GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome

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written by Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

GAPS is an acronym for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The acronym was created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD in 2004.   It defines a condition caused by an imbalance in the gut leading to both physical and mental symptoms.

GAPS Diet Autism and Severe Digestive Disorders
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride created the term after working with hundreds of children and adults with autism, ADHD/ADD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, depression, OCD, bi-polar and other neuro-psychological and psychiatric problems.  She discovered she could successfully treat these conditions through dietary changes and detailed her findings in her book “The GAPS Diet”.

The same imbalance in the gut that leads to psychological issues can also cause physiological issues in the body.  GAPS can result in chronic physical conditions including arthritis, MS, lupus, Crohn’s. IBS, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders.




There is a connection between the health of the gut and the health of the rest of the body. Bacteria, sometimes called gut flora, consists of both beneficial and opportunistic bacteria. The proper balance of bacteria is essential to your health! A healthy individual has as much as four pounds of bacteria in their gut.

Healthy gut flora protects us from pathogens, nourishes the gut, produces vitamins, allows proper absorption of nutrients, and supports immunity. Unhealthy gut flora damages the gut lining and allows pathogens, microbes, and toxins into the bloodstream. It also allows in partially digested foods leading to allergies, food sensitivities, and autoimmune reactions. These toxins reach every part of the body, including the brain.


The gut of the newborn child is sterile. It receives its gut flora during childbirth as it travels through the birth canal and from its mothers breast milk. The mothers gut flora is passed to her child. If the mother has imbalanced gut flora and gut issues and doesn’t breastfeed, then the babies gut flora is compromised.

Ear and chest infections are common in a baby with compromised gut flora.  Antibiotics used to treat those conditions actually kill healthy gut flora. Vaccinations can add to the problem.  When the gut flora is unhealthy, vaccinations introduce viruses the baby’s system cannot handle. These conditions all combine to damage the gut wall of the baby allowing toxins, microbes, and undigested food to pass into the bloodstream. Toxins entering the brain cause mental symptoms and toxins entering the body cause physical symptoms.


Adults with GAPS were usually GAPS children. In adolescence and adulthood poor diet, antibiotics, and digestive issues combine to cause further damage the gut lining. Toxins, microbes, and undigested food pass into the bloodstream. The same as with children, toxins entering the brain cause mental symptoms and toxins entering the body cause physical symptoms including autoimmune diseases.


The GAPS Diet follows a very specific progression designed to heal and seal the gut lining. Initially, all foods irritating to the gut are removed and nutrient dense, homemade, healing foods are introduced. As the gut recovers, new more challenging food is carefully introduced. As the diet progresses homemade probiotic foods re-establish a healthy gut flora. As the gut heals the flow of toxins is shut off and replaced with healing nutrients, allowing the body to heal and function naturally.  
This is not a 30 day miracle diet.  The properly implemented GAPS Diet can take from 1 to 3 years and may require a dramatic change to the foods consumed.


It is possible to implement the diet on your own by following the instructions in “The GAPS Diet” book.  However, the diet is an involved process involving multiple stages, extensive home cooking, and supplementation which many are not familiar with.
I trained with Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD and I am a Certified GAPS Practitioner.  I can help you determine if the GAPS Diet could help you.  As a Certified GAPS Practitioner I can provide the resources and support you need to successfully implement the diet.  
If you think GAPS could help you please contact me or find a local GAPS practitioner through  Food really is powerful medicine!
Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

Nutritional Therapy and GAPS Diet Practioner at Healing Center of Maine
I’m on a mission to help you prevent and reverse chronic illness by utilizing nutrition to restore your body’s natural balance.

Contact me directly for a free 30 minute consultation.
Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

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