Monday, March 26, 2012

Gut and Psychology Syndrome : Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (Part 1)

DM= Dr. Joseph Mercola
NC=Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
DM: Welcome, everyone. This is Dr. Mercola. Today we are honored to be joined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who is a trained neurologist in Russia and who now practices in the United Kingdom, particularly in England. She lives with her husband, who is from England. I was first introduced to her work through the Weston A. Price Foundation and through an article she wrote in the summer of 2011. Then I had the tremendous opportunity to meet her in person when we both lectured at the Weston A. Price‟s Wise Traditions Annual Fall event, where we both spoke at. I got a chance to connect with her personally, which was really delightful.
Let me just explain to you why I‟m so excited to present this information. I think we all recognize the importance of the gut flora and their influence on your health. It‟s profound. We know that the gut serves as our second brain. It produces serotonin. They outnumber us cellwise by at least 10 to one. If we have one to 10 trillion number of human cells, we get 10 times of that amount of bacterial cells. The real challenge here is to identify strategies to optimize that bacterial population, so that we can live in a friendly, symbiotic relationship and they can nourish us, help us fight disease, and optimize our health.
The practical challenge, though, is it‟s not an easy thing to do. I have been a strong advocate of nutrition principles for many, many decades. That certainly gets you to a level of health, but the actual introduction of some of the fermented vegetables and this heal and seal process that Dr. McBride has developed over the years has just really performed these phenomenal benefits to human health. I‟m just so excited to have her work here.
Initially, she got into this because she had a son who was born with autism. She was challenged and recognized that the traditional approaches didn‟t work. Even as a neurologist, those techniques were pretty, fairly flawed. Then she came upon these approaches that seem to apply the benefits. It‟s largely based upon her intuitive wisdom and the common sense she had growing up in her home country of Russia where this is second nature but is so foreign to many of us who are raised in Western cultures. She integrated the medical approach with traditional wisdom. That marriage is just so profoundly beneficial. It provides a really incredible set of tools that we can use.
I‟m so excited to have this entire series that were going to do together. I‟m firmly convinced –with just a little doubt in my mind – that if we can share this information with enough people and have pretty much every community in the country growing well, utilizing these principles, and helping people reeducate them about the basic processes that have been abandoned over the years, we can start to recapture our health. We don‟t have to rely on drugs and surgery. We can prevent disease far more effectively.
I know it‟s a long introduction, but I‟m just so passionate about the work that you‟re doing, and I‟m really just delighted that you‟re here. So, welcome!
NC: Thank you very much. Thank you, Dr. Mercola.

DM: What I‟d like to do with this specific interview is to establish a set of your recommendations that you provide for the people that you see.

You can clarify this, but I think most of the people that you benefit are either through a long-term consultation over the Internet, indirectly through the lectures that you provide, and all the people that you have trained and provided information. What we want to do for future interviews, we‟re going to do a lot of specific conditions, a lot of pediatric, and a lot of general ones for adults. In those interviews, I want to include this set of instructions that people can use to really take your information – once they understand that your strategies are useful – and apply it. So, this will be the therapy video on how one is able to implement the GAPS program.
The GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. In some ways, I think it‟s somewhat limited, because I know that your initial approach was targeted for autism, but this just affects all of human health. It‟s just profoundly effective.
NC: Absolutely. We‟re not just talking about Gut and Psychology Syndrome, but we are also talking about Gut and Physiology Syndrome.

DM: Okay.
NC: Luckily, both abbreviate you the same thing, GAPS.

DM: Okay, great! [Laughs]
NC: Yes. [Laughs] They could both begin with “P”. In terms of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, we are talking about the functioning of the brain of the person . Any dysfunction of the brain is usually connected to what‟s going on in the digestive system. In Gut and Physiology Syndrome, we‟re talking about the functioning of the rest of the body.
Hippocrates – although thousands of years ago – made a statement that all diseases begin in the gut. The more we learn now with all our modern scientific tools, the more we realize just how correct he was. Many other Grecians through the centuries after Hippocrates made the same statement and came to the same conclusion that every disease begins in the gut.
In terms of Gut and Physiology Syndrome, we‟re talking about autoimmunity. We‟re talking about multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, and all other autoimmune conditions. Of course, we are talking about inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn‟s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel conditions, because they also belong to the autoimmune group of conditions. We‟re talking about arthritis – all sorts, and all different forms of arthritis, including gout, migratory arthritis, and different types of symptoms.

