Part Two - GAPS and Autoimmunity, Anorexia, Epilepsy, and The Liver

November 13, 2010

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

A damaged gut lets toxins and microbes through into the blood stream, which creates general toxicity in the body, and then the immune system reacts, adding autoimmunity to the equation.

When undigested proteins are absorbed, the body says, “Hey! I don't recognize you!” and at that point, creates antibodies. Then a mimicking phenomenon takes place... For example: strep has some proteins that are very similar to other proteins in our own bodies. (Other toxins that abnormal gut flora produce, also like to attach themselves to proteins.) These rogue strep proteins will find a nice home-produced protein and attach and change the structure of that home-protein. Like, for example, collagen. There are many different forms of collagen produced in the body, since it's a lot of what holds us together. This newly-changed protein becomes a toxin that the body doesn't recognize, and starts attacking its own proteins.


Everything that doesn't get absorbed in the gut goes to the liver for further work. The liver is the first port of call for water soluble nutrients AND toxins.

In GAPS, there's greatly increased toxic flow from the gut. The toxicity causes a traffic jam. There are blocked detoxification pathways, and toxins bypass filtration and go into the bloodstream. These toxins can include heavy metals, phenols, petro-chemicals, glue adhesives, agricultural chemicals, personal care and cleaning product ingredients, plasticizers, by-products of the body's own metabolism, etc. Many neurotransmitters are also recycled by the liver; the body fills up with partially broken down serotonin, and dopamine, etc., which are still partly active but don't work properly, as in the case of many “neurological” ailments.

One detoxification method that the liver employs are bilestones (sp?). You'll find if you cut one in half, there's an infection in the middle of each. The beginnings of these are substances that get into the liver that can't then be easily eliminated, so instead of detoxifying immediately, the liver holds the toxin in a layer of bile that is initially soft and pliable. If we eat lots of fat, and thus stimulate bile production, our body will soon squeeze this mass out along with normal bile flow. These stones form all the time, as a normal process.

But if the stone is not passed out quickly, within a few weeks, it begins to harden and grow, and develops a rough surface and protrusions and can't be passed easily. If the gut is damaged, there's even more toxin flow activity, and more stones.

“I can't digest fats! I feel ill!” A lot of people have bile ducts clogged with these stones, and the toxicity is so high that even more than the usual number of bile stones are formed, creating a positive feedback loop where there's not enough bile to digest the fats, and you eat less... In this case, you should still continue to increase fats, just gradually. Your liver will gradually pass out the stones and be able to digest more and more fat. Fresh pressed juices start dissolving the hard stones.


Whatever the liver doesn't clean up, next gets delivered to the lungs. (For instance, toxic gases escape this way.) Toxins, undigested proteins, microbes, phagocytes--these ride up the “mucociliary [sp?] escalator.” This escalator consists of every cell that lines our breathing pathways, which have stiff little hairs that produce mucous and point upwards. Toxins move up along the hairs and they get coughed up. When too much toxic material accumulates, enough to damage the broncii, your boy will get a chest inflammation, or bronchitis--not due to a virus or a cold, just due to the level of toxicity in the bronchii that has built up a little too high, and needs to detoxify.

Sometimes, toxic gases end up escaping through the broncii, gases that would normally be dealt with by the liver. These can do serious damage the bronchii. What the body does to defend itself is to create a bronchospasm (wheeze). During this time, for the 20-25 minutes that it takes for new cells to push the damaged ones out of the way and begin to do the important job of filtration (“directing the traffic” in the bronchii), the bronchii narrows to slow down the “cars.” (If the cars and lorries are zooming by too quickly, while the speedy road repair is taking place, there will be further damage to the cells. This temporary road closure allows healing to take place efficiently.)

Once the passage clears, and the new cells are working, the airway opens. Wheezing is a protective mechanism for healing bronchii, which illustrates exactly why asthma inhalers can be so damaging: by forcing the airways open at exactly the moments they need to be closed for cellular repair. All that people generally need is sit up during a bronchospasm, keep warm, and let it pass. For a long time, that's all the advice doctors ever gave. Now that we have widespread use of antispasmodic drugs (just since the 1950s-60s), no allowing the bronchii to repair, we have airways getting further damaged with every bronchospasm, with all this high-speed toxin traffic jetting by and not slowing down to give the airways a chance.

(Because, of course, inhalers forces passages to open, but the toxins keep coming. Asthma used to be a benign and mild healing event. Now it is one of the major childhood killers.


And so there we have...
These are some of the ways that elimination of toxins and undigested food causes symptoms through every detox pathway:

--lungs: asthma, other chronic chest infections
--skin: eczema, other skin problems like psoriasis and dermatitis
--urine: toxic urine accumulates in the bladder and the toxins strip the protective layer inside the so it becomes it's inflamed and sore. At this point, small amounts of urine is not tolerated, and then the bladder constantly needs to be emptied (and if this happens during a deep stage of sleep, bed wetting occurs). The doctor tests the urine, finds nothing there, says the cystitis is in your mind. But though there's no bacteria, there are the microbe's toxins. Yeast overgrowth can also occur: when there's thrush; microbes travel from the bowel to the groin, and travel into the bladder. Doctors can see this when it's present, usually because toxic e. coli also grows alongside. But when the e. coli is removed, generally with antibiotics, the thrush continues to thrive and increase.
--mucous membranes: sinusitis, post nasal drip, rhinitis, gingivitis, vaginitis, diarrhea/constipation _Every mucous membrane is a normal detox pathway, that can get overloaded._

And, autoimmunity always joins in, caused by mal-absorption of proteins and toxins through the damaged gut wall. As the immune system recognizes invaders, that sometimes attach to and mimic the body's own proteins, the immune system produces antibodies which then attack the body's own tissues.

