If GAPS™ hasn’t worked for you or yours, read this.

Intestines

Sandrine’s Personal Experience

Even though I had been eating the recommended diet outlined in the book Nourishing Traditions since 2004, I started to experience chronic constipation in 2011. This was a new experience for me. I also had keratosis pilaris, small bumps, on my arms and legs, which is considered a sign of  Vitamin A deficiency. That was true despite a diet high in Vitamin A. Knowing that “all disease begins in the gut”, I sought out the services of a nutritionist to guide me. She thought GAPS™ – the Gut and Psychology Syndrome dietary healing protocol would be of value. I started on March 14, 2011. I stayed on GAPS™ until recently.  I am now on an individualized healing protocol. While I had varying levels of success in terms of the constipation and keratosis pilaris while on GAPS™, I faced what felt a gravitational pull toward constipation despite following the protocol very exactly and taking the recommended supplements such as enzymes, probiotics and HCi (Hydrochloric Acid). My nutritionist thought that it may be because of the magnesium I was loosing through the intense night sweats and hot flashes I was experiencing, so I started consuming fresh Thai coconut water, and beet kvass in relatively large quantities. That definitely encouraged my bowel movements but, the amount I needed to consume was unsustainable. I started supplementing with ConcenTrace and that moved my bowel as well.

Maybe there is another path?

However, I started to reconsider this remedy when having been on GAPS™ well over a year, I came across this post on Facebook. It was very soon after I had attended a GAPS™ Cooking Class weekend with Monica Corrado. I had been told by Monica and others who were teaching about GAPS™, that if it wasn’t working for someone, then they likely “weren’t doing it right”. Well, I had returned several times to the Introductory Phase, and was being guided by a nutritionist trained in the GAPS™ protocol … and was adhering to the guidelines 100%. Yet, I wasn’t experiencing the results I had hoped for … and I wasn’t alone. There were several others in my circle who had worked with nutritionists and even with Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD, who were reporting that GAPS™ wasn’t working for them.

I had known Anne Fischer Silva as a fellow chapter leader for a number of years. I didn’t know her well, but had had contact with her being that she has been a supporter of Nourishing Our Children. I was intrigued with what Anne wrote in this chain:

“I used to do GAPS™ with all my clients until I realized they became sensitive to all the GAPS™ foods! The method I use now identifies all the sensitivities (within the parameters of the foods tested) and I am seeing amazing results. … The gut can heal quickly once the offending foods have been removed. I test for gut issues (fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections) and food sensitivities. It should not take longer than six months to heal the gut. I’ve seen many people on GAPS™ for over a year and they still don’t feel great. The GAPS™ specific foods I was referring to include coconut, almonds, beef, eggs, and chicken. Many are also sensitive to cod, therefore cod liver oil must be omitted for a time as well.

Food sensitivities are very difficult to determine and there are many ways to test. Most practitioners use antibody testing but that’s problematic because if you have gut sensitivity, you have depressed gut immunity and you can get false negatives with antibody testing. I use a blood test called MRT (Mediator Release Testing). It is highly accurate (95%, which is the highest of any test I’ve ever seen). GAPS™ is generic and will help some but I’ve seen many people who have been on GAPS™ for months and months and they are still trying to heal their digestive system. With MRT, it is specific to you. I usually recommend doing a GI Panel (stool and saliva) at the same time to see what the consequences to the gut are (typically fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infection). Then we heal the gut while removing the sensitive foods.

One more comment on food sensitivities: Think about them on a spectrum. You can be highly sensitive to some foods – you eat them and you get a reaction. But there can also be many foods to which you are sensitive, but to a lesser degree. These are ones that are impossible to figure out on your own. You can get a reaction to a food up to 3 days later (you can’t always look at your last meal). Additionally, you might not get a reaction if you eat a lesser sensitive food in isolation, but if you combined 2, 3, or 4 of these lesser sensitive foods, you can get a big reaction. All making it impossible to figure out through elimination or challenge.  With MRT, improvements are almost immediate and I’ve seen everything from eczema to headaches to joint pain clear up in 2 weeks.”

