The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet was created by neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride almost 20 years ago. When her young son was diagnosed with autism, she looked to nutrition to find a solution to this modern disease that has become an epidemic. By studying the gut-brain connection thoroughly, she moved passed the semi-helpful gluten-free, dairy-free diet, to design a nutrition and detox protocol which completely restores gut health, removes brain and body toxins, and heals children of autism.
Is there really a connection between gut health and mental health?
Absolutely. If you ask any mother of an autistic child, she will undoubtedly tell you of her child’s serious digestive problems. Many children suffer from constipation, diarrhea or both. At the very least they will suffer from a bloated belly after eating. I have not heard of an autistic child that does not have severe digestive problems, other than those who were vaccine injured (but let’s leave that for another day).
The GAPS diet has had extreme success with autism and many other physical ailments over the years. It is by no means a fad diet. With the growing epidemic of autism it becoming more relevant every day!
How an unhealthy gut influences mental development:
Our digestive tract is meant to use bacteria, and enterocytes to assimilate nutrients from our food and efficiently pass along the by-products out of our bowel. Those broken down nutrients are then used in all different systems of the body. Unfortunately, most people have an unbalanced ecosystem in their digestive tract, due to western diets high in processed foods (even healthy foods like organic rice crackers). This could manifest in an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, insufficient stomach acid and an inflamed proliferated gut wall which should be sealed shut.
When you have an penetrated gut wall, foods that should be broken down, leak into the blood stream. This causes our immune system to attack these foods (autoimmune disease) and often leads to food intolerances. When food slips into the blood stream it goes with the flow, passes the blood brain barrier and acts as a toxin in the brain. The result? A toxic brain, unable to communicate effectively with the body.
This doesn’t only manifest in autism, but also ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, anxiety, poor memory, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. All of these symptoms are from the same root cause, a toxic brain.
How do you heal a toxic brain?
The good news is that our body always wants to heal itself. Your body has many self-cleansing mechanisms that work very efficiently at removing toxins, but often times, those with gut imbalances have broken detox pathways. Your body may be so focused on the constant supply of incoming toxins that it can barely get rid of the old ones (like trying to empty a bath tub with your hands while the water is still running). To get rid of these toxins we must first address where they are coming from and prevent new ones from entering the body. In this case, that means healing the gut so food can no longer leak into the blood stream.
This is where the GAPS nutrition protocol comes in. By focusing on soothing foods like meat stocks, healthy fats and gelatinous meats, and removing irritating foods like grains, and high fibre, starchy plant matter we are encouraging the mucosa layer of our gut wall to repair itself. As the walls of the gut heal, it inevitably creates a healthy, low toxin ecosystem where nutrients can be used as God intended. This further prevents toxins from entering the blood stream, leaving you with a clean brain that can communicate your thoughts, moods and behaviours effectively!
If you’re intrigued, and think you may be in need of this type of gut healing diet, stay tuned. In part two I will discuss common symptoms that the diet heals, and a more specific overview of the diet!