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“Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

23 Jan

On a seemingly ordinary day in August of 2013,  I awoke with a lot of pressure in my sinuses.  A quick check in the mirror confirmed that my face, was no longer my own; it had swollen and morphed in very inhuman state, and as my boyfriend awoke, I smiled at him and jokingly said “look babe, my face changed.”

Like the loving man he is, this mutation and sudden exhaustion did not detour him from making it one of the most memorable days of our relationship.  Even though I slept through our hiking plans, drudged and moaned throughout the house, and broke into tears in the grocery store because my body was “confused” (the uppers of Sudafed do not mix well with the woozy, hallucinating affects of lots of Benadryl), he proposed that night.  My swollen face and I said yes over take-out Thai to the repeating trumpets of the Princess Bride DVD title page.

The next day, still swollen, emotional and confused, I went to urgent care.  They suspected Sinusitis and prescribed a “Z-pack” (Azithromycin) – a mega antibiotic that wipes your body of bacteria (good and bad) in 3 – 5 days.  By the time I arrived at the surprise engagement party that night, my face was back to normal.  Thank goodness for the Z-pack, right?

Not quite.

Flash forward to 2014 and you’d find it was a difficult year, and it was definitely a difficult year health-wise.  I’m a really healthy person, yet I found myself with recurring bouts of sinusitis and yeast infections, unexplained allergic reactions and constant fatigue.

To get to the bottom of things, I made the trek to Encinitas to see an incredible (and quirky) doctor I’ve been going to for years, Dr. Andrew Specht.  He informed me I was suffering from systematic yeast overgrowth.

I was shocked.  How did this happened?

As I chatted about it with friends, My sister-in-law and total sage pointed me to a book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  It has changed the way I see food and nutrition, and allowed me to pinpoint the beginnings of my struggles to that fateful day where I took my first “Z-Pak”.


By Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride makes the argument that all diseases begin in the gut; digestive issues and ADHA/ADD/dyslexia, etc. all overlap.   For me, the book illuminated how that strong antibiotic can cause a chain reaction of events in your digestive system that lead to candida overgrowth and a flurry of symptoms like: allergies, fatigue, recurring viral infections, yeast infections, sinus infections, eczema, asthma, etc. The main theme of argument of Gut and Psychology Syndrome is thus:

Balancing an imbalance of gut flora in your digestive system can be a natural treatment for children and adults suffering from Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other psychological and auto immune disorders. 

For anyone seriously interested in the information, I highly recommend purchasing her book.   Some notes below and in upcoming posts:


There is a natural balance amongst the 3 types of bacteria in the gut.:

  1. Essential bacteria
  2. Opportunistic bacteria
  3. Transitional flora.


When the gut becomes imbalanced, opportunistic flora take over, and:

  • produce toxic byproducts of their metabolism
  • damage gut wall, making it leaky
  • cause an overproduction if histamines

If beneficial bacterial are damaged and depleting, the walls of the gut are malnourished and compromised and become subject to candida and other opportunistic bacteria.

The absence of good bacteria always coincides with bad bacteria getting out of control and the inability for the digestive system to function properly.  Wheat (gluten) & milk (casein) are good examples. First, in the stomach, they get hit with digestive juices and get split into peptides. Then, peptides move to the small intestine and are hit with pancreatic juices and are broken down by enzymes (called peptidases) by the microvilli of enterocytes. This last stage is missing in people with abnormal gut flora because their enterocytes are distressed. A poor state of enterocytes means the system won’t work. Casomorphines & gluteomorphines slip through the enterocytes and get absorbed into the bloodstream and cause issues with brain function and immune system function.  The poor state of enterocytes also means good minerals, vitamins, waters and gases do not get absorbed.

Healthy Gut

Healthy Gut

Most people with abnormal gut flora have various stages of anemia and become predisposed to atopic or allergic reactions, chronic inflammation autoimmunity, chronic viral infection, chronic fatigue, candidiasis, asthma, eczema, ADD, autism, etc.


  1. Antibiotics: They eliminate good bacteria (hence being crucial times for probiotics).  Most antibiotics require 2-4 weeks for the beneficial gut flora to recover.
  2. Antifungal Antibiotics
  3. The pill
  4. Painkillers
  5. Steroids
  6. Diet (fiber, sugar and carbs)
  7. Fasting
  8. Stress


  • Candida highjacks dietary sugars and beaks them down through a process of alcoholic fermentation producing the byproducts of alcohol (ethanol) and acetaldehyde.   An overgrowth of yeast causes symptoms of alcohol consumption, and in the case of pregnancy, can effect the child’s development.  Alcohol and acetaldehyde also bind to proteins and block absorption of essential nutrients like Vitamin B6 an thyroid hormones.
  • Gluten & Milk produce gluteomorphins and casomorphins which are similar in their structure to opiates, such as morphine and heroin.  When not processed correctly by the digestive system, they can leak into the bloodstream.



GAPS patients should avoid:

  1. All processed foods
  2. All grains and anything made out of them (including quinoa and millet)
  3. All starchy vegetables and anything made out of them (including yams)
  4. Sugar and anything that contains it
  5. Starchy beans and peas
  6. Lactose and anything that contains it (real allergy to milk is one of the most common allergies in existence, because dairy products have a wide variety of anitgens and is a main reason for infantile colic).
    1. For GAPS patients, home-fermented dairy products are recommended (yoghurt, sour cream & kefir).
    2. Intro in order: Ghee (homemade) has no lactose and most GAPS patients can handle it, then butter, then fermented dairy


Dr. Natasha CAmpbell-McBride also goes into depth into a variety of topics in her book which I will not cover in my posts, including: eating disorders, getting your child to eat, extended information on probiotics, good fats and bad fats, cod liver oil, digestive enzymes, vitamin & mineral supplements, different issues of GAPS patients (like ear infections, constipation, etc) and pre-conception & pregnancy recommendations