When your child is struggling, you’re willing to overcome as many obstacles as necessary to ensure they get the care they need. But when a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), many parents feel powerless despite their best efforts. This is understandable; parents often feel demoralized after trying a multitude of ineffective treatments and coping with complex combinations of disruptive symptoms. If you’re like most parents of an autistic child, then you wish there was a safe and reliable way that your child’s social, emotional, and cognitive struggles could be addressed.
As the founder of Tesseract Medical Research, Al Czap is well-versed in the difficulties faced by autistic children and their caregivers, as well as the challenge of finding a successful treatment regimen. Over the course of his career in therapy development, Czap has gleaned keen insights into the disorder, its treatments, and the need for continued innovation to provide effective symptom management. “8 or 10 years ago, these kids with ASD were out of luck because nobody could help them,” Czap remembers. But now, thanks in part to Czap himself, that is changing.
Working hand in hand with esteemed investigators in the field of autism research, Czap created a medical food called AuRx, which is intended to support children with a broad variety of ASD symptoms. Now, parents are witnessing remarkable success stories when AuRx becomes a part of their child’s daily regimen.
Most therapies designed for children with ASD target the central nervous system. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that multiple ASD symptoms are deeply tied to gut health. As such, AuRx is formulated to support the health of the gastrointestinal tract, which is connected to the central nervous system via the gut-brain axis.
When the gastrointestinal tract experiences an imbalanced inflammatory response, it can stimulate the gut-brain axis, leading to sensations of bloating and abdominal discomfort, and exacerbating behavioral symptoms like social withdrawal, anxiety, and irritability in an autistic child. This is significant because individuals with ASD often experience an imbalanced inflammatory response in the gut, resulting in their gut-brain axis being overstimulated. Maintaining a balanced inflammatory response in the gastrointestinal tract can potentially reduce this overstimulation of the gut-brain axis, with the resulting benefit being improved behavioral and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The primary nutrient in AuRx is a substance that is naturally present in the gastrointestinal tract: butyric acid. In the human body, butyric acid is produced when the symbiotic bacteria that live in the gut break down dietary fiber. After the gut bacteria have produced butyric acid, it is consumed by the cells in the gut as an energy source. In fact, butyric acid is the primary energy source of the cells in the gut, and it allows them to operate at optimal efficiency.
Efficiently operating gut cells are better able to process food, potentially leading to fewer episodes of constipation and less gastrointestinal distress. Notably, individuals with ASD tend to experience insufficient levels of butyric acid in their gut, which might partially explain why they experience higher levels of GI problems and food intolerances. Supplemental butyric acid, however, can work to normalize the gastrointestinal environment and provide the critical support needed for improved gut health.
Butyric acid can directly support the gut-brain axis, potentially reducing the unwarranted stimulation that can lead to behavioral symptoms. To prevent over-stimulation of the gut-brain axis, butyric acid behaves as an “all-clear” signal to the white blood cells of the gut; when the white blood cells of the gut are exposed to butyric acid, they help maintain a balanced inflammatory response. With normal inflammatory response, there is less stimulation of the gut-brain axis. Butyric acid can thus help the gastrointestinal tract function more efficiently, while also maintaining a balanced inflammatory response and making an autistic child more comfortable both physically and psychologically.
Although the scientific logic behind AuRx is compelling, the stories of families who have used it are even more powerful. One such experience involves a 10-year-old boy whose parents contacted Czap after being made aware of AuRx. The boy was facing consistent difficulty in school due to irritable outbursts, and he struggled with numerous behavioral problems stemming from a diminished ability to communicate. His parents were active in his care, but no treatment had been able to stop his daily behavioral incidents. Additionally, like many autistic children, he was being bullied by his peers, causing him to suffer emotional damage.
