The GAPS Philosophy
GAPS is best explained as a condition which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system, the brain and the immune system.
The term GAPS, abbreviated from Gut and Psychology Syndrome was created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (human nutrition) in 2004 after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ ADHD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other neurological and psychiatric problems.
Since then the term GAPS has been extended to incorporate Gut and Physiology Syndrome because so much autoimmunity and inflammation has been shown to originate in the gut which makes sense give the gastro-intestinal tract forms part of our innate immune system, or our first line of defense, and as such are laden with immune cells.
To gain an initial understanding of GAPS, please read the following article by Dr Campbell-McBride:
The GAPS protocol is based on the principles that to heal the illness, the gut needs to be repaired and the gut flora rebalanced. It may be suitable for the following types of conditions:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in adults and children;
- Auto-immune disorders including: Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Coeliac disease;
- Neurological and Psychiatric Conditions including: Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD);
- Allergies and Sensitivities including: Food, Chemical or Respiratory;
- Atopic Conditions including: Asthma; Eczema and Psoriasis; and
- Digestive Disorders including: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Bloating, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns.
The GAPS Protocol
The purpose of the treatment is to detoxify, to lift the toxic fog off the brain to allow it to develop and function properly. In order to achieve that we need to clean up and heal the digestive tract, so it stops being the major source of toxicity in the body and becomes the source of nourishment, as it is supposed to be. As more than 90% of everything toxic floating in our blood (and getting into the brain) comes from the gut, healing it will drop the level of toxicity in the body dramatically.
This target is achieved by means of GAPS protocol which has evolved through Natasha Campbell-McBride’s experience with thousands of GAPS children and adults around the world.
1. Diet. GAPS conditions are essentially digestive disorders. The digestive system is a long tube; what you fill that tube with has a direct effect on its well-being. That is why the diet is the most important and the number one treatment. Everything else takes a second place.
2. Supplementation. Supplements are kept to a minimum and based on each individual’s specific requirements.
3. Detoxification and Life-style Changes. Whilst healthy people can manage to detoxify toxins present in our every day environment, a GAPS patient’s detoxification system is overloaded and overworked because they are deficient in the appropriate supply of important nutrients, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, amino acids and essential fats. In order for a GAPS patient’s detoxification system to function properly, there are several steps required to detoxify the system and reduce the toxic load. These are worked through during consultations.