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.
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.
HOW DEVELOPS GAPS IN CHILDREN
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.
GAPS IN ADULTS
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.
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