Gut and Physiology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Allergies, Arthritis, Autoimmune Illness, Fatigue, Gut Problems, Neurological Disease
By Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MmedSci(neurology), MmedSci(nutrition)
In today’s world of fast-food, drive-through “convenience” and near-instant gratification via Amazon’s doorstep delivery, you couldn’t pay most people to read this hefty book of over five hundred pages, much less spend two years diligently following the GAPS nutritional protocol. But don’t miss it! It’s no coincidence that this same world is filled with suffering from epidemic levels of chronic disease. In Gut and Physiology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride builds on the foundation she laid in her seminal 2004 book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), which focused on rebuilding gut function to restore psychological health. Chances are, you already know her as an icon in the world of healing through traditional, nourishing foods and as a perennial favorite at Wise Traditions conferences. Once again, she delivers a thoroughly referenced, practical and inspiring book, now informed by an additional two decades of clinical success, and this time focused on the plethora of chronic physiological diseases that are largely classified as “incurable” by the medical establishment.
As a practitioner, educator and consultant in Holistic Management, I especially appreciate Campbell-McBride’s holistic perspective and the connections she makes in relating the human gut microbiome to the soil microbiome and regenerative agriculture. The twenty-two-page chapter “Good Health Begins in the Soil Inside Us!” explains how the main players in soil biology work together in a cooperative web of life that supports plant health, and how these same kinds of microbial life forms interact in similar ways in the human gut. I share her awe and respect for the amazing, intricate and complex workings of nature, and I appreciate the humility she expresses that there’s so much more we don’t know! She makes an important point that current microbiome research is limited because it focuses on the output of our gut (the stool) rather than on the living, working, growing and changing environment within.
To help us think more holistically, Campbell-McBride offers a number of semantic and conceptual shifts that can encourage us to see the intelligent design of the human body. For example, in the chapter “Toxins and Parasites,” she suggests that while our typical view of parasites is based on the concept of “survival of the fittest,” healthy natural environments work within an atmosphere of “cooperation” instead. In addition to fungi like Candida, she says, “all worms ever found in the body have been called ‘parasites.’ Yet we now know that they are essential for keeping our immune system healthy and well-balanced,” and we might do better to think of them as “the cleaning company.” She attributes rising issues with parasites to the rising levels of toxins that are basically unavoidable in today’s world: “To date, more than 100,000 new chemicals have been invented by humanity, chemicals which do not exist in Nature.” She argues that what we call parasites are actually “neutralising and absorbing” these toxins for us. And while there’s no doubt that an overabundance of parasites creates health problems, many people have success balancing parasite load by just following the GAPS diet.
Campbell-McBride looks at the root causes of today’s chronic diseases, clearly explaining how lack or inaccessibility of nutrients, impaired toxin elimination and an additional toxic load from an imbalanced gut microbiome have an impact on the chronic illnesses she discusses. “Every morsel of food you put into your mouth changes everything in your body: your metabolism, your hormonal balance, your electrolyte balance, your sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system balance and much more,” she states. With this book, she puts power firmly back into our hands. We either nourish our gut or move closer to a state of disease with what we put in our mouth (typically three or even more times a day); this book provides both the how and why for restoring healthy gut function.
The most common physiological issues Campbell-McBride has seen in her GAPS patients are organized into chapters on bodily systems, where she discusses interactions with the gut, specific sources of toxins and their impact, which foods are most helpful and why, foods that are particularly damaging, the most common diseases that result and practical self-care practices that support and nourish the body’s natural healing process. Interspersed are real-life stories that inspire hope.
My favorite chapters are “Immune System” and “The Liver and the Lungs.” In “Immune System,” I was surprised to learn that “unhealthy gut flora is by far the main source of toxicity in our bodies.” No wonder the most important thing we can do is promote healthy gut flora! She also suggests that the term “contamination disease” more aptly describes what modern medicine calls “autoimmune disease” and challenges the idea that our bodies are attacking our own organs (which would not be intelligent); more likely, the body is addressing contamination from toxins in our environment and working hard to clean out disease-causing debris. What if instead of blaming our immune system, we could “reduce our exposure to toxicity and assist our immune system in removing it?”
In “The Liver and the Lungs,” Campbell- McBride discusses the important need for healthy saturated fats as well as offering a common-sense approach to asthma. Most of you may know that the liver needs saturated fats to stimulate bile production for proper fat digestion, and you probably even know that bile encapsulates toxins (heavy metals and parasites) and then flushes them out in the stool. But did you know that our lungs are the second most important detoxifying organ? Not only do we expel gaseous toxins when we exhale, but immune cells in the lungs move debris up the breathing passages to be coughed out.
The book also has fascinating chapters on the endocrine system, the skeletal system, the brain and the urinary and reproductive systems. The fifty-page chapter titled “A-Z: GAPS Conditions in Alphabetic Order” addresses the most common chronic health conditions and how the GAPS nutrition protocol can help, providing a great reference. This is a value-packed volume that is well worth your time and attention! If you or someone you love is suffering, this book can provide life-changing hope and healing. A definite thumbs up!
For more information on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s first book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, see the review on the WAPF website at westonaprice.org/book-reviews/gut-andpsychology-syndrome-by-natasha-campbellmcbride/. You can also check out the review of her book, GAPS Stories, at westonaprice.org/book-reviews/gaps-stories-by-dr-natashacampbell-mcbride/. For two interviews with Campbell-McBride, listen to Wise Traditions podcasts #5 (Jan. 17, 2016) and #391 (Oct. 31, 2022).🖨️ Print post