I wrote about GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) in January 2012 (Column #147). Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a Russian trained neurologist practicing in the UK, discovered that all of her young patients with allergic, neurological, and psychiatric disorders – asthma, eczema, autism, ADD/ADHD, dyspraxia, and dyslexia – also had digestive problems. These children tended to be fussy eaters, complained of abdominal discomfort and had abnormal stools. When the digestive disorders were treated with a special diet, probiotics, and detoxification, the allergy and neurological conditions improved dramatically or disappeared altogether.
What is the connection between our gut and neurological health? A large part of the answer has to do with our intestinal flora – the bacteria, fungi and viruses that live in our gut. A healthy population of good bacteria has many health benefits:
• protects us from pathological microorganisms which can cause disease
• absorbs and neutralizes toxins including heavy metals
• absorbs many carcinogens and suppresses development of cancer
• protects the gut wall from pathogens which cause inflammation (IBD)
• digests cellulose (fiber) and lactose (milk sugar)
• synthesizes vitamins K2, B1, B2, B6 and B12
• prevents toxins, microbes and partially digested proteins from entering the blood stream where they can trigger allergies and other health problems
• controls certain iron-loving bacteria which cause anemia (iron supplements only make these bacteria stronger)
• nourishes the endothelial cells of the gut wall which in turn digest and absorb nutrients from our food to nourish the rest of our body.
Dr McBride sums it up: “A well-functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health.” Her GAPS patients were commonly deficient in magnesium, zinc, selenium copper, calcium, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, A, D, folic acid, pantothenic acid, omega 3, 6 & 9 efas, taurine, glutathione, and others. Small wonder they also suffered from neurological and other conditions.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.