Results

I forwarded this chain to a friend who had been on GAPS™ for over a year working closely with trained health practitioners yet she was finding that it wasn’t effective. She started working with Anne who did lab work that revealed a whole host of issues that GAPS™ would simply never address. My friend had a chronic eczema-like rash on her neck and arms that cleared up, and her hair stopped falling out … and I took notice. Tiffani Beckman, who posted on Facebook about her lab results, comes to my loft regularly to deliver groceries to me as part of her farm to table business. I saw her losing weight week in and week out. She reported that her weight loss was a result of having eliminated the foods that lab work had revealed she had a food sensitivity to.  Tiffani was transforming before my eyes – she was significantly thinner, and reported so much more comfortable without the stomach aches she’d had.

I decided to embark with Anne myself.

A New Leaf

Beyond nutrition, Anne offers hormonal balancing support. We focused initially on quieting the hot flashes and night sweats I was experiencing. I started on a hormonal support protocol on October 2, 2012 based on a comprehensive hormonal panel lab results.  In the last several years, I have worked closely with acupuncturists, homeopaths and a nutritionist before I started with Anne – and no remedies or treatment protocols resulted in sustained relief. So far, the hormonal support I am taking in the form of ProgonB and PhytoB has relieved virtually all of the hot flashes by day, and I am left with 1 or 2 at night.  I would say 90% resolution. We are working on the night sweats now with other hormonal support therapeutics from Standard Process.

Anne had me take the food sensitivity test that she described above, as well as saliva, stool and blood tests. The test revealed that I am sensitive to some of the very foods I had been consuming daily and that were foundational to GAPS™ – such as chicken.  At times, I had 2 quarts of chicken broth her day — and that was pasture raised, soy free chicken. For the next 6 months, I am eliminating the following foods – many of which I wasn’t eating: blueberry, chicken, corn, lecithin, pork (which were identified as foods I am highly sensitive to), banana, barley, cayenne, coconut, coffee, cottage cheese, cumin, hazelnut, lentil, lettuce, MSG, peanut, Phenylethylamine, saccharine, strawberry, string bean, tyramine, potato and yogurt. I am eliminating all eggs to reduce my lecithin load.

Several friends and I are now working with Anne – and they have their own unique list.

In addition to eliminating foods that we’ve identified I am sensitive to, I am taking enzymes, probiotics and  a formulation designed to heal the gut lining. I have stopped supplementing with the ConcenTrace. I haven’t been constipated since the first day I embarked.  My digestion is robust. I had taking all of these before however, this unique program designed for me based on lab work is working!  So far, the keratosis pilaris remains unchanged but, I have only recently embarked on this healing protocol: November 12, 2012. I will continue to report on my progress!

I asked Anne to write about her clinical experience of GAPS™ because I wanted others to know that there may be nothing wrong with how they are doing GAPS™. My experience is that there are limits to the protocol and a more individualized plan may be necessary.  Anne was reluctant to write as a guest blogger for fear of being viewed as being motivated by self promotion. I want to assure our readers that promoting her business is not the intention behind this post.  I solicited Anne’s testimonial as a public service!  Folks, I know that GAPS™ has worked for many, however I also know that one may be on GAPS™ for 2 years, adhering 100% to it, and still not heal and seal their gut with that protocol alone.

Addendum January 3, 2012

As a point of clarification, I honestly don’t blame any health practitioner mentioned, or any of those who utilize GAPS™ in their practice who aren’t directly mentioned. I sincerely regret the possible perception of implied wrongdoing on any practitioner’s part.

The nutritionist I worked with wasn’t named because of her long held request not to be named online, or in a public forum such as Yahoo Groups that is searchable online, for her own privacy concerns. I don’t hold her responsible for the outcome of my experience on GAPS™. She worked tirelessly on my behalf to guide me through this protocol to the best of her ability and knowledge. I have referred many to her and would continue to do so.

I simply think the protocol was not individualized enough for me, and it appears not to have been individualized enough for anyone in my own circle – all of whom worked with different practitioners.