For instance:
In type 1 diabetes--”insulin dependent diabetes”--pancreatic cells are attacked. (Natasha Campbell-McBride has clinical experience healing children's guts and eliminating the need for insulin in these cases.) In celiac disease, cells lining the small intestine are attacked. In MS, autism and other neurological problem, the nervous system is attacked. Myelin coats the nerves like the sheathing on electrical wires. Certain toxins have an affinity for the fatty structures in the myelin, and when the immune system doesn't recognize these new structures it can actually produce antibodies to myelin.

Always more than one tissue is attacked, because there is always more than one toxin leaking through the gut, and the body tries to deal as best it can.

This is an underlying cause of issues like eczema, M.S., diabetes, arthritis of any kind, fybromyalgia, You're not tired because you've got “chronic fatigue”--you're tired because you're toxic. Your body can't focus on producing energy, and fatigue comes first.

In the case of autism, circulating toxins reach the blood brain barrier and gets through to the brain. Usually, the Barrier is very selective in letting things through. The cells that create this barrier are very similar to entrerocyctes--the ones in the gut. These cells also have glue like junctions, with proteins holding them together. Toxins that dissolve the glue in the gut wall can also dissolve the glue in the blood brain barrier.

So: microbial toxins open the junctions, toxins and microbes and antibodies get through, and impaired brain function leads to impaired learning, behaviors, social skills, and perception.

Epileptic seizures are powerful electric signals passing through the brain, which is partly the body's way of destroying a lot of toxins in one go--people can often be incredibly lucid directly after a seizure.

Diagnoses of children with brain toxicity can range from autism, to ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, dyspraxia, and a large group of “learning and behavioral and social problems” that don't fit into any good diagnostic box. In the latter cases, doctors analyze a patient, and say, “Come back in six months, and well see how it goes.” These kids have a bit of autism, a bit of OCD, a bit emotional instability, a few food allergies, but nothing fits exactly. So doctors don't give a diagnosis, and parents don't seek solutions, and meanwhile valuable time is lost that could be used in healing the gut.

Unless you do something, GAPS doesn't generally go away. As adults, it can manifest as something like substance abuse. GAPS patients can feel a void in their lives, when they can't study as well as their peers and can't function socially all that well, and their self-esteem takes a battering. Chronic depression is a GAPS condition; eating disorders; obsessive compulsive disorder, manic-depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy...these MUST BE TREATED DIGESTIVELY.


Epilepsy occurs in 1% of the population under the age of 20, but in 50% of children with mental problems. The condition is immensely complicated. Epilepsy can involve various tics, as well as so many varied symptoms that on their own do not quite qualify for the diagnosis. In 70% of epileptics, no cause is apparent--in other words, they get the diagnosis of “idiopathic” epilepsy. Unfortunately, the way that medicine is generally practiced, doctors are not encouraged to search for the cause, but to give medication. These meds are generally taken for life, and often provoke serious side effects during that time. I believe that in the vast majority of cases, childhood epilepsy is due to toxicity coming from the gut and the treatment needs to concentrate on the gut health.

Also: parents pass their gut flora, and their learned behaviors to us. Through these things, we can acquire a lot of the same illnesses that they suffer from.


Eating disorders often begin with nutritional deficiencies (poor diet, GAPS, vegetarianism, etc.). Eventually, the disorders progress and end up killing more people than any other mental disorder.

How it develops: first, the deficiencies. Children grow up with very mild GAPS, leading to a growing toxicity. At first it's due to a choice in diet. Vegetarianism is often the anorexic's choice, and the majority of these vegetarians get starch-addicted, and then they start to gain weight. They obviously want to lose this weight, so they inevitably cut out fats, leading to vitamins A and D deficiencies, and their immune systems begin to collapse. They develop mono, or scarlet fever, or long term serious infections, and get a round or several of antibiotics. These patients often catch everything, as the damage to their gut flora grows.

These kids/teens were originally pretty healthy, before the antibiotics, but now they develop full-blown GAPS, and their main neurological symptom is altered PERCEPTION. When an anorexic girl looks in the mirror, she doesn't see emaciation: she sees obesity and layers and layers of fat. She's not _wrong_, or manipulating us on purpose – but her perception is a malfunctioning in the brain, because the brain is clogged with toxicity, and she will do anything not to eat.

It's not only body perception that is affected. There's usually a distorted perception of human relationships, and right and wrong, as well. It's not “all in the mind”--it's a physical sickness.

People with eating disorders generally count calories obsessively, and they live with their scales. The mainstream approach, in eating disorder clinics is, “get them to eat anything.” This means, in reality, lots of carbs. Starches. Sugars. These girls put weight on quite quickly with the forced feeding, which is the worst thing that could happen, because their physical perception has not changed. As soon as they're released from what feels like prison, they can't wait to lose the weight. And all the time, their gut microbes are gaining traction.

We need to heal and seal the gut, stop the flow of toxins into their brains that impairs the self-perception. The first stage of treatment with GAPS is: “getting to the bingo day.”

First: these patients need to go on the GAPS intro: meat stock, bone broth, vegetable soup, and supplements. “No anorexic ever refused pills.” We give them high doses of amino acids, vitamins A and D... We give them all these things to support the production of neurotransmitters until they're receiving the nutrients from food. You go on this way for a couple of weeks, waiting until you get to The Bingo Day. This is when the brain has moved to the point where it's making enough nerurotransmitters to break through the toxicity: on this day, the patient looks into the mirror and says, “Oh my goodness, how awful I look!” And she sees that she needs to eat.

At this point, she can start eating eggs, and meats, and then she will reduce and eliminate the supplements. (But not too quickly, before neurotransmitters are being produced steadily enough.)