DM: Would you suggest that it‟s not only arthritis, but almost all inflammatory conditions also?
NC: Exactly. All the inflammatory conditions, various chronic skin conditions, various chronic kidney problems, urinary conditions, various allergic and atopic conditions, and various degenerative conditions. One group that has risen in the last few decades and that are growing are the other conditions, which are characterized by fatigue. Those are the chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). These also belong to the Gut and Physiology Syndrome group of conditions.

DM: Terrific. If someone is suffering from the many conditions that you have mentioned or has any health challenge, it would seem as a wise and practical approach to implement your program. I‟m wondering if you can recommend what you have found over the years to be a useful way to start the GAPS approach.
NC: Absolutely. I know that my book is called Gut and Psychology Syndrome. A person with multiple sclerosis is not necessarily going to pick it up and read it. What I‟d like to tell these people is that I‟m working on the second book, Gut and Physiology Syndrome. I‟m not sure when it‟s going to come out. I want it to be properly written. I hope it will come out next year, but please don‟t wait for it. Still read The Gut and Psychology Syndrome – people with physiological conditions – because the nutritional protocol or the treatment protocol described in the book is also appropriate for your condition. Entirely appropriate, a hundred percent.
So, people with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, children with Type 1 diabetes, various inflammatory bowel conditions, psoriasis, chronic eczema, chronic cystitis, neuropathies, various chronic neurological conditions, and other degenerative conditions, please look at the functioning of your digestive system and please consider doing the GAPS Nutritional Protocol. Because once you heal and seal your gut lining and once you make your digestive system healthy and working properly again, you‟ll be surprised how many various symptoms in the body [inaudible 15:07] from your digestive system. Most start disappearing, because the health and the disease are usually born inside your digestive system. That‟s where they originate from.
You know that you need to heal something from the roots of disorder. You know that you need to address the real root cause of your disorder. You have to focus on your digestive system.

DM: Sure. I like your term “heal and seal.” I think that may actually be a better term for your approach than GAPS, which is sort of in composite with the disease. The heal and seal for the treatment phase, at least I think, is really a profoundly simple and very terrific metaphor as to what you‟re seeking to achieve. So how would someone start the program to heal and seal their gut?
NC: Okay. The GAPS Nutritional Protocol is designed to restore the integrity of the gut lining. Our digestive system is lined by very specialized cells, which are called enterocytes. These little cells only live for a few days. They work very hard. They live for two or three days. Then they get too old, too worn out, and the body shuts them off. They die and they get shed off. They get replaced by newly born, healthy baby enterocytes. The cell regeneration process in your gut lining is very, very active. It‟s a very active process.

DM: Yeah. Is it true that these cells are actually reproduced quicker than any other cells in the human body?
NC: Absolutely. They reproduce as quickly as our immune cells. Our immune cells are also very actively reproducing, because they are very hardworking cells in the body as well. We have a real chance to heal and seal our damaged gut lining, thanks to this wonderful process of cell regeneration.
But here‟s the catch: in order for the body to give birth to healthy functioning baby enterocytes, it needs two factors. It needs building blocks for them, because they‟re made out of certain nutrients. They‟re made out of proteins, out of certain fats, vitamins, enzymes, and other active molecules. All these building blocks need to be provided for the gut lining to give birth to the cells. That‟s one. Second, it needs the whole process to be orchestrated by the beneficial microbes in our digestive system, by the beneficial healthy gut flora.
In people that we‟re talking about – GAPS people – they don‟t have either of those. They run out of building blocks. They don‟t have enough to actually give birth to healthy enterocytes. Secondly, their gut lining is populated by pathogens or pathogenic bacteria, virus, fungi, worms, protozoa, and other pathogenic microbes. The beneficial flora is now dead. The beneficial microbes are now dead.
In animal experiments which were conducted by scientists in laboratories, when they sterilized the digestive tract of the animals, they found that the whole cell regeneration process in the gut lining goes completely wrong. The travel time of the baby enterocytes doubles. It turns them cancerous. Enterocytes are born already mutated, and some of them turn cancerous. They are unable to fulfill their functions: breaking down the food and absorbing the food appropriately.
We have to provide those two factors for the gut lining to heal and seal. We need drive our pathogens and replace them with beneficial flora. We need to provide all the building blocks for the gut lining to give birth to baby enterocytes.
That‟s what GAPS Nutritional Protocol does. They feed the person with the very foods that build the gut lining, that allow the gut lining to give birth to baby enterocytes, and at the same time provides all the probiotic beneficial bacteria in the form of the supplement and fermented foods for the person.