A Nutritionist Perspective on GAPS™

by Anne Fischer Silva

Digestive symptoms are rampant in today’s world and are often what lead people to seek my services. I have experimented with many different gut-healing therapies over my fourteen years in clinical practice. When I first became aware of GAPS™ (Gut and Psychology Syndrone) in 2006, I was excited to encourage my clients to embrace this dietary program of self healing. Unfortunately, GAPS™ has not lived up to my expectations nor delivered the complete healing hoped for.

In my experience, GAPS™ can initiate some preliminary therapeutic benefits by removing dairy and grain products from the diet.  This can be quite beneficial if an individual has sensitivities to dairy and exist grain. However, GAPS™ is not capable of eradicating parasitic, fungal, or bacterial gut infections, commonly found today. Also, Natasha Campbell McBride, the author of GAPS™, directs us to test for food sensitivities by placing the food on our skin at bedtime and seeing if there is a reaction in the morning.  This may not be sufficient to test food sensitivities.

Many times, when people do not achieve success while on GAPS™, they are told they are not following the program correctly and need to start over with phase one of the GAPS™ program. This can be demoralizing and frustrating for someone who has diligently been following the limited foods available on GAPS™.

I often see people who have been on GAPS™ for 9 months to 2 years. Most continue to have digestive symptoms like bloating and constipation, which is why they call me. Other frequently seen ailments include eczema, depression, and “brain fog”.  These are often co-factor symptoms of a GI infection or food sensitivity.

The truth is, if a gut infection exists, GAPS™ will not fix digestion. With a gut infection – be it fungal (candida or other fungi overgrowth), parasitic (blastocystis,ameba histolytica, etc), or bacterial (C Difficile, H-Pylori, Cryptosporidium, etc) – more targeted therapies are required to destroy these pathogens. They infections are not unusual – I see them every day!

These infections take hold when an individual’s digestive terrain presents a favorable environment. As the pathogens take up housekeeping in the small and large intestine, they typically build a protective mucous barrier around themselves, called biofilms, that create insulation and make them impervious to many therapies – not to mention foods. Bone broth is a beautiful, nutrient-dense, mineral rich food and I recommend it to every client. But it’s not powerful enough to break through intractable biofilms.  Also, someone may have a food sensitivity to chicken and chicken broth will not be healing for them. This leads me to express another concern.

Food Sensitivities

In addition to infections, the other reason I see GAPS™ fall short is because it fails to take food sensitivities into account.  We’ve all heard of leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. This occurs when the small intestinal lining becomes damaged and loses integrity.  Sadly, this is also incredibly common today. What’s supposed to happen is that food should be broken down to microscopically-sized particles in the small intestine. Finger-like extensions, called villi, on the intestinal wall grab these food particles and allow them to pass through very tight junctures along the intestinal wall. This is how food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Leaky gut means that the villi become blunted and flattened. The tight junctures then turn into freeways, allowing large, undigested particles of food to enter the blood stream. This is one way food sensitivities happen.

Once food sensitivities are established, continuing to eat those sensitive foods further irritates and degrades the gut wall.  With GAPS™ clients, I frequently see sensitivities to many of the foods recommended on the program. Foods like chicken, eggs, coconut, and almonds are commonly seen on food sensitivity testing with GAPS™ folks. This propagates further intestinal irritation and the potential for even more food sensitivities as long as they continue to eat their trigger foods and not address the underlying causes.

In my opinion, the most effective method of restoring integrity to the GI tract starts with the concept of biochemical individuality. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to health. We all have inherent and acquired strengths and weaknesses that must be identified. Determining the status of each individual is imperative. Is there an infection? Is gut immunity depressed? Is there evidence of inflammation or enzyme insufficiency? These factors differ in each individual and it is impossible to determine without a lab test.

While I’m sure there are many techniques that can accomplish complete gut restoration, my method includes GI and food sensitivity testing. In this way, I can best support clients specifically based on their needs, and get them on the right path to healing.

Anne Fischer Silva, CN

Anne Fischer Silva is a clinical nutritionist and the owner of “A New Leaf Nutrition”, a private practice in Petaluma, CA. Anne serves clients throughout the United States, with an emphasis on digestive and hormonal health. She received her certification in Functional Nutrition from AIMI in Washington, D.C. and is also certified in Metabolic Typing and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. She was involved in the creation of Nutritional Therapy Association and for four years taught nutrition courses in Washington, Hawaii, and California. Anne hosted “Health-Wise” (a weekly radio show), and has written articles for health publications. The focus of her practice is educating people about the importance of nutrient-dense foods and balancing biochemistry. She is passionate about teaching, fresh local food, cooking, gardening, and connection around the table.

