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GAPS diet - the connection between gut health, diet and autism and other neurological disorders

My approach to life is that I always try to find a solution and even though someone tells me that things need to be perceived in a certain way I am trying to find a way around. I believe there are parents of children with autism, ADHD, dyslexia or other psychiatric - neurological disorders who are looking for alternatives for their children.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride created a special diet approach for such children and taking into account the basic and root cause of GAPS children I support her approach.

The GAPS diet's aim was to help children with Gut and Psychology Syndrome suffering from neurological and psychiatric conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression and others.

The digestive tract plays a significant role in the way our brain works - through vagus nerve we have plenty of connections between our gut and brain – there are even two times more neurons running in the gut -> brain direction comparing to the other way round.

GAPS diets is designed to remove foods that the body has difficulty digesting as well as eliminating damaging gut flora and replacing them with foods high in nutrients to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal.

There have been observed many common similarities among children with autism or other GAP syndromes:

  • - impaired digestive tract function (gut inflammation, infections and gut dysbiosis, food allergies and intolerance, low stomach acid level)

  • - impaired detoxification from external toxins (like heavy metals) and endotoxins (toxins produced internally, among others by unhealthy bacteria present in the gut) leading high accumulation of heavy metals (lead, mercury) and other toxins

  • - impaired immunity – unhealthy gut is also contributing to it taking into account that 70-80% of the immune cells are produced in the gut

  • - vitamins and minerals deficiencies – most common are Iron, zinc, vit. A, vit. E, vit. D and vit. C and B vitamins

  • - higher oxidative stress

This is a simplified description what what are the basics of GAPS diet's recommendations:

  • - promoting broth (chicken, bone or fish) every day, they are full of amino acids which are helping the gut lining to rejuvenate as well supporting immune system

  • - removing food which is destroying gut lining and are causing inflammation – gluten, grains and starches, sugar and sweeteners, processed food, beans

  • - adding antimicrobial spices like garlic, oregano, turmeric

  • - adding fermented food like sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt

  • - promoting organic meat products, especially liver which is a great source of valuable nutrients: vitamin A, iron, vit. B12, folate, riboflavin, eggs and animal based fats like butter, duck or goose fat

  • - promoting other healthy fat sources like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds (especially in the grounded form)

  • - promoting drinking fresh pressed vegetable juices and herbal teas

  • -promoting non-starchy vegetables and low sugar fruits

In my clinic I provide a combination of GAPS diet with additional advice focusing on gut healing, natural liver and detoxification support and nutritional value of the food. I give also advice on the environment and lifestyle which play also a big role in the children’s health.

For GAPS children it would be recommended to run functional medicine testing before starting the therapy, There are test reviewing gut health: gut microbiome diversity and pathological bacetria, inflammatory markers in the gut, digestive enzymes, organic acid tests providing more information about metabolism in our body, hair mineral analysis giving insight into mineral deficiencies or heavy metals.

If you got interested please have a look at the 12-weeks program for children with GAPS and also functional medicine testing which can be ordered.

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