DM: Terrific. That‟s a good start. Thank you for sharing the physiologic basis of optimizing these enterocytes. It really provided the foundation for our nutritional status. What are the first steps that one does to initiate this heal and seal program?
NC: Absolutely. The GAPS Nutritional Protocol contains three factors in it. One is diet, and that is the most important intervention, because the digestive system is a long tube, and what you fill that tube with has a direct effect on its well-being. You want to remove all the foods which challenge the gut and which are difficult to digest.You need to provide it with lots of foods, which feed the cell regeneration process and allow the gut lining to rebuild healthy layers of enterocytes.
The second part of it are the supplements, which we talked about in my previous interview. The third group is detoxification and making some lifestyle changes, which we‟ll talk about at some point in these years.
Let‟s focus on the diet. The GAPS Diet is structured in three stages: GAPS Introduction Diet, GAPS Full Diet, and coming off the GAPS Diet. These are the three steps, but it doesn‟t mean that you have to follow it in that order. There are people who start from the GAPS Introduction Diet and go through all the steps, because GAPS Introduction Diet is structured in six stages. The foods are introduced gradually in the GAPS Introduction Diet. It takes a lot of perseverance, patience, and time.
The Full GAPS Diet provides a much wider range of foods for the person to eat. That‟s the diet that you reach, and you stay in it for about a year or sometimes longer, until all your digestive problems have gone and all the other problems in the body and in the brain have gone. When you have achieved full health, then you can move into the third stage of coming off the GAPS Diet, where you can gradually start introducing foods which are not allowed within the GAPS Nutritional Protocol.
Some people start from the GAPS Introduction Diet and follow through the stages. Some people start from the GAPS Full Diet. They follow that for a while. Then they try the GAPS Introduction diet later, if they feel that there‟s more healing to achieve in their body and they‟re now organized to do that.
Some people go through the whole procedure of the introduction diet, full diet, and then find that something happens in their life. They acquire an infection. There has been a particular stressful period of time in their lives, which causes their aggression in their symptoms. They have to backtrack to the introduction diet. So, it is up to you which diet you want to choose. I will just give you some brief guidelines on what kind of diet would be more appropriate to start with.
If you or your child is predominantly prone to diarrhea, then GAPS Introduction Diet is something that you should start from. This diet will clear diarrhea very quickly. It will firm up your stools very quickly, and it will remove many other digestive symptoms quickly. If you have other pronounced digestive symptoms such as flatulence, pain, aching, diarrhea, mixed stools, burping, or reflux, again it is best to start from the introduction diet and forward step by step, because the introduction diet has an ability to clear those symptoms quite quickly and to clear your digestive discomfort quite quickly.

DM: Is the introduction diet the one that‟s the most severe and restrictive?
NC: It is the most restrictive, and it is more difficult to follow than the Full GAPS Diet. If you have severe food allergies and food intolerances, that is a group of people in our modern world that is growing and growing. It‟s quite a large group of people now. What‟s happening here with these people is that there‟s nothing wrong with the food they eat. What‟s wrong is that you‟re gut lining is like a [inaudible 23:47]. It is damaged. It is coarse. Foods don‟t get the chance to be broken down properly before they‟re absorbed into the bloodstream.