What has your experience been?

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194 Comments

Filed under Healing Protocols, Nourishing Our Children

194 responses to “If GAPS™ hasn’t worked for you or yours, read this.

  1. madhupamaypop

    Great post! Thank you for sharing… Although GAPS does a great job at shedding awareness on the gut lining and the importance of healthy gut function…it’s true that there is not enough information in the book to truly discern more subtle issues (such as fungal infections). Thank you for sharing the info on MRT as well! If there are any good links on researching the nature of these tests, I’d love to look into it more…

    Lastly, I’d love to look into the topic of the ‘biofilm’ that forms around the infection in the gut as well…any good info on this that I can access via the internet?

    In terms of an herbal ally, black walnut hull and leaves would be something to read up on. It is a great ally for those with constipation OR diarrhea caused by an infection in the gut. It was well-used by the indigenous in the US for this reason and was quickly added to the known plants used by doctors of that time (and is still widely used by herbalists today).

    • Hi madhupamaypop,

      You’re right, there is a lot that is not in the book, and much of it only available in the trainings or through her talks. I recently went to the training and it has shed much light on the details of GAPS.

      Garlic, ginger, and cabbage (as kraut juice), which are all GAPS intro foods, address biofilms, parasites, fungi, viruses and pathogens (the broth itself is actually used as building blocks for the gut lining). Garlic is extremely powerful and some studies found that it is at least or even more effective than Nystatin. I personally have seen amazing near immediate changes (reduction in lymph node swelling) in my partner with non-hodgkins lymphoma with the use of garlic enemas on the GAPS program (after 4 months, we have seen about a 75% decrease in swelling overall). Ginger is not only a great digestive, it is anthelmintic (dispels parasites) and it is also used in h. pylori cases and other viral, fungal, and bacterial infections. Probiotics and probiotic foods are essential in combating opportunistic bacteria and parasites which are also included right from the beginning. It is important to remember, however, that there are beneficial parasites, viruses, and even candida in its proper balance serves a function. GAPS is adamant about establishing sufficient HCL (kraut juice, cabbage juice, raw acv, etc.) in the gut. It not only helps to get pathogens and parasites under control in the stomach it also helps down the line. Addressing bile flow is also important. If problems persist, stronger measures are taken on the GAPS protocol, which may be in the form of Nystatin & Ovex (Vermox). Herbal mixes (& black walnut is usually featured in them as it is a great herbal vermifuge) also aren’t discouraged on GAPS if food remedies aren’t effective enough for that individual. Food remedies are always tried first before moving on to other alternative choices since they are more gentle to the body.

      Since I don’t want to do multiple posts, I figured I’d address a few more things here too to try and clear up any other misconceptions about GAPS that people may have (I hope you don’t mind)…

      When someone is referred back to intro, it should not be expressed or viewed as punishment for not doing it right. Reversion helps when someone is going through a rough spot with increase of symptoms, new symptoms, or has contracted an illness. Most of the time it is for a shorter period (although as long as necessary) and modified based on the person’s progress. It is basically used when gentle action is needed. In general, full GAPS is used in cases that include constipation (intro lacks fiber) or the intro is altered to include other elements to relieve constipation.

      Different GAPS practitioners will work in different ways & with their own toolboxes to customize the program to best suit each individual’s needs through the process. Intuition on the patient’s part is heavily encouraged. It is best to view the GAPS diet as a template, a foundation from which to expand. Testing (starting with non-invasive first) also isn’t discouraged, but not used at the beginning. It is recommended to address the person by examining & listening to them and then observe how they respond to the program initially. If they are in a state of improvement, then they don’t need to spend the money. If they aren’t getting better, it can be wise to do tests to get a clearer picture to decide the next measure.

