What Role Do Elevated Levels of Growth Hormones Have in Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder mainly characterized by struggles with social interaction, restrictive behaviors, and repetitive patterns of cognition and behavior. The effects and severity of ASD vary in every person.

Struggles with social interaction are common in ASD. These struggles could be difficult in recognizing and understanding social cues such as facial expressions and eye contact, and in maintaining and/or forming social bonds with other people.

the role of elevate growth hormones in kids with autism

Repetitive patterns of behavior on the other hand are bizarre. A person with ASD has a set of routines that he has to do every day. He would also repeatedly watch his favorite shows or read the same books. Sometimes he would communicate with other people using excerpts from his favorite book or movie.

How Hormones Affect Autism

Hormones play an important role in the development of Autism. Recent studies show that there are hormones that play a role in the development of ASD. For instance, a study done by Hassan et al., 2019 that the hormones leptin, ghrelin, and growth hormone contribute to the pathogenesis of the disorder. It was concluded that children with ASD have elevated levels of leptin, and reduced levels of ghrelin and growth hormone (GH) compared to those of healthy children.

Leptin and ghrelin have somewhat similar functions, i.e., help in regulating our food intake. They help in signaling the brain that the person is hungry. Oftentimes a child with ASD gains weight faster than a child without ASD. A child with autism could exhibit extreme eating habits such as eating a wide range of food.

Meanwhile, the GH is produced by our pituitary gland. It is responsible for the normal growth of our body, namely our bones. Although low levels of growth hormone are not associated with mental abilities, it still affects brain development. It may show a link between delayed brain growth in infancy.

However, in 2015 a recent suggesting GH treatment may help people with autism. The study was done by a team from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The subjects were children diagnosed with a type of autism.

The Mount Sinai study concluded that the  Insulin-like growth factor-1 GH mediator hormone (IGF-1) reduces social impairment.  It was observed that the subjects that are treated with IGF-1 were less likely to be socially withdrawn and exhibit less of restrictive behavior. IGF-1 according to the team is available commercially.

growth hormones and autism

What Causes Autism

ASD is not yet fully described as it has different causes. However, it has proven lots of times that vaccines do not, in any way, cause autism. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to ASD. These are just some of the things that may cause autism:

  • Studies suggest that autism runs in the family.
  • If a mother conceives a child at her later age, there is a chance that her child will exhibit symptoms of autism.
  • The environment of the mother may also increase or reduce the risk of having a child with autism.

People with ASD are indeed eccentric but they are not dysfunctional. For instance, Greta Thunberg has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and it did not stop her from being a climate activist. In fact, she relates it to having a superpower. We are not so different from each other. No matter what sort of medical diagnosis you have.

Susan Harris

By Susan Harris

Susan Harris is the owner of Rooted Mama Health. She is the mother to two amazing children and wife of a loving husband. She strives to provide the world with all the information they need to live a happy and health lifestyle.