What is GAPS?

What is GAPS? GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it is the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. She based it on the SCD or Specific Carbohydrate Diet and her original intent with the diet and the protocols was to recover her son from Autism, which she has done with great results!

The main idea is that modern living has made almost everyone’s gut ‘leaky’, where larger than normal proteins can go across the intestinal wall and cause issues in the body. Another major issue in modern living is that many of us have disturbed gut flora where we have an imbalance of pathogenic (bad) bacteria vs good bacteria. When you have pathogenic bacteria out of balance in your gut all sorts of things can occur. I will expand on this idea in a bit.

Some of the major proteins/issues include casomorphins (from milk) and gluteomorphins (from gluten containing grains: all forms of wheat, rye, barley, oats that are not from a certified gluten-free manufacturer). These proteins can go to the brain and act much like morphine, leading to significant issues in mental function and interpersonal interactions. Gluten and casein free diets have been found very helpful in patients on the Autism spectrum. Other areas where these diets may prove helpful are depression, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other mental health issues.

Now back to the bacteria issue: pathogenic bacteria has been linked to diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, neurological and psychiatric diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Type I Diabetes, Type II Diabetes and allergies. While antibiotics may be necessary in specific cases there is the issue of antibiotics killing beneficial bacteria as well. This is why your health care practitioner should always suggest probiotics along with antibiotics, so you can replete your beneficial bacteria. If you wipe out much of your bacteria with antibiotics you may end up with opportunistic bacterial overgrowth and subsequent diarrhea or nausea. This opportunistic bacteria can lead to inflammation in your gut, leading to leaky gut, leading to release of things that were never supposed to be introduced to your body.

While taking probiotics and enzymes as well eating fermented foods with active cultures is really, really important for gut health the GAPS diet takes it further and the goal is to ‘heal and seal’ the gut. Inflammation in the gut is reduced through the removal of hard to digest foods/fiber and as the inflammation reduces the cell gaps become correctly spaced again. As probiotic containing foods such as live-culture liquid from fermented vegetables and/or whey from homemade yogurt are introduced an increase in the ‘good’ bacteria occurs. With an adequate supply of good bacteria in the gut the pathogenic bacteria will often get crowded out and put under control.

GAPS has been used for many different health concerns including:

  • Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Skin: Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Digestive: Constipation, IBS, Heartburn, healing food sensitivities
  • Allergies
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cystitis
  • Thrush or Candida
  • Failure to thrive, Vitamin deficiencies
  • “Picky Eaters”
  • Anorexia and Bulimia

I am currently starting the Introduction to the GAPS diet along with my husband. Our daughter is currently eating her normal diet along with extra broth and soup. I will be posting weekly regarding our progress. You are welcome to join me if you like! For more information go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/doctorcorinne

*The information I have included here or elsewhere on my website is not to be considered treatment or diagnosis or any particular disease or condition. Always consult your health care practitioner before undertaking any new health regimen.


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