What GAPS can do for you?
GAPS can help two categories of symptoms: Psychological Symptoms and Physiological Symptoms.
Psychological Symptoms: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Bipolar Disorder, Panic Attacks, Addictions, Epilepsy, Eating Disorders, and many other conditions such as Mood Swings, Memory and Cognition issues, Tics and Involuntary Movements, Inappropriate Social Behaviors…etc.
Physiological Symptoms: Auto-Immune Diseases (Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Vitiligo, Hashimoto Thyroiditis…) and also Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Constipation or Diarrhea, Eczema, Dermatitis, Asthma, and Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Hormonal Imbalances, Allergies, Chemical Sensitivities, and Food Intolerances.
Now let’s see how GAPS can help in more details.
GAPS and Autism
GAPS can help children and adults who suffer from autism, and / or are on the Autism Spectrum. All patients suffering from autism have gastro-intestinal disorders, and it is their gut flora imbalances that are affecting the proper function of their brain. The GAPS diet as well as a specific nutritional program, and the detoxification of their body will help autism patients to slowly recover from their symptoms.
The GAPS program was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D. who’s son was diagnosed with autism. Researching what could a mother could do to help her son, Dr. Campbell-McBride found the work of an American pediatrician by the name of Dr. Sidney Hass. Dr. Haas was able to completely cure Celiac Disease by putting his patients on a very Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This Specific Carbohydrate Diet was rediscovered by Elaine Gottschall who wrote a book called “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” Mrs. Gottshall’s daughter suffered from Ulcerative Colitis and Epilepsy. After putting her daughter on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Mrs. Gottshall’s daughter’s seizures stopped, followed by the healing of her ulcerated colon.
Dr. Campbell-McBride slightly modified the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and applied it to her son, who completely recovered from Autism. This remarkable personal success led Dr. Campbell-McBride to apply this diet to many of her patients with great success. As a result, Dr. Campbell-McBride created the concept of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS.
GAPS and Mood disorders
Depression, stress, anxiety, chronic insomnia, anorexia, ADD, ADHD, or panic attacks…all these conditions involve some type of brain chemistry imbalances, mostly due to gut flora imbalances. Applying the GAPS program as well as assessing Neurotransmitters through specific questionnaires allows Béatrice Levinson to determine the excesses or deficiencies from which the brain is suffering. It can be lacks of serotonin, dopamine, or GABA; or it can be an excess of cortisol, adrenalin, or catecholamine, etc.… With tailored supplementation and the GAPS diet, we can rebalance the brain chemistry, which reduces or even suppresses numerous memory, emotional and mood disorders.
An auto-immune disease is a process where the body “attacks” itself: it can be Rheumatoid Arthritis (R.A.), Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, interstitial cystitis, Sjogren’s disease, Diabetes Type I, or Psoriasis as just a few examples. In every single case, there is always a source of inflammation, which makes the body secrete antibodies against specific tissues. My goal as a Naturopath, is to determine what may cause this chronic state of inflammation, remove these causes if possible, and then help the immune system to rebalance itself with appropriate supplements and diet. Many of my clients are able to improve their autoimmune conditions, and many others are able to stop the disease from evolving further.
Chronic digestive disorders
A healthy digestive system is the key to Health. Hippocrates believed that 80% of diseases started in the gut. The more I practice, the more I believe in this statement. It could be constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, acid reflux, ulcers, hiatal hernia, IBS, IBD, GERD, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, chronic candidiasis, parasite infestation, ulcerative colitis, leaky gut syndrome, etc. it doesn’t matter… the important point is that any digestive disorder creates a cascade of dysfunctions in the body such as malabsorption, fatigue, skin troubles, chronic headaches, brain fog, or even auto-immune diseases. It is imperative to re-create balance in the digestive system and the GAPS diet contributes to this to a great extent. Digestion and Diet are always priorities in my practice.
Because chemicals surround our world, our bodies are exposed to an extensive amount of chemicals, which disrupt the fragile balance of hormones. Here are just a few examples:
- Plastic bottles emanate phthalate, a cancerous chemical that disrupts hormones.
- Hydrogenated oils disrupt the balance of Omega 3, 6, and 9’s, which lead to hormonal imbalances.
- Industrial animal meat pumped with growth hormones ends up in our blood stream, disrupting our hormones.
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners affect the blood sugar, which leads to more hormonal imbalances.
- Aluminum, Teflon, and the like find their way into breast tissues, and increase estrogen levels.
- Chlorine systematically put in city waters deregulates the thyroid gland.
