Secretin is a hormone that is released by cells in the small intestine in response to food. In the digestive tract, the role of Secretin is to cause the pancreas to secrete bicarbonate fluid or bile. When food reaches the stomach, gastric acid is secreted to break down the food and make it digestible. But too much gastric acid can lower the pH of the GI tract, making it too acidic. Too much acid can damage the GI tract. Secretin, by telling the pancreas to release bicarbonate bile, helps neutralize the acidic environment created by gastric acid.

Secretin receptors are present not only on the pancreas but in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is associated with memory and learning. It is not known what secretin's exact role in the brain is. No one knows what its role is (if any) in learning or speech or cognitive performance.


The Autism Research Unit - University of Sunderland
This website was created in response to media attention over the use of secretin as an intervention for autism. The authors stress that any information contained on this site does not at this time constitute a recommendation for the use of secretin.
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Study Confirms Secretin No More Effective Than Placebo in Treating Autism Symptoms - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
The latest in a series of studies on secretin has failed to show that giving the digestive hormone to children with autism alleviates symptoms of the disorder, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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Unlocking the Potential of Secretin by Victoria Beck
What parents and physicians need to know about using secretin in autism, 'PDD,' and related disorders.
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Autism and Secretin John Wills Lloyd
Resources about using secretin-like substances to treat autism have appeared in many places, particularly the popular press. Most of the interest in this followed the observations by Victoria and Gary Beck about their son Parker's improvement after taking secretin. People should be cautious about seeking immediate treatment, as the data are discouraging and the use of secretin to treat autism is still "off label" (i.e., not a recommended medical practice).
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