SECRETIN AND DIGESTIVE
Digestive enzymes are enzymes in the alimentary
tract with a purpose of breaking down components of food so that
they can be taken up by the organism. The main sites of action are
the oral cavity, the stomach, the duodenum and the jejunum. They
are secreted by different glands: the salivary glands, the glands
in the stomach, the pancreas, and the glands in the small intestines.
No rigorous scientific studies have shown benefit
in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders with the administration
of digestive enzymes. A clinical trial did report that around 15%
of subjects experienced significant side-effects form using digestive
enzymes as a treatment (Brudnak, Rimland, & Kerry 2002).
Secretin is a peptide hormone secreted by the
small intestine, and was the first hormone discovered. Secretin
stimulates the secretion of bicarbonate from the liver, pancreas,
and duodenal Brunner's glands in order to buffer the incoming protons
of the acidic chyme. It also enhances the effects of cholecystokinin.
It is known to promote the normal growth and maintenance of the
It also reduces acid secretion from the stomach
by inhibiting gastrin release from G cells. This helps neutralize
the pH of the digestive products entering the duodenum from the
stomach, as digestive enzymes from the pancreas (eg, pancreatic
amylase and pancreatic lipase) function optimally at neutral pH.
There have been reports of dramatic reductions
in symptoms of children on the autism spectrum following treatment
with secretin. However, several clinical trials have failed to demonstrate
any benefit from secretin compared to using a placebo (Williams,
Wray, & Wheeler 2005).
Other studies have concluded that Secretin, Fenfluramine,
Naltrexone and Adrenocorticotrophin have been demonstrated to be
ineffective and/or harmful for children and adolescents with Autism.
(Perry & Condillac 2003).
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