A neurologist trained in Russia, now practicing in the UK, has developed a program to heal the digestive tract, which has greatly benefited her patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride believes that brain dysfuction is usually connected to problems in the digestive system. She calls her program “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (or GAPS) and has written a book titled “Gut and Psychology Syndrome – Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia”.
Dr. McBride became interested in nutrition when her son was diagnosed with autism. Her research resulted in her obtaining a master’s degree in human nutrition – and in the full recovery of her son who is now symptom free. In her book McBride explains how the digestive system affects many other areas of our health including the nervous system.
There are three parts to the GAPS program:
1. A special diet to support the regeneration of the enterocytes which line the digestive tract
2. Probiotics and fermented foods to establish healthy bacteria in the gut
3. Gentle detoxification
We produce important neurotransmitters in the gut, including serotonin. This may partially explain the connection between an unhealthy gut and neurological disorders. A healthy gut lining also prevents toxins, microbes and partially digested proteins from entering the bloodstream where they can trigger a wide range of health problems throughout the body including the brain. This situation, called “Leaky Gut Syndrome” would be a good topic for a future column.
You can learn more about Dr. McBride and the GAPS program at www.doctor-natasha.com and www.GAPS.me. On the latter website there is a list of practitioners trained to lead you through the program – the closest are three in Alberta.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.