His parents knew that his autism was endangering the child’s opportunity for having a happy, fulfilling, and independent life. After a consultation with Czap, the child started taking AuRx to give him greater nutritional support. Shortly after starting AuRx, the boy’s parents reported noticeable positive changes in his behavior, including:
These changes were not coincidental; when he was without AuRx on a family vacation, his symptoms returned and were only better managed when AuRx was resumed.
Although one anecdotal success story with AuRx is clearly not equivalent to a properly controlled clinical trial that investigates a supplement’s safety and efficacy, this child isn’t the only child who experienced improvement when taking AuRx.
Max was six when Czap met him. “He didn’t have the worst ASD, but he was definitely on the spectrum,” Czap says. “Max had many problems at school, and he wouldn’t really want to go outside. He didn’t want to look you in the eye if you spoke.” Max’s parents tried multiple treatments and interventions, but they felt that the treatments weren’t helping Max as much as he needed, particularly in social situations.
But Max’s social apprehensions weren’t his only struggles. Out of necessity, Max’s parents tucked him into bed each night with pillows pressing against his arms and legs to insulate him from unwanted tactile sensations that prevented him from sleeping. Such sensory issues are pervasive in ASD children, and can be extraordinarily difficult to resolve.
In addition to sensory issues, other of Max’s difficulties stemmed from his inability to perform tasks that required sustained attention — another common issue for children with ASD. One of these tasks was tying shoes, and Max’s inability to tie his shoes became a constant source of ridicule among his peers.
After consulting with Czap, however, things changed for the better. Max’s parents found that AuRx helped Max with the cognitive tools he needed to overcome what had once been insurmountable obstacles. “He took his first dose with dinner, and his second in the morning, and by that afternoon, he could tie his shoes!” Czap remembers. And the transformation didn’t stop there. With the help of AuRx and his parents’ continued support, Max reached a new level of independence and a higher quality of life; much to the joy of his parents. And, as Max’s executive function and sensory issues improved, so too did his demeanor, leaving him more sociable and happy than before.
There were other changes to celebrate, too. Alongside Max’s newfound sociability, his teachers reported his performance in school improved. Significantly, Max also became willing to talk with Czap. While once fearful of social situations, Max was now comfortable with new social contact—a critical milestone in his growth.
For these two boys—and many others—AuRx has been greatly beneficial. However, it’s important to note that starting AuRx wasn’t the end of their ASD symptoms; Czap notes that even with AuRx, many children with ASD will still need additional support.
“In some of these kids, just taking the AuRx can make a significant difference. In others, you definitely have to go through various dietary changes as well,” Czap explains. Dietary changes typically involve modifying the type or quantity of fiber that the child consumes, which can sometimes interfere with treatment or aggravate ASD symptoms. The age of the child taking AuRx is also relevant. “The younger we can intervene, the quicker we can analyze them and the better served we are in responding to these kids.”
While AuRx won’t likely be a sufficient monotherapy for every child with ASD, it could very likely complement other types of interventions, allowing autistic children to achieve optimal results when added to a comprehensive treatment plan. For example, improved social abilities and fewer disruptive behaviors can help children participate more meaningfully in social skills training. Meanwhile, improved gut health and digestion can make it easier to adhere to and benefit from special diets. In other words, the results of a combined strategy might exceed what individual interventions can accomplish alone.
For now, AuRx is only available from a health-care practitioner, and parents who are interested in integrating AuRx in their child’s daily health regimen should consult with their child’s health-care provider about integrating AuRx in their management plan. In the future, however, Tesseract Medical Research has plans to bring AuRx to over-the-counter status, which will increase its access and lead to more success stories. “When you meet a patient’s issues really well, it makes your heart melt,” Czap says. And with the growing use of AuRx, more parents of autistic children might experience successes similar to the parents above.
The power of Tesseract supplements lies in enhancing palatability, maximizing bioavailability and absorption, and micro-dosing of multiple nutrients in a single, highly effective capsule. Visit our website for more information about how Tesseract’s products can help support your neurological health and gastrointestinal health.*