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By now, many people have heard of the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) program, especially those who are involved with autism. According to the Weston Price Foundation, only two or three decades ago autism was a rare disorder that most doctors never saw and few people had ever heard of, affecting approximately 1 in 10,000. By 2009, there was a forty-fold increase in newly diagnosed cases with 1 child in 150 diagnosed with autism and it continues to increase. And the word on the GAPS diet has also been spreading like wildfire due to its life changing effects on the health of so many people of any age with so many health problems. 

The originator of the GAPS program is Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., with a post graduate degree in neurology who has practiced as a neurologist and neurosurgeon in the United Kingdom. When her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, she found that her profession had no solutions to offer. She decided to return to school and attain a post graduate degree in nutrition, developed and applied her own program and as a result her son completely recovered. In her clinic in Cambridge, England she specializes in nutrition for children and adults with behavorial and learning disabilities, and adults with digestive and immune system disorders. She is the author of the book "Gut Psychology Syndrome" and soon to be published "Gut and Physiology Syndrome."

"All diseases begin in the gut!

- Hippocrates 460-370, B.C.

GAP Syndrom establishes the connection between the state of the gut and the health of the rest of the body. According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, research in Scandinavia has demonstrated that 90 percent of all cells and all genetic material in the human body is in our gut flora. To understand how enormous the gut is, realize if you laid out the gut lining it would cover the surface of a tennis court.

Roles of Gut Flora

  • Protections from invaders
  • Health of the integrity of the gut
  • Appropriate digestion and absorption (can't happen without flora)
  • Vitamin productions (main source of B vitamins in the gut)
  • Detoxification (heavy metal chelation)
  • Immune system modulation

What Can Damage Gut Flora?

  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids, the pill, other drugs
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Infections, disease
  • Bottle feeding
  • Old age
  • Pollution, radiation, toxic chemicals
  • Alcohol
  • Dental Work

What is GAPS?

  • ​Abnormal gut flora is the main cause of GAPS
  • Abnormal digestion leads to nutritional deficiencies
  • Damaged gut lining leads to food allergies
  • Toxins produced by the pathogens in the gut absorb and are distributed around the body causing symptoms
  • Detoxification system collapses
  • Autoimmunity joins in
  • When brain is affected- Gut and Psychology Syndrome
  • When the rest of the body is affected-Gut and Physiology Syndrome
  • The two GAP Syndromes always overlap!

GAPS Symptoms

  • Gut and Psychology Syndrome: mood alterations, memory and cognitive problems, behavioral and social problems, sleep problems, psychotic symptoms, panic attacks, anxiety, involuntary movements, epilepsy, tics and fits, obsessions, compulsions, eating problems, etc.
  • Gut and Physiology Syndrome: digestive problems, fatigue, muscular weakness, cramps and abnormal muscle tone, pain and aches in bones, joints and muscles, skin problems, neurological problems, hormonal abnormalities, headaches, frequent infections, allergies, anemia, urinary problems, infertility, etc.

Autoimmunity is Always Present in GAPS

  • Autoimmunity is born in the gut!
  • Caused by absorption of undigested protein and toxins through damaged gut wall
  • Immune system produces antibodies, which then attack body's own tissues​
  • In type 1 diabetes pancreatic cells are attacked
  • In MS, autism and other mental and neurological problems the nervous system is attacked
  • Always more than one tissue is attacked

"We have drifted into this deplorable position of national malnutrition quite inadvertently. It's the result of scientific research with the objective of finding the best ways to create foods that are non-perishable that can be made by mass production methods in central factories, and distributed so cheaply that they can sweep all local competition from the market. Then, after there develops a suspicion that these 'foods' are inadequate to support life, modern advertising science steps in to propagandize the people into believing that there is nothing wrong with them; that they are products of scientific research intended to afford a food that is the last word in nutritive value. The confused public is totally unable to arrive at any conclusions of fact, and continues to blindly buy the rubbish that is killing them off years ahead of their time. The American people have been humbugged into digging their graves with their own teeth!

- Royal Lee, DDS, 1943

The Program

The GAPS diet is a healing protocol involving healing and sealing the gut lining, detoxification, repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria through dietary changes and supplementation.

The GAPS Diet

There are six stages of an INTRODUCTION DIET to follow before moving on to the FULL GAPS DIET. How fast or slow you move through the stages depends on the severity of your condition. The full GAPS diet itself generally lasts one to two years. 

Who Can Benefit From the GAPS Program?

Just about everyone could benefit from this program to some degree, especially if you have any of the health problems listed above. This is not a program for vegetarians/vegans as the diet releies heavily on bone broths and other traditional healing protocols. The first necessary step is to read the book: "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. There is also an abundance of information available on the internet. Recommended websites are gapsdiet.com, gapsdiet.me, westonaprice.org and youtube.com.


Dr. Donald L. Piccoli chiropractic physician, is certified in advanced Nutrition Response Testing and is the director of Holistic Solutions Health Center in Kensington, CT


THE GAPS DIET: Natural Digestive Healing

by Dr. Donald L. Piccoli 03/02/13