DM: This is the traditional leaky gut syndrome?
NC: Exactly. They‟re absorbed in their partially broken down form. When the immune system finds these maldigested foods in the bloodstream, it looks at them and says, “You‟re not food. I don‟t recognize you as food. You look foreign to me,” and the immune system attacks them. As a result, you get all the symptoms associated with food intolerance.
These symptoms are not the traditional allergy. They are not the IgE type allergy where you get an immediate reaction. The reaction can be immediate. It can be delayed for an hour. It can be delayed for a couple of hours. It can be delayed for a couple of days or for a couple of weeks.
At any moment in your life, you can actually never be sure what exactly you‟re reacting to. Because you may be reacting to a piece of meat that you have eaten a few weeks ago, at the same time you‟re reacting to a piece of bread that you have eaten 10 minutes ago, and at the same you may be going through a reaction to a broccoli that you have eaten a couple of days ago.
These reactions overlap on top of each other. It is impossible for the person to decipher what is exactly he‟s allergic to, and what foods they want to remove. So, the classical approach to allergy does not work in this group of patients. You can‟t just remove these foods and everything will be fine – not at all.
What these people find is that they may do a test for food allergy or intolerance. The test says that you‟re allergic to A, B, C, D, and E. They remove these foods in their diet and find that they‟re continually reacting to new group of foods and then to another group of foods. Then these people fairly quickly finish up with hardly anything left to eat. Even the handfuls of foods that they can tolerate are causing some reactions. Their diet becomes more and more impoverished. The person becomes more and more malnourished, and more and more ill.
What‟s happening in your situation? Forget about the testing. Forget about removing the foods. Just focus on your gut lining. Heal and seal it. Heal all those holes in your gut lining. Then the food will start digesting properly before it is absorbed, and your food allergies and intolerances will disappear. This is the group of patients that does very well following the GAPS Introduction Diet.
People who should definitely start from the GAPS Full Diet and who should not start from the GAPS Introduction Diet are those people with chronic constipation. People who say that “I have never had diarrhea. I have been constipated all my life. Generally speaking, I usually react with constipation” – these are the people who rely on fiber to remove their bowel at all.
The GAPS Introduction Diet removes fiber, because for people who have gluten inflammation in the gut lining, any erosions or ulcerations in the gut lining, fiber scratches, irritates, and aggravates the condition. The GAPS Introduction Diet has very little fiber in it. If a person is prone to chronic constipation, they get even more constipated.
What I recommend is that these people go on a Full GAPS Diet first and follow it for a while or a few months, get its benefits, get regular stools, and see what‟s happening. Then several months later down the road, if they feel that they are not achieving 100 percent benefits, they can consider the GAPS Introduction Diet at that stage. Because by then, by following the Full GAPS Diet, using fermented foods, and using probiotics, they would have changed their gut flora already. The whole milieu in the gut would have changed. They can go to the introduction diet much safer. If they find that they don‟t get constipated to the same degree, they can handle it.
Another group of people that I recommend to not start from the introduction diet but from the Full GAPS Diet are people who are very busy, who are travelling, and who find it hard to make time cooking or pay much attention to organizing their meals at all. The Full GAPS Diet is easier to follow altogether, because the list of foods that are allowed is much wider and much larger. You can manage that when you‟re busy, travelling, or working very hard. The introduction diet requires much more concentration, much more cooking, much more being at home, and paying attention to what‟s going on with your body. Follow the Full GAPS Diet and you will get benefits – tremendous benefits.
Later on in your life, maybe you can organize yourself. Organize your work a bit better. Perhaps you can travel a bit less. Be at home a bit more. If there is a need for you to follow the introduction diet, if you still suffer from food allergies, for example, or still have bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, refluxes, and other symptoms which have not cleared on or before the Full GAPS Diet, then organize yourself for a few months, so you can be at home, cook, do a little shopping, and plan your meals, and you can follow the introduction diet. At that stage, the introduction diet will clear those remaining symptoms for you.
Also, adults with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some other problems perhaps, multiple sclerosis or some neurological conditions who don‟t seem to have particularly severe digestive problems – there is a group of patients like that who say that “Well, my stool is regular. I don‟t have any abdominal pain. I have no indigestion, and my digestive system seems to be okay.” But when I test these people or when I put them on my GAPS Introduction Diet, I find that they do have abnormal gut flora.
It‟s just that their digestive system is compensating for it. The human body has an amazing ability to compensate for the problems. The body can work around the problem for a very long time before it can start giving you signals that something‟s wrong, and that‟s the problem. The signals are the symptoms. For example, you can have cancer in your body for 20 years and there are no symptoms. Until the first symptom appears, the body compensates. It works around it.
Even with that person, their digestive system is not constitutionally their weak point. The person may have abnormal gut flora, leaky digestive system, all that‟s happening to GAPS patients, or toxins leaching out of the digestive system being circulated around the body and causing their disorder, but the digestive system is compensating, and it does not have abnormalities at all. They do not have flatulence. They do not have abdominal pain or any other digestive symptoms.
But when these people do follow the GAPS Nutritional Protocol, their depression, hyperactivity disappears, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and some other symptoms disappear, which means that the gut is healing, the whole pathological vicious circle is being broken down, and the person is healing. For these kinds of people, I do recommend to start from the Full GAPS Diet. It‟s easier to follow, and it‟s easier to motivate that kind of person.
If you‟re a parent and you have a teenager in the family with any of these conditions who don‟t seem to have any particular digestive symptom, start that teenager on the Full GAPS Diet. Teenagers are difficult anyway; it‟s difficult to change their diet anyway. Demanding teenagers to follow the introduction diet will be so much more difficult than trying put them on the Full GAPS Diet. It is easier to convince then to follow the Full GAPS Diet because of a wider range of foods that they can eat.
Not everybody has to start from the introduction diet. Just think carefully. Read both sections of the book. Read the whole section on the diet and the nutritional protocol. Listen to your inner sense. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. You decide for yourself what would be more practical for you personally, for your personal situation. Maybe you should really start from the Full GAPS Diet, and later on – perhaps if you need to – you can consider going through a period of the introduction diet.

