GAPS is a nutritional protocol devised by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride based on her clinical work with individuals with autism. She found that many of her patients with autism also had digestive disturbances. Dr. Campbell McBride found that when gut health improved in these individuals behavioral and sensory issues would also improve.
Through her clinical work she found that the same protocol was also successful in improving symptoms of depression, ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia and eating disorders.
The theory that there is a strong connection between gut and brain function has been mostly overlooked, but now, Dr. Campbell McBride’s work is gaining popularity with people all over the world.
Lucy utilises a functional medicine based approach to gastro-intestinal imbalances, often using laboratory tests to identify or rule out underlying imbalances. Trained as a GAPS practitioner, she uses elements of GAPS, SCD or a low FODMAP diet (where appropriate) to create a unique plan that works for you.
A number of lifestyle and dietary factors can promote permeability in our gut wall and disrupt digestion and absorption. When the gut wall is ‘leaky’ this allows undigested food proteins into our bloodstream where they react with our immune system and affect liver function. In susceptible individuals these toxins can cross a weakened blood/brain barrier and provoke symptoms of mental illness. Dr. Campbell McBride has coined the phrase ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ to describe what is happening in these individuals.
The level of toxicity created by a dysfunctional gut can have a profound effect on other body systems.
Gut and Physiology Syndrome
There are a number of people who also have similar digestive dysfunction described above but their symptoms do not manifest mentally. Instead these individuals can suffer with IBS, celiac disease, allergies, eczema, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and other auto-immune disorders. Other symptoms tend to include fatigue, digestive disorders, muscular weakness and hormonal imbalances. These come under the umbrella term ‘gut and physiology syndrome’. Often there is overlap between the psychology and physiology syndromes.
The Gaps Protocol
The Gaps protocol uses a comprehensive, structured diet programme along with a few chosen supplements to restore the integrity of the digestive tract along with rebalancing the resident bacteria of the gut. It focuses on removing foods that those with compromised guts find hard to digest and on consuming foods with the capacity to heal the gut and re-balance the gut bacteria. Grains are avoided, as are sugar and starchy vegetables because these contain longer chains of carbohydrate molecules that are difficult to break down. Fermented vegetables and fermented dairy are utilised for their ability to re-instate beneficial bacteria.
Dr. Campbell McBride developed this protocol to help her own son who has now recovered from autism. She has worked with many patients in her Cambridge clinic over the years and has now trained Certified Gaps Practitioners through Europe, USA and Australia to help many others on their Gaps journey.
Lucy is a certified GAPS practitioner and is able to offer consultations to those wishing to receive an individualised GAPS protocol.
For more information on Gaps please visit: www.gaps.me