What is GAPS?
It is the name given by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a Neurologist and Clinical Nutritionist, to describe the connection between many learning disabilities, behavioral problems, psychological and physiological problems and autoimmune conditions and the health of the digestive system. She developed the GAPS diet after curing her son of Autism.
The diet has earned world recognition for its effectiveness in healing GAPS symptoms in children and adults. When the digestive system is unwell, so instead of being a source of nourishment for the body, it becomes a major source of toxicity instead and nothing in the body can function well. Any organ, any system, any cell can show symptoms of distress – usually many of them respond with some symptoms. As a result GAPS patients are often the most difficult (if not impossible) for mainstream medicine to fathom and to help.
How did it start?
Very often digestive disturbance starts when breast milk gets replaced with formula milk or at the weaning stage. Or it may start later in life for instance, if a major course (or several courses) of antibiotics are taken or other health damaging events.
However the damage is done, cells in the digestive tract become damaged which may affect nutrient absorption, digestive break-down of foods, damage to parts of the immune system found in the digestive system and may also cause ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
Over time the gut flora becomes damaged and out of balance, which impacts on their protective function guarding us from pathogenic micro-organisms, undigested foods, toxins and parasites. The long-term effects of this break down in function of the whole digestive system results in a complex and diverse array of symptoms and diseases as listed below.
Gut & Physiology Syndrome includes various chronic physical conditions, which stem from an unhealthy gut, such as:Autoimmune conditions:
- Coeliac’s Disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diabetes Type I
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Systemic lupus erythematosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Autoimmune skin problems.
- Various allergie
- Food allergies
- Food intolerances
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- PMS and other menstrual problems
- Chronic cystitis
- Many endocrine disorders (thyroid, adrenal and other).
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Muscle weakness
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Muscle and joint aches and pains
- Skin problems
- Hormonal abnormalities.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders.
- Mood swings
- Poor memory function
- Cognitive problems
- Foggy brain syndrome
- Behavioural and social problems
- Panic attacks
- Involuntary movements
- Various tics and fits
- Sensory problems.
In almost all cases the symptoms from both GAP syndromes overlap: people with mental problems suffer physical symptoms (painful joints and muscles, fatigue, skin problems, asthma, hormonal problems, autoimmunity), while people with physical conditions have mental symptoms (such as depression, ‘brain fog’, inability to concentrate, mood swings, sleep abnormalities, memory problems, anxiety, tremors, tics, fits etc.
Backed by scientific and clinical evidence, the gut-brain connection has been shown to have a significant role in the development of the above conditions. Symptoms can be reduced, behaviour and habits modified and overall health and wellbeing greatly improved by GAPS treatment.