Whether you’re a “health nerd” like me or not, you may have noticed how much attention gut health and the all-important “microbiome” has been getting in the last couple of years.
In every news feed you can be assured that there will be some mention of gut health if you follow health in general.
As a practitioner that has a special interest in digestive health, I find this very exciting. As the word gets out there, it means that more people are realizing that they don’t have to live with uncomfortable digestive complaints like bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, pain and intolerances.
As an individual who is interested in learning about gut health all this information may be daunting, leaving you even more confused! The best advice I can give you:
1. Understand that the best health benefits will come when you know how to apply the information and what is relevant for you at that particular moment
2. Individual focused health care will always get the best outcomes
I recently attended a conference that presented a huge range of recent research about the gut microbiome, or gut bacteria and how it is being linked to so many chronic disease states like:
auto immune disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, autism and inflammatory based diseases.
This supports the theories that the GAPS dietary protocols were built on back in 2004 by Dr. Natasha Campbell Mc Bride.
What is the GAPS diet?
The term GAPS refers to Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome. This was created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (Neurology), MMedSci (Human Nutrition) in 2004 after her experience working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ ADHD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, depression and other neurological problems.
Further research indicated the effectiveness of the GAPS diet on other conditions related to inflammation and disordered immune function.
The GAPS protocol has been shown to be effective in the treatment of all digestive disorders including: irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and gastritis. Other conditions related to GAPS include: Fibromyalgia, allergies, eczema, migraines, autoimmune disease and arthritis.
GAPS offers an in depth understanding of how the gut and brain are linked and what can happen when this connection becomes disordered. GAPS can also provide an explanation as to how imbalanced gut bacteria and a “leaky gut” can have profound detrimental effects on our health.
The main contributing factors in the development of GAPS includes, abnormal gut flora, abnormal digestion resulting in nutritional deficiencies and a damaged gut lining. The ability of the body to detoxify is also implicated, as detoxification pathways become less effective more symptoms are added to the GAPS picture.
How can Naturopathic treatment compliment the GAPS approach?
Within clinical practice combining this approach with the traditional naturopathic approach has led to some amazing transformations in patient health outcomes, even with those people who have experienced health complaints that are chronic in nature.
When we are using a traditional Naturopathic approach, we are taking the individual into account, this includes:
Health history as far back as birth and childhood
Dietary factors past and present
Medications and supplements used
Stress and the individual stress response
A thorough assessment of how all body systems are functioning and interacting
This is the key element to success…individual based treatment that is built on a thorough understanding of how the body is functioning and how particular factors are influencing this function for better or worse.
The gut microbiome and its function may be linked to many different disease states but it is not the only factor in the development of ill health and disease.
Our microbiome is as individual as we are and there is not one single approach that will be the cure all.
Is the GAPS diet and Naturopathic treatment for you?
You may benefit from the GAPS diet and Naturopathic treatment if you suffer from any of the following health conditions:
• Eating disorders
• Digestive issues
• Muscle aches and pains
• Food intolerances
• Inflammatory based conditions (IBD, Fibromyalgia)
• Skin issues
• Hormonal imbalance
• Mood alterations
• Memory and cognitive problems
• Anxiety and panic attack
• Autoimmune disease
• Frequent infections
• Allergies and hayfever
If you want to get the best outcome to help you improve your digestive complaints or you think that your medical diagnosis may be linked to the state of your gut bacteria, it is important to have the support of a practitioner that help to join all the dots for you.
There will be multiple factors affecting your ability to recover from illness or reach a more optimal state of health. It is likely that your microbiome will be linked but investigating other contributing factors and addressing these will lead to a better health outcome.Emma Tippett, Naturopath, is a fully qualified GAPS practitioner who can guide and support you through the GAPS diet protocol and is committed to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness.