GAPS 101

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Gut and Physiology Syndrome. GAPS is a term coined by Dr. Natasha McBride MD. Through her extensive research and medical practice, Dr. McBride created GAPS to establish a connection between the state of a person’s digestive system with the health of the brain and the rest of the body.

As she and other scientists explain, the human gut is teeming with trillions of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, worms, algae, etc.) collectively referred to as the ‘gut flora’. When the gut flora is alive and thriving, these tiny microbes work together to perform several essential functions.

A healthy gut flora –

  • Protects the digestive track from outside invaders and toxins
  • Supports digestion and absorption of food
  • Synthesizes nutrients for use throughout the body

An unhealthy gut flora, on the other hand –

  • Exposes the digestive track to outside invaders and toxins
  • Hinders normal/complete digestion and absorption of food
  • Produces nutritional deficiencies, food intolerances, and damage to the gut wall

Commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’, over time and left un-checked, this can create havoc throughout the body. A damaged or leaky gut –

  • Enables opportunistic and pathogenic microbes to take over the gut flora producing toxins that are digested, absorbed, and carried via blood/lymph system throughout the body – some crossing the blood-brain barrier into the brain
  • Causes the immune system to consume maldigested food and toxins as its energy source compromising its ability to function
  • Provokes inflammation/ damage throughout the body including the brain
  • Overwhelms organs that remove toxins from the body

According to a growing body of research, an unhealthy gut fuels GAPS conditions for distress, disorder, and disease.