      Dr. Campbell-McBride & Dr. Cowan (of whom I work under), don’t use lab sensitivity testing for various reasons. Part of the reason is that if the gut is leaky, you will have just about everything passing through the gut lining into the blood. True allergies and sensitivities that present symptoms are always taken into account and those foods are avoided and introduced later. Providing the body with the basic building blocks (broth, bone marrow, and animal fats) & medicinal foods discussed previously, gives the body the tools it needs heal the gut wall enough so that sensitivities will start to lessen. Rotation of broths is wise (especially if sensitivity is suspected) and will also provide a broader range of nutrients. That said, I would love to hear more on what others are finding useful in their practices when working with gut healing including the MRT.

      Last, it would be ignorant to think that GAPS diet is going to cure everyone. However, I do believe that lack of clear understanding and application could be a likely contributor in many cases where people aren’t seeing the results that they would like (although I have seen people that aren’t particularly rigid have success as well). We have personally have seen remarkable things happen in very serious & difficult gut conditions like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and autism. That said, sometimes people do need a different approach in certain circumstances for whatever reason.

      Here are some good links if you want to gather more in-depth info:
      Training: http://www.immunitrition.com/GAPS_Practitioner_Traini.html
      Updates on GAPS: http://www.gaps.me/ , http://www.doctor-natasha.com/dr-natasha.php
      There are also free videos on You Tube

      Wishing you most well,
      Sabine.

      • Hi Sabine and others,

        I have never seen foods like garlic, ginger, and cabbage heal biofilms and other gut infections. These are tough to eradicate with heavy duty supplements and, in my experience, are completely resistant to foods. I would be interested in seeing before and after labs to show that these foods have accomplished this monumental feat.

        I also have no issue with the success of GAPS, as I’m sure it has benefitted many. However, it seems that, at least on this particular post, those defending it are primarily GAPS trained practitioners. I do not see many of those who are suffering stepping up to say that GAPS has been the entire answer for their digestive issues. If I am wrong, I would love to hear from those who have found GAPS to be the complete solution to their ills.

        I ask this in humble wondering and seeking the truth.

        Anne Fischer Silva, CN

        • Hi Everyone,

          I thought some of you may be interested in more details on how GAPS addresses these issue of gut infections. Please visit Natasha’s website and look under “Worms and Parasites” & “Yeast” for her approach:

          http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32

          Question number 8 under “Worms and Parasites” mentions Garlic Extract (followed by several other supplements in succession) for people stuck on intro…
          To follow that up,
          Here is a very interesting video on Garlic Extract and MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus auras which is very difficult to treat since it is resistant to many antibiotics—it is a super bug). I imagine Allimax may be the brand Natasha uses since it is UK based but I don’t know for certain (she doesn’t advertise brands):

          Here are just a few scientific studies on garlic which has been heavily researched (ginger and cabbage not as easy to find but here are a few):

          on biofilms & garlic:

          http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2012/06/05/garlic_new_weapon_to_fight_cystic_fibrosis_106281.html

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22301617

          on oral candidasis vs. nystatin:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22126338

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10461845

          freeze-dried vs. fresh for candida:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12174037

          Ginger and its effects on parasites and larvae:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16443342

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21327992

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20045669

          Cabbage and h. pylori:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20521987

          For Anne,
          I don’t believe the issue of use of aggressive therapy to be a valid point of contention here since GAPS does in fact use aggressive approaches when necessary (even to the extent of pharmaceuticals) and is not limited to food only. I personally think using garlic, kraut juice, and ginger to address digestion and pathogens in conjunction with the broth for the gut lining building blocks, is brilliant way to start the process of gut healing while being gentle at the same time before moving towards stronger methods. Die-off can produce unpleasant symptoms so it makes sense to me to go slow to start. Again, GAPS is not limited to just the diet alone. Practitioners will use a variety of complimentary therapies, herbs, supplements, and/or pharmaceuticals to support their patients/clients, which will differ depending on preference. While I don’t agree with what you say as truths and facts about GAPS, I don’t contest your abilities to help others in the ways that work best for you & I do wish you much success in your practice.

          Best wishes,
          Sabine.

          • …I would also love to hear about your favorite ways for addressing biofilms, parasites, pathogens, etc. in your practice as well if you are willing to share!

