Health News

GAPS diet

Maxine du Plessis

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAP Syndrome or GAPS) is a condition which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain. This term was created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (human nutrition) in 2004 after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions. This include conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD), schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and other neuro-psychological and psychiatric problems.

The GAPS protocol was designed for patients suffering from learning disabilities, psychiatric and psycho-logical disorders, immune system problems and digestive problems.

The purpose of the treatment is to detoxify the person, to lift the toxic fog off the brain to allow it to develop and function properly. In order to achieve that, we need to clean up and heal the digestive tract, so it stops being the major source of toxicity in the body and becomes the source of nourishment, as it is supposed to be. As more than 90% of everything toxic floating in our blood (and getting into the brain) comes from the gut, healing it will drop the level of toxicity in the body dramatically.

This target is achieved by means of The Nutritional Programme. This programme has evolved through the personal experience of Dr Campbell-McBride’s family and clinical experience with thousands of GAPS children and adults around the world.

The GAPS diet was derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Dr Sidney Valentine Haas to naturally treat chronic inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract as a result of a damaged gut lining. Through years of research and clinical experience, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride adjusted her protocol to fit the individual healthcare needs of her patients suffering from a variety of intestinal and neurological conditions as a result of an imbalanced bacterial ecosystem within the GI tract. The GAPS Diet focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal and seal.

Dr Campbell-McBride recommends following the GAPS protocol for a minimum of 18-24 months.  For patients who skipped the Introduction Diet, Dr Campbell-McBride recommends following the Dairy Introduction Structure when introducing dairy products. It is important to remember the majority of the patient’s diet should consist of fresh meats (hormone-free/grass-fed if possible), animal fats, fish, shellfish, organic farm-fresh eggs (if well tolerated), fermented foods, and vegetables. Overindulging in baked goods made from nut flours and fruit can be detrimental to the healing process and should only be consumed in moderation. For patients suffering from yeast overgrowth, temporarily eliminating fruit, honey, and nuts may be beneficial.

All information about the GAPS Diet can be found on the GAPS website: All matters regarding your health require supervision by a personal physician or other appropriate health professionals familiar with your current health status. Always consult your qualified personal health care provider before making any dietary changes.

Information obtained from the GAPS website.

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