The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet is designed to restore gut health. Created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, it focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods, therefore allowing the intestinal lining to heal and seal.
The GAPS Diet is derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas. SCD gained great popularity after a mother, Elaine Gottschall, healed her own child of Ulcerative Colitis and became an advocate for SCD. Dr. Campbell-McBride adjusted her protocol in 2004, after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autistic spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD), schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder. She found these patients had a variety of serious conditions as a result of an imbalanced bacterial ecosystem within the digestive tract.
Dr. Campbell-McBride, who specializes in neurology and nutrition and lives in England, defined the term Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or “GAPS,” as a condition that establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain.
An intro to the GAPS Diet
To learn about GAPS, how it develops and how to treat it effectively with a sound nutritional protocol, please read Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.” You can purchase it here.
Why healing the gut is the place to start
The philosophy behind the GAPS Diet has everything to do with a healthy gut. The gut helps you digest and absorb your food, it creates vitamins for you and it protects you from toxins and bacteria. And a healthy gut equals an overall healthy and balanced immune system!
Here’s more from Dr. Campbell-McBride:
The first and very important function of the gut is the digestion and absorption of food. For instance, if a child does not acquire normal balanced gut flora, then the child will not digest and absorb foods properly, and will likely develop multiple nutritional deficiencies.
Apart of normal digestion and absorption of food, healthy gut flora actively synthesizes various nutrients, including vitamin K, pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), ciancobalamine (vitamin B12), various amino-acids and proteins. Indeed, when tested, people with gut dysbiosis always present with deficiencies of these nutrients. Clinical experience shows that restoring the beneficial bacteria in the gut is the best way to deal with these deficiencies.
Apart from taking a direct part in nourishing the body, beneficial bacteria in the gut act as the housekeepers for the digestive tract. They coat the entire surface of the gut, protecting it from invaders and toxins by providing a natural barrier and producing a lot of antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal substances.
Properly functioning gut flora is the right hand of our immune system. The beneficial bacteria in the gut ensure appropriate production of different immune cells, immunoglobulins and other parts of the immunity. But most importantly, they keep the immune system in the right balance.