Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D. was trained in Russia and is the author of the book entitled Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression and Schizophrenia. Her thesis is that the GI tract is key to mental and physical health. There is a connection between the physiology of the gut (GI tract) and the brain. The micro flora in the gut is critical for overall health. Gut flora, also called the micro biome, is defined as the mass of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, parasites, and cells of all types that live in harmony within the GI tract. In a healthy gut, these microbes are beneficial probiotic microbes: they support the growth of additional helpful bacteria and help control bad bacteria. Gut flora protects us from infections and toxins. It is the key to a healthy, functioning immune system as well. Over 70 percent of lymphocytes are made in the gut.
New born children are born with essentially sterilized guts. A new born child’s gut is first inoculated by the mother during breast feeding. This is critical for the future environment of the developing child’s gut and for the healthy functioning of the brain. Gut flora actively helps with the synthesis of various nutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as various amino acids and proteins. Also, the fact that the small intestine is permeable is critical because as a child develops, allergies can develop, toxins can be absorbed and taken-up into general systemic circulation through a porous GI tract. There is evidence that a compromised gut in conjunction with excessive vaccinations, over use of antibiotics from chest and ear infections, poor diet, and dysfunctional family life will all exacerbate the “gut and psychology syndrome.” An excellent example of a toxic gut is what happens to a child or adult when they are sensitive, allergic, or cannot tolerate gluten and casein in their diet. Gluten is a protein in grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc.) and casein is a milk protein found in all milk products (cow, sheep, goat, human). When consumed in an unhealthy, compromised GI tract (abnormal microbial flora), these proteins do not get digested and become toxic and create an inflammatory condition in the GI tract. Many of these proteins are poorly digested and, more importantly, can turn into substances that are similar to the chemical structures of opiates (morphine-like compounds). Scientists have identified these compounds as gluteomorphins and casomorphins in the urine of patients diagnosed with mental health issues. These so-called opiates come from the gut and progress into general systemic circulation. They then pass through the blood-brain barrier and can have a negative effect on brain physiology and behavior. Patients diagnosed with this condition can be helped by becoming gluten and casein free in their diets.
The GAPS diet starts with an introductory phase and progressively introduces fermented foods such as fermented yoghurt and kefir, sauerkraut, beetroot, and fermented grains and fish.
Bone broths and organ meats are also introduced into the program. Diet, detoxification, supplementation and homemade, making nutrient dense food from scratch are important components of the GAPS protocol. These help children and adults with many conditions such as autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, depression and many other psychological, learning and perception issues, skin disorders, chronic infections, constipation, asthma and allergies to name a few.
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