Part Four - GAPS and Heart Disease, Saturated Fat, Fussy Eating, Detoxification, and Why We Need Cholesterol

November 13, 2010

Natasha Campbell-McBride MD: Gut and Psychology Syndrome (Lecture 11/12/10, Friday 10-5)

What about heart disease?? Having spent many hours explaining to hundreds of people, I wrote a book about it, called “Put Your Heart In Your Mouth.” This will give you more details, and is fully referenced.

Briefly: there will be mainstream doctors, and pretty much everyone else, who will say, “You have high cholesterol, so you should not consume cholesterol.”

Blood cholesterol fluctuates constantly. It's not worth measuring. If you want to gauge your heart disease risk, measure C Reactive Protein. Dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol very much at all.

Fats and cholesterol are the essence of life. Cholesterol is one of those nutrients without which we cannot live. Nature went to great pains to provide every cell in the body with the means to produce cholesterol all the time. The liver produces it mainly, provides it to the bloodstream, and regulates levels in the body. Only about 50% comes from food. Up to 80% _can_ be made by the liver.

Cholesterol must be present to heal any damage in the body, and cannot repair without large amounts of it. Whether it's because you went to the dentist, or you got injured, or had surgery, or were going through a lot of stress and lots of free radical damage...if your doctor says that you have “high cholesterol,” you might wonder: where's the damage that needs healing? When damage or injury occurs, the liver gets this message and starts manufacturing cholesterol in large amounts. Don't mess with it! Don't interfere! Your body is doing something. (...All the steroid hormones in the body, our adrenal and sex hormones, are built from Cholesterol. Our low-fat and low-cholesterol diets can be linked to infertility because of all this. Infertile people have been studied extensively, and consistently have low levels of blood cholesterol.

Statins: cause crankiness, and memory loss, and sometimes dementia. Sometimes people say that their loved one has become a Whole Different Person... Most elderly people in this culture are on statins. One of the hungriest-for-cholesterol organs is the brain. Myelin is made from 20% cholesterol. Other brain structures require huge amounts of cholesterol for both structure and function. The brain needs new cholesterol constantly. This is why, when you give a person eggs and bacon for breakfast, they have a better memory and feel much better.

The older we become, the more cholesterol we need. We actually need to take steps to increase the cholesterol in the bodies of elderly patients.

So: GAPS patients have lots of rebuilding and healing to do, which is why cholesterol is so important in the GAPS diet. Additionally, vitamin D is made up of cholesterol. We live in a world of sun phobia and cholesterol phobia. Recent research is showing the catastrophic situation with vitamin D deficiency in western populations. You can't process sugar without it. Food is a fairly poor source of vitamin D, with cod liver oil being the richest food source. Fresh liver, from marine animals, and fish liver, are other good sources.


Fussy eating is often a first sign of GAPS. More than 90% of children with learning disabilities are “picky eaters” and limit their diet to sweet and starchy foods. These give the brain a pleasure signal. It happens on a subconscious level, but the kids get trapped in a cycle of cravings and dependencies. I have children who survived on one or two food items, looking like starving Ethiopian refugees, but medical professionals will often say, “They're fine! They'll start eating when they're hungry.” But in order to heal, you need to get the nutrients in.

(Siblings of autistic children often have digestive issues or eczema, and even without the autistic traits they are often very fussy eaters as well. They've got the same gut flora, but different variables; their blood-brain barrier maybe intact, and so even if they have a leaky gut, the toxins get distributed around the body and are cause lots of other issues.)

The most important thing for GAPS patients is that healthy, nutritious food is always served at home. That way, no matter what happens outside of the house, a GAPS kid always comes home to where the good food is.


A condition that also often shows up in GAPS babies, is “Failure to thrive.” First, a baby gets abnormal gut flora. While the baby is exclusively breastfed, this abnormal flora might not be a huge problem, since breast milk requires almost no digestion. There may be colic and screaming and diarrhea, but then when solids get introduced, there may be additional, unexplainable symptoms. Babies “learn” that Food makes me ill. They refuse solids, point blank. It is rare for a baby to get complete, full nutrition from breastmilk for more than six months. These babies often start losing weight, or can't gain any, and then get IV drips and lots of processed-carbohydrate “weaning foods” and synthetic formulas. Later on, these babies become kids with ADHD, or Autism.

For “Failure to Thrive,” I recommend the New Baby Diet. This diet is described on my website, Breastmilk should be given at each feeding after other high quality nutrition has been introduced. Start adding meat stocks, fermented foods, and then soups, and then raw egg yolks, and sometimes, commercial probiotic supplements. Continue with breastfeeding as long as possible.


It's important, but I don't recommend a lot of these--and the ones I do recommend are essentially foods. An effective probiotic can be useful, Vitamin A and D (from Cod Liver Oil), Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9).

Multi-Vitamins, minerals, or amino-acid supplements are NOT necessary unless an individual is not eating liver, and nutrient dense foods. These can be useful in bringing down some symptoms, until the the foods are getting eaten, but are not ideal.

Digestive Enzymes: HCI and Pepsin, and Pancreatic enzymes, can be useful, but not really for children. It's better to drink 1/3 cup of cabbage juice. Press 1 quart, and let ferment for 24 hours at room temperature. Cabbage is one of the strongest simulators of stomach acid.

We don't need any other supplements. There are no need for pills and padding the pockets of the supplement industry. Many are poor quality, and contain lots of ingredients that irritate the gut lining.


Yeast naturally thrives in an environment with some acidity...exactly like a GAPS patient's stomach, with its too-low stomach acid content. These patients often have lots of belching, burping, and gas after meals. Also, with reduced stomach acid, pathogens like candida can grow around the esophageal sphincter, and impair its function, causing “reflux.” Increasing the acidity in the stomach will help rid the stomach of pathogenic growth, and improve symptoms of indigestion.

Stomach acid is key: enough of this gives the signal to produce pancreatic enzymes, so that the chain reaction of digestion will start or re-start properly...)


Gaps patients are toxic, so, it's a great idea to help them detoxify! First, clean up the gut. It's the major source of toxicity in the body. Cleaning up what you eat means that the river of toxins drops dramatically.

There are many toxins that have affinities for fats, and (especially since the brain is mostly fat), it's a good idea to get them out. Fresh pressed green vegetable juices are the most therapeutic detoxifiers.

Baths with epsom salt, sea salt, or cider vinegar can be surprisingly effective detoxification measures. I recommend that you alternate these every day, ½ cup per bath. Seaweed powder can work well, as can baking soda (especially baking soda for fungal infections on the skin).


It's imperative to avoid toxin exposure, and personal care products like shampoo and soap and cosmetics are a major source of toxicity in our bodies. The skin absorbs pretty much everything that's put on it, sometimes in seconds. These products contain ingredients that enter our bloodstream in seconds. If we eat something, in theory it has to go through the liver before getting into the bloodstream. In the case of skin, it can enter the bloodstream immediately (Some people can taste deodorant and perfume in their mouths directly after application to their skin.) GAPS patients should not use commercial personal care items at all.

Teeth can be cleaned with olive oil, additionally with baking soda if desired.

Skin should not be washed with any soap at all--particularly the groin area. Soap removes oils from the skin, and also the beneficial flora on the skin which eats the oils. Wash with water and a loofah, but no soap and no potentially harmful ingredients. These things can be particularly harmful for small humans, even the ones you get for free when you walk out of the maternity ward. The poor babies don't need any of these things! The best things to use on the body are things like yogurt and kefir, olive oil, ghee, pork fat, sauerkraut, coconut oil.