When we understand how these chemicals affect our bodies, it is really no wonder why patients suffer from hormonal imbalances. My task is to educate people about these chemicals; test their hormones; rebalance their hormones with supplements and diet, in order to prevent cancer, and to re-harmonize their hormones.
Symptoms may be: adrenal fatigue, infertility, mood swings, low libido, hot flashes and night sweats, amenorrhea, estrogen dominance, fatigue and irritability, fibroids, irregular periods, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), etc., but in each and every case, a tailored GAPS diet will be helpful.
The Thyroid is called the master gland, which means that it affects every single tissue in the body. This means that you may lose your hair because of your thyroid, or you may be fatigued and gaining weight, but it also means that your memory may be declining, your arthritis is flaring up, or you suddenly become abnormally anxious or depressed. This huge array of symptoms could be due to a thyroid dysfunction, which seems to be a real epidemic at present, due to the increased levels of pollution and poor diet. Thyroid diseases are usually poorly addressed by Western Medicine, which consists only of replacing T4 and sometimes T3. On the other hand, Natural Medicine looks at the root causes of the thyroid disorders, which then makes the treatment much more efficient, and improves the patient’s thyroid condition more dramatically.
Symptoms associated with thyroid disease may be: anxiety, depression, digestive issues, fatigue, infertility, hair loss, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves disease, low body temperature, skin rashes, menstrual irregularities, weight gain, etc.
Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
Along with obesity and diabetes, cardiovascular diseases are the top reasons causing death in America. Fortunately, most cardiovascular diseases are preventable through proper diet and supplementation. In order to address a patient with excess cholesterol, for example, we need to determine what is causing the cholesterol to go up in the first place. Cholesterol is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, so the simplistic approach of lowering it without addressing the reason why it would be elevated, is not very helpful.
In Functional Medicine, we search for the causes of inflammation, which then allow us to naturally reduce the level of cholesterol without medication. The same approach is true for arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or any type of cardiac disease.
The GAPS diet associated with specific supplementation car help symptoms such as: Atherosclerosis, Atrial Fibrillation, Clogged Arteries, Heart Attack, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, irregular, Heartbeat, Stroke, Tachycardia.
Diabetes, pre-diabetes, and weight loss
Although the GAPS diet is not a weight loss program per say, the majority of patients will lose weight while implementing it, which is usually a welcomed “side effect”.
Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Type II, called metabolic disorders, are just that: a metabolic disorder due to inappropriate diet. When a person embraces a GAPS program, she or he will see her / his blood sugar drop naturally and steadily to a point of stability. This is explained by the fact that not only GAPS diet is a carbohydrate restricted diet, but also is re-balancing gut flora, which controls the metabolism.
So, again the GAPS diet, with a personalized program will allow patients to loser weight, to detoxify, and reduce their fasting glucose, as well as A1C (Hemoglobin A1C).
Fatigue and sleep
Fatigue is such a common complaint that people tend to believe that it is normal to feel this way. To the contrary, I believe that a body well nourished and well rested should have plenty of sustained energy all day long.
There are many reasons for chronic fatigue, which I determine by testing the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland, but also assessing Neurotransmitters, diet habits, blood sugar imbalances, anemia, and chronic infections, which are often underneath causes of chronic fatigue (Lyme disease, Epstein Bar virus, Herpes virus, Cytomegalovirus, etc.).
Insomnia also has numerous causes, and again my approach is to test the person in order to determine what his / her reasons for not sleeping may be.
There are several additional health issues that can be addressed by GAPS diet coupled with appropriate and individualized programs, such as: arthritis, bone loss, food allergies and intolerances, excessive histamine reactions, mast cells activation, chronic headaches, skin diseases, bulimia, anorexia, etc.
The methodology that I use is as follows:
- Assess the person throughout detailed questionnaire during the first consultation.
- Read and interpret previous tests.
- Order further testing if necessary: blood test, comprehensive stool analysis, Organic Acid Test, heavy metals tests, Amino acid tests, Food intolerances test, toxic load test, hormones tests, adrenals tests, etc.
- Build an individualized nutrition program.
- Address issues according to results of testing.
- Follow up and accompany the patients throughout his / her diet changes, supplementation programs, and detoxification program.
This process can take six months to two years, or more sometimes, and requires that the persons I work with, be committed in order to really improve his / her health or the health of their child.
If you are committed, then I am committed, and I will guide you always until you attain recovery!
Yours in health,
Béatrice Levinson Naturopath & Certified GAPS Practitioner