Researchers have suggested that consumption of processed food can be linked to autism. In a paper, published in the journal Nature, scientists have found that propionic acid used to produce processed foods can damage brain cells in a fetus which might lead to autism.
“Studies have shown a higher level of PPA on stool samples from children with autism and the gut microbiome in autistic children is different. I wanted to know what the underlying cause was,’ Saleh Naser, an author and a researcher at the university of Central Florida said in a statement.
In case you didn’t know, PPA is used by companies to prolong the longevity of processed foods in store. However, the acid can decrease the number of neurons brain can develop. While stomach produces PPA naturally, pregnant women develop larger amount of PPA. As the processed foods can increase the production even more, the acid crosses the fetus eventually. As mentioned earlier, this acid interrupts the balance of cells in brain by overproducing glial cells which might lead to autism.
Naser also talked about the future impact of research he said, “This research is only the first step towards better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder. But we have confidence we are on the right track to finally uncovering autism etiology.”