          • Frasier

            Sabine, thank you for linking the GAPS FAQ! It has confirmed some things I was guessing at and cleared up some things I was wondering about as I navigate through self-treatment of suspected SIBO with chronic constipation among other issues. The only answer that does not inspire confidence is the one that says, “I don’t know of any situation when one will need to follow both approaches at the same time. I am not very familiar with FODMAP and cannot comment, but GAPS Nutritional Programme alone works for my patients.” I have found avoiding high-FODMAP foods to be very helpful in conjunction with the GAPS intro, and it seems like something Dr. Campbell-McBride should look into more if only to help further refine the GAPS diet–It makes sense that as one’s gut heals following the GAPS program, FODMAPs become less of a worry, but I think considering both will ultimately lead to the most rapid results for patients with varying scenarios.

      • madhupamaypop

        Hi dear Sabine! I am just now seeing this… This is your friend Lindsay (formerly of SF) also “madhupa maypop….” Thanks for all that you shared and I’m going to read your other post now… Lovely offering to this blog thread….

  2. Very interesting information. I like hearing that it should only take six months to heal the gut because two years seems so long. My son and I have been on GAPS for about 10 months. I have seen some healing, and I feel much better on the diet than I did before I started, but I have been eating some non-GAPS foods lately because of the holidays and have been reminded very well of what I used to feel like pre-GAPS and I can’t help but wonder if another year on the diet is really going to fix my digestion. My little boy doesn’t seem to be near completion, either, although he too is doing much better.

    The gut infection thing peaks my interest as well. I have seen many on GAPS forums struggling with gut infections. Also my son was not having great bowel movements even on GAPS, but when he had a course of antibiotics, his bowels got much better. Clearly, there was some kind of bacterial overgrowth in there, or at least not enough of beneficial yeast (he had a lot of kefir and kombucha during and after his antibiotic course, so I’m assuming the beneficial yeast had an opportunity to go in and colonize during the antibiotics). As for myself, I notice candida symptoms returning if I stray too much from GAPS (after being pretty strict for several months on it, and still being strict most of the time).

    I’ve heard of people healing on all different kinds of diets/protocols, and I’ve heard of people NOT healing on all different kinds of diets/protocols, so I definitely agree there is no one-size-fits-all plan. It’s too bad there is no magic bullet to good health–we are all just too different! Now this post has me wondering what I am sensitive to–I have suspected I might be eating things I am sensitive to (as well as my son) but I had been told that food sensitivity testing was not very accurate. I am interested in the method mentioned in this article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lisa,

      I was quite surprised myself to discover that I had developed these sensitivities! I think that I could have gone on for years on GAPS™ and never truly healed if I had continued to consume chicken broth as I had been being that I lab results reveal a sensitivity to it. I was drinking so, so much chicken broth in hopes of healing — and all the while, that may have been part of the problem!

      • Veronica

        Matt Stone from 180 degree health has mentioned that eliminating foods can develop food sensitivities. I think if eat to much of anything it can also cause problems. I tried the gaps intro for 11 days and the first days I was feeling great and then I felt like crap and started to get constipated, so I quit! So I’m done with dieting! I don’t follow any guidelines I eat what I want and I feel better!!

  3. Great post. I like Anne’s perspectve. I may find myself contacting her as I have thyroid and hormone problems and it sounds as though she investigates thoroughly. Thanks for posting this Sandrine.

    • Hi Lynda,

      It is good to hear from a familiar, local voice in the crowd! I highly, highly recommend Anne’s guidance in this regard. I was having hot flashes so often it felt crippling – at least one every hour, sometimes several, all day, every day.

      Anne offers a complimentary consultation to become acquainted: anne@anewleafnutrition.net (707) 849-3569

    • Heidi

      Lynda, I’m curious to know if you did contact Anne and if she was able to help you with your thyroid and hormone problems? I also have a thyroid problem, and I suspect something with my hormones as well. Just checking to see if it was helpful to you.

