All health and healing is dependent in large part on an unusual and rare diet. It is not the Standard American Diet (SAD). It is sometimes called a traditional diet– I like to call it a natural diet from naturally grown foods– the way foods were before modern, industrial foods were made, and of course, convenient and fast food.
The proper diet includes many of the foods that we have been taught causes health problems. (That is another story itself). If you cannot get this right and make substantial improvements in your diet, there will be continued degeneration and a lack of regeneration of the cells, and even DNA, within your body. This would be true for physical health and, from logical extension and clinical studies, mental health. (In the movie Super-size Me, the man got progressively sicker during the three months from eating everything at McDonald’s– the hamburgers and fries that do not decompose after a year.)
My interests are in autism and other neurological disorders– prevention, causation and healing with natural foods and other protocols. This is because my son has autism and several other mental disorders. It is interesting to note that this finding correlates with the progressive deterioration of American diets through generations and the increase of vaccinations to the extent that one in six children have learning disabilities and asthma and allergies are escalating. One could only think the rates of increase will climb as these factors are not changing.
So in the past year, I came upon Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s highly esteemed work that gives remarkable results for a high percentage of her patients. I will have the chance to meet her and take my second class on the subject next month.
Also, I had read two papers about the intestines being the second brain. Some of them are surely listed here. (more later on this) The gut produces many of the vital brain chemicals necessary for good mental health. These papers examine in some detail the miracle of digestion. So, there is no question that serious healing must be accompanied by nutrient-dense diets– and in some cases rather extreme changes, at least for a while.
Kathryne Pirtle and I spoke by telephone this week and encouraged me to look at her review of the book by Natasha on natural treatment for autism and other neurological disorders. It is the best review I have read yet.
Before I introduce, Kathryne’s review, Annie and I opened our iShop featuring eBooks. Kathryne’s book is called on curing Acid-Reflux Disease with food is in the iShop which you can have right now by clicking the image. This is to give back to many of the contributors of the Journal and other fine writers–and of course Annie and I and to help with our other projects, including our autism treatment project. Just click the image and peruse it.
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Understand How Poor Digestion Affects Mental Health in the Book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”
Gut and Psychology Syndrome:
Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., A.D.H.D., Dyslexia, Depression and Schizophrenia
By Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMed(nuerology), MmedSci(nutrition)
(Published by Medinform, 2004)
Just as Dr. Weston A. Price was baffled by the amount of chronic illness in his patients and sought to identify the parameters that could foster such a trend, so too does Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride advance our understanding of the underlying factors present in a growing percentage of people who are suffering from brain disorders and mental illness. The latest estimates are that 1 in 150 children is diagnosed for autism alone and 1 in 94 boys is on the autistic spectrum. She states that although genetics is often given as an explanation for brain disorders such as autism and ADD/ADHD and psychiatric illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, genetics could never cause an exponential increase in health or developmental problems—because genetics work much more slowly. As a parent of a child diagnosed with learning disabilities, Dr. Campbell-McBride has boldly sought to identify elements common to people with brain disorders and mental illness and craft an effective approach to improving their condition. When genetics is no longer used as a “scapegoat” for health problems, then and only then will accurate knowledge and solutions be found.
Through studying the health of hundreds of patients with autism, learning disabilities, psychiatric illness and other problems, Dr. Campbell-McBride discovered that in all cases these children and adults had digestive problems, often of a severe nature. Through her research, she has determined that there is a distinct correlation between unhealthy intestinal flora, poor digestion and toxicity from chemicals created by undigested foods that can severely affect brain chemistry. She coins this as “Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” or GAPS.
But if a child develops problems such as autism or ADD/ADHD at an early age, how can that child have already developed poor digestion? This is where Dr. Campbell-McBride so brilliantly defines that the probable source is familial and generational, which moves past genetic theory. Just as Dr. Price ascertained that without adequate nutrition, each generation would produce less healthy children—so Dr. Campbell-McBride postulates that poor intestinal flora and digestion is being passed down from one generation to the next. When a child is born it acquires the flora of the mother during the passage through the birth canal. If the mother has a history of antibiotic or contraceptive use and poor digestive health, her flora will likely be far less than healthy. If she does not breast-feed her baby, the gut flora of the child will be further compromised. The infant will often develop digestive problems such as colic, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, feeding difficulties, intestinal damage and malnourishment very early in life and is typically afflicted by a host of allergies. The child usually has frequent ear infections that are treated with many rounds of antibiotics, which only make the situation worse.
Poor bacterial flora and digestion are at the heart of serious health problems. When children are born with intestinal bacterial imbalances or “gut dysbiosis” they tend to have a compromised immune system and are prone to illness. Dr. Campbell-McBride states that often the intestinal tract of children who have autism is caked with hard fecal material. This terrible condition of course would lead to enormous and serious health consequences. She brings to light the profound statements of Hippocrates (460-370 BC) that, ”All diseases begin in the gut,” and of the father of modern psychiatry, French psychiatrist Phillipe Pinel (1745-1828), that “The primary seat of insanity is the region of the stomach and intestines.”
But what exactly happens in the gut that can upset brain chemistry? Dr. Campbell-McBride provides us with a magnificent explanation of the cascade of events that can occur when digestion is not supported by a healthy gut flora. A child or adult who eats a diet that is high in difficult-to-digest carbohydrates such as grains and processed foods, will continue to encourage the underlying condition of gut dysbiosis. Dr. Campbell-McBride states that people with damaged flora will even crave the very foods that support the survival of the unhealthy bacteria often to the exclusion and refusal of others.
Where most research on poor digestion focuses on unhealthy intestinal flora, Dr. Campbell-McBride’s work uniquely points to many problems with gut flora actually beginning with an unnatural growth of the fungus, Candida Albicans, in the stomach when it is not producing enough acid. She discusses that this overgrowth interferes with the first step of digestion by causing the stomach to produce inadequate amounts of the hydrochloric acid necessary to break proteins into “peptides” before entering the small intestine. For instance, under normal circumstances, the gluteomorphine and casomorphine proteins in wheat and milk are broken down in the stomach in the presence of proper amounts of stomach acid. However, with less stomach acid, these foods in fact begin to ferment in the stomach and are not broken down into peptides before passing into the small intestine. Besides causing an inadequate digestion of foods, the pressure of the gas created from this fermentation can lead to acid reflux, esophageal problems and even hiatal hernias, which are some of the most common digestive problems that people experience.
When insufficiently digested food enters the small intestines without adequate stomach acid, the pancreas in turn does not get the signal to release adequate pancreatic juices. Because people with GAPS lack healthy bacterial flora, they also lack production of enzymes called “peptidases.” These enzymes normally are produced by the enterocytes on the microvilli of the small intestine and will further break down proteins and carbohydrates into usable nutrients. With poor flora, the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract also becomes damaged and “leaky gut syndrome” develops. Therefore, the undigested casomorphine and gluteomorphine proteins, which resemble the chemical structure of opiates like heroin and morphine, are absorbed into the bloodstream unchanged and can cause severe interference with brain and immune system function. Dr. Campbell-McBride states that “There has been a considerable amount of research in this area in patients with autism, schizophrenia, ADHD, psychosis, depression and autoimmunity, who show high levels of casomorphines and gluteomorphines in their bodies, which means that their gut wall is in no fit state to complete appropriate digestion of these substances.”
Continue reading at Kathryne Pirtle’s blog, Performance Without Pain:
The GAPS diet website, for the book and lots of resources.