DM: Terrific. The first step is to actually understand what‟s involved in understanding your specific situation or scenario and choosing which program would be best. Once you make that, do you want to outline some of the basic principles of the Introduction and the Full GAPS program now?

NC: Absolutely. Let‟s start with the introduction diet. What do we do here? We have six stages in the introduction diet. Why? We start from Stage 1. What do we do in the introduction diet? We remove the fiber, because fiber is an enemy for GAPS people.
Fiber has received a lot of attention in the nutritional literature ever since there were a couple of papers that started coming out. There were studies from Africa conducted on indigenous African tribes, where a couple of nutritionists went there and researched these people. They took a very one-sided view of the diet of these people. They decided that all the health benefit that these people have were due to the fiber that they have in their diet. There were many, many other factors in their diet that contributed to the health of those indigenous African people, but they were missed by these researchers.
For whatever reason, they came back to the West and published their papers. Their idea was picked up. Fiber was pronounced as this panacea, anything that is wonderful, and that it can only be good.
That is not true. Fiber feeds microbes. Human digestive system has not been designed to break down fiber. It‟s indigestible for humans. How does fiber work in the human body? It finishes up undigested in the bowel. The bowel is the most populated area of the digestive system in human beings, where majority of our gut flora is.
If your gut flora is healthy, if it is predominantly dominated by beneficial probiotic species of microbes, these microbes will feed on fiber. They will grow in numbers. They will feast on it, and you will get wonderful benefits from it. But if your bowel is predominantly dominated by pathogenic microbes, pathogenic microbes will feed on fiber. They will proliferate. They will grow in numbers. Your disease will get worse. They will cause it, because the fiber equally feeds the good and the bad microbes in the digestive tract.
In GAPS people, their digestive system is predominantly populated by pathogens. That is why fiber is not good for them. That is why we want to remove it for a period of time to allow those pathogens to die out and reduce their colonies and their population, while we are trying to pour in beneficial microbes, allowing them to replace these pathogens, to drive them out and to kill them off.
That‟s the first thing with our introduction diet. We remove fiber. Secondly, we put the probiotic beneficial microbes into the digestive system, because without their presence, no healing can ever happen in your digestive tract. You don‟t even expect any healing without the presence of beneficial microbes in there. With do it in two forms. We introduce probiotic foods, fermented foods, and we introduce commercially produced therapeutic-strength probiotics. These are aggressive species of probiotic bacteria, which have an ability to kill pathogens and to drive them out and to replace them.

DM: I‟m sorry for interrupting you. These aggressive strains, are these different from the strains that are actually being cultured in the fermented vegetables so there are a supplement to them rather than the same strains?

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