  4. Ivy

    Thanks so much for this info. GAPS has worked for me, but not for my child. Both under the guidance of a GAPS-licensed naturopath, who individualized it for us and admits we have been following the protocol correctly. I also followed the WAPF guidelines for years before getting pregnant. It is very discouraging to try so hard, spend much time, money, and energy to have the best nutrition, and yet have digestive issues.

    Petaluma is far for me though, I wish Anne had a practice closer by or offered consultations by phone.

    • Ivy – Anne works with clients near and far by phone and Skype! She offers a complimentary consultation to become acquainted: anne@anewleafnutrition.net (707) 849-3569

      I completely relate to your sense of deflation. I had been absolutely 100% commitment in theory and practice to GAPS™ – investing a fair amount of my energy, time and money — only to discover that I was eating foods that were not serving me — nutrient-dense, whole foods that would otherwise be considered healthy but, not for me at this point in time.

      • aebader

        I am very interested in this. I’ve been on GAPS for several years and am not improving like I should be. There are other issues that I believe need to be addressed for me to be able to make continued progress. Thank you for this information.

  5. Kimberly

    I love all of your articles, and found this very interesting. I must say, though, because I’m a booger like that, that its keratosis pilaris and not polaris. :) I also wanted to ask, if you don’t mind sharing, how much did all of the testing cost?

    • Thanks, Kimberly! I see that I actually had pilaris spelled correctly in my originally document, however the word pilaris is identified as an error in the Word Press spell check, so it appears that I accepted the alternative! I have changed the word in the article now.

      The testing that Anne ordered related to my digestive concerns were as follows:

      GI Panel: Looks for fungal, parasitic, and bacterial infections. Accesses function and immunity. Cost is $285

      MRT Food Sensitivity Test: Blood test to determine food sensitivities. Cost is $275

      Blood Chem Panel: Complete blood work up; Anne reviews it from a nutritional perspective. Cost is $125

      I also had other testing done – hormonal panels related to the hot flashes and night sweats I was experiencing.

      Others in my circle who are working with Anne had other tests done. Each person has their own unique testing needs, however I believe that with issues related to digestion, Anne has most clients do the GI Panel and the MRT Food Sensitivity Test.

      Clients pay the labs directly – there is no “mark up” on the lab work. It includes the overnight shipping fees involved.

      • Gina

        Hi Sandrine – Was the GI panel the comprehensive 2100 GI Effects Gastrointestinal function profile from Metametrix/Genova? I was going to order one (with intentions of at some point showing the results to her) but I want to make sure I get the right one that she would want to have done as well. I need to spread out my $ and do one thing at a time. Thanks in advance if you can see if that’s the one you had done!

      • Deb

        I’m totally broke and still in school but I’m bookmarking this for the time I can afford this on my own. it gives me hope as I’m 100% sure of a parasitic infection and also dealing with candida overgrowth and chronic constipation which gets worse the healthier I eat. I gave up on the candida diet a long time ago because I was not moving enough and as soon as you go off it, symptoms come back in an instant. I can’t even think off dealing with parasites if I’m eternally
        stopped up. Thanks for sharing this and thanks Mrs. Silva for all your hard work and research. God bless you all!

  6. Marcie Cheshire

    This is so interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Christine

    What lab are the above tests(GI Panel, MRT Food, and Blood Chem) sent to? I have had a bunch of tests sent to private lab over the years. Wondering if I have already had these tests. As I am sure a lot of you can relate to, I am low on funds and can’t do things unless needed. Food intolerances must be one of the most aggravating things to deal with and family and friends don’t get it. They blame the doctors and everything else when you don’t get better with extremely healthy food. It really sucks to not get well when you don’t eat anything another person would consider bad. Seriously, meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, healthy oils should be making us sick! (sigh) I feel for all of you dealing with this struggle. I am glad I am not alone or crazy!

  8. vancouvernutritionist

    Hi Sandrine, thanks for the informative post. I too went through extensive healing of my gut to heal from gluten intolerance, casein allergy (not to mention eggs, soy, bananas…) In addition to the dietary component I did BIE: http://www.vancouvernutritionist.com/bie-allergies and THAT is what enabled me to be able to digest and eat all these things again!! It’s been 3 years and I’m still healthy as I’ve ever been with no return of my health challenges and food allergies. I was able to identify all my imbalances and allergies with BIE and then “clear” them in 1-3 sessions! Thought I’d share my experience. I’m going to write the rest of my story soon, here’s part one: http://prenatalcoach.com/healed-gluten-intolerance-part-1

    • Hi Crystal! I will definitely take a look at your article – it is a relatively long one so, I’ll save it for night time reading!

