Hey, have you heard of the GAPS diet and wondered what it is or if it would be right for you? Kathy took a close look at it to see if it applies to people with IBS. Here’s what she found out:
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, author of the book by the same name, has created this term to describe what she believes is the underlying condition originating in the gut and manifesting as any combination of conditions from the following list:
• Dyspraxia (extreme clumsiness)
• ADD, ADHD
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Crohn’s and Colitis
In most cases when a person has GAP Syndrome they suffer from several of these conditions. If you are an IBS sufferer who also suffers from one or more of these other conditions you might benefit from the GAPS diet with some important cautions with respect to the fat component.
So what is going on in GAP Syndrome?
The gut is FULL of micro-organisms; some healthy and desirable, some unhealthy and opportunistic and some transitional.
The underlying condition in GAP Syndrome is an unhealthy, unbalanced gut flora where the ‘bad’ flora out-numbers the ‘good’ flora. The by-products produced by the ‘bad flora’ are extremely toxic and end up crossing into the brain where they cause the neurological conditions above.
The healthy desirable ‘good’ flora protects the gut wall from toxins and is responsible for the production of many different immune cells. In fact 80 to 85% of the immune system is created or resides in the gut. In addition to the toxic affect on the brain, when the ‘good’ flora is crowded out by the ‘bad’ flora immunity is severely compromised.
Other functions of ‘friendly’ or ‘good’ gut bacteria:
• Produce antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances that destroy invading viruses and bacteria by dissolving their cell walls
• Lower the pH near the gut wall creating a hostile environment that discourages the growth of pathogens
• Absorb carcinogenic substances
• Suppress certain activities in the gut that can lead to cancer
The GAPS Diet
In last week’s blog post about the Paleo Diet, we spoke briefly about the GAPS Diet. The GAPS Diet focuses on healing the gut and rebalancing the micro-flora in the gut. There is an emphasis on consuming broths made from meat, bones or fish (these home-made broths are considered highly nutritious and very healing), and eating fermented foods and plenty of natural fats.
For an IBS sufferer it would be wise to start with very low fat broths from meats that are well tolerated such as chicken or turkey. Many of the beneficial healing properties will still be present in the broth.
According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, all GAPS patients have digestive problems to one degree or another.
However, it is not necessarily true that all IBS sufferers have GAP Syndrome. Many sufferers of IBS have experienced negative life events or traumatic incidences that are at the root of their symptoms.
Factors that suggest GAP Syndrome:
• Caesarean birth
• Early or repeated use of antibiotics
• Use of anti-fungals
• Yeast infections
• Any of the neurological conditions above
Factors that suggest Trauma:
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Early childhood negative events
• Need for certainty
• Chronic fatigue
• Multiple chemical sensitivities
For more information about how trauma relates to IBS see our ebook – Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS – 3 Crucial Secrets to Getting Better.
For more information about GAP Syndrome, the book is called: Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Natural treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression and Schizophrenia by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD.
Please leave a comment and let us know whether you have tried the GAPS diet, or, the most useful piece of information you learned form this post.
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