it. Cauliflower pizza. Jason, I'm not sure if that's something you can slowly turn him to is a cauliflower base pizza, but it would be more nutritionally valuable than a regular pizza. But at least Jason, he does like toppings. So maybe move to more vegetables, make it brighter. We were talking, Lisa, you and I were talking about the colors of the rainbow. What about making a Rainbow Pizza folks. Sit your kid down, let them decorate their own pizza by a shell crust or make one and let them decorate it. Put different vegetables out and say, make this yours. What if we did that What if we empowered our children to take these more healthy, more natural foods and empower them to use them in a way that they want to.

Lisa Brone: Yeah.

Jenn Eggert: So that is a really big key, I think. And I know Dr. Brone, you would agree with me that,just giving them the colors of the rainbow, like you said, make your pizza the colors of the rainbow. Taco night. Oh, let's see how many colors we can get on our tacos. Different nights or soup. If you're a soup eater, how many colors are in our soup tonight make it fun.

Lisa: Yeah. The other thing that you could do is put a chart on the refrigerator or somewhere else and put a bunch of different colors on there. And they can do that with crayons or magic markers. Have them check off as the week goes by, how many different colors they have eaten. I like that during the week and you know, when they get however many colors they get something a star or a little this or that make it fun for them to eat as many colors as possible during the week. So it becomes a game and they're incentivized.

Jenn Eggert: I love that idea of folks make it fun, like I said, and like Dr. Brone said, make it a game. Do if your child works on visual schedules. Her idea of making a visual chart is amazing. Now back to Jason. Jason you often have heard me refer to my autism community as my tribe.
how many of us were growing up being told it takes a village to raise a child?

Jenn Eggert: I know that used to be the old at age. When I was a child, I literally would be playing in front of my house and have like six sets of eyes on me. It's not like that anymore. But I try and make a autism tribe and autism community where we may not necessarily be in the same area, but we watch out for each other. We help each other. We give each other ideas and we work together to make it healthier. Now, Chris, I'm back to Chris. Dr. Brone with Cameron, he is doing better gluten free and they avoid all artificial sweeteners. Now, I know you're probably going to be like many no child should have artificial sweeteners.

Lisa Brone: So, It depends on what you're speaking of with artificial sweeteners. I want to be clear about that. If we're talking about like nutrasweet, that sort of thing. I'm Saccharin, I am not for those at all. They tend to damage the microbiome. There are what I call sugar substitutes that I think are great and they can be used safely. So the sugar substitutes that I really love, they tend to be a little bit more expensive, but if you need to sweeten something, I think that they're good. And these would be like Stevia, monk fruit Erythritol xylitol. Now sometimes Erythritol and Xylitol can be a little bit uncomfortable for people in terms of abdominal discomfort. They can produce gas. So monkfruit and Stevia tend to be a little bit easier on people. So you just have to you just have to be careful with those. But the artificial sweeteners I tend to be not so fond of if you're talking about like a Saccharin and those, those sorts of things. Nutrasweet. Yeah.

Jenn Eggert: Now, unfortunately folks, we are getting to the end of our show. We've actually gone over because we've had so much wonderful information from Dr. Brone and I know so many of you are suffering in this aspect in life and Jason, you're not slowly becoming part of this tribe. You are part of our tribe and we value you as being a stay at home dad taking on the responsibilities because when you say caregiver to most people, they automatically think female, mom, grandma. And I'm loving that you're changing the stigma to say no. Dads can stay at home too and dads can handle special needs children just as well as moms. We may do it differently, but we both do it and are successful and happy in our lives. So I want to thank all of you for coming, especially Dr. Brone. I am so excited that we got to have this talk. And again for Chris and Jason, if you have more questions, please private message me that way I know I get them and I will forward them along to Dr. Brone and we will work from there. One last question before we wrap up that just came on is grinding at the sign of gut health issues?

Lisa Brone: So that's a very interesting question. It could be indirectly related if it's a sign of anxiety that can be related to gut health. So anxiety can be related to dysbiosis, so an imbalance in gut bacteria and if somebody is grinding their teeth because of anxiety, it could be related to gut health. So indirectly. Yes.

Jenn Eggert: Okay, so thank you everyone for coming. Again, I'm going to ask Miguel to drop the link for the Amare in the comments section again because unfortunately I have to get going. I have a child waiting for making slime. A guest today is our activity, so I want to thank everyone for joining us today. Again, I'm Jenn Eggert from and you can join me every Monday at 1:00 PM Eastern for parenting tips and tricks and to meet our panel of experts. Thank you all for coming and remember until next time every child brings goodluck.


Thanks for joining us today with Jenn Eggert. You can join her live every Monday at 1:00 PM eastern on Facebook to learn more information about how to join our free parents support group, watch the show live or ask your question. That will be answered live by Jenn on an upcoming show. Please visit it's L A K I K I So ask her questions as she is willing to tackle whatever topic you need. If you like our show, please leave us a review on iTunes or stitcher. Your review will enable us to help more families.

Related Episodes

It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
Sold out
It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
Sold out
It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
Sold out