      I am happy to read that you have healed your gut from gluten intolerance! What were your symptoms before and after?

      In my case, there were no issues with wheat, grains of any kind, or gluten – it didn’t come up in any of the lab work done yet, nonetheless, I haven’t integrated grains back into my diet because I find that I maintain my weight much more easily without them, and they are not the most nutrient dense foods. I also didn’t have any candida overgrowth, parasites or the like — some “good news!

  9. aparna

    Thanks Sandrine,
    I sent you email this morning about similar issue with my son. So glad to see the response. I emailed and also called Annie hopefully we will be able to work it out for my son

    Thanks Again

  10. Hi. I have been following SCD with supplements for the last year for Crohn’s Disease with a small amount of success. I have also read where Crohn’s is linked to MAP pathogens and wonder if Anne might have some insight into this as well, as they seem so similar. I have been supplementing with natural antibiotics and TNF inhibitors, but am always interested in improvement!

  11. I am just curious on how to find a nutritionalist like Anne who can and will do such tests? I have Crohn’s Disease and have had such difficulty finding someone who is open-minded to treatments outside traditional western medicine but also credible and able to help perform extensive personal tests to help determine what foods I can and cannot eat.

  12. please also consider LDA immunotherapy. It has been very effective for our family.

    http://www.drshrader.com/lda_therapy.htm

    and

    http://www.drshrader.com/ProblemsWeTreat.htm

    and

    • I am watching the video!

      Will you share what you and your family experienced before and after? What were your symptoms?

      • certainly … start by reading below this video of me recently doing a few pull ups … I feel silly about being shirtless in the video, but my son captured the video of me by surprise and I thought the pull ups would illustrate how far I have come since starting LDA and LDN …. I or my wife will be happy to communicate with anyone who is interested to know our complete story … scottcczp@gmail.com

  13. Mindy

    Though recommended highly, I have never embarked on the GAPS journey for my family. My biggest argument has always been that the many of the early GAPS foods are on our high sensitivity list. It didn’t make any sense to me to eat those things first and hope they’d heal me. This gives me hope that I’ve been doing my best all along by eliminating sensitive foods from our diet and eat a healthy variety of all that is left. Even without testing our quality of life has improved so much by eating only what makes us feel good. I feel so validated now after years of everybody elses’ formulas being touted as the fix all for anybody with food related issues. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    • … and thank you, Mindy – for taking the time to share as well!

    • Stephanie

      YES, Mindy, this is exactly why I did GAPS intro for only three days and never tried it with my daughter. It just didn’t make sense to start with cruciferous veggies knowing that so many people (perhaps us but I am not sure) are sensitive to them. Also, as has already been pointed out, many types of meats can become troublesome. We’ve been eating a paleo diet for many months, also focusing on bone broths and home ferments, and are still constipated.

      I am very interested in Anne’s approach and will likely be contacting her! Thanks Sadrine!

  14. Good info. I was actually trying to start GAPS a couple of years ago when I became very sick with a viral infection. Turns out broth is very high in arginine and low in lysine. That makes it more likely to encourage certain types of viruses to grow (like herpes simplex, which causes shingles). All that broth ended up making me sicker and I was in the hospital for a week, and have had chronic infection and skin issues since. Now I avoid concentrating any one food in my diet, and I am working with a nutritionist on helping my immune system to recover and rebalance. She actually odd extensive DNA testing as well as sensitivity testing and we are seeing results.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Becca – pleased to read that you are seeing results!

    • Becca – That is very scary, as I have autoimmune issues already as well as several viruses lying dormant in my system. Certainly don’t want to re-activate them! Glad you are feeling better. What type of sensitivity and DNA testing did you do? I am looking for new ways to learn what my underlying issues are, as everyone I’ve seen is clueless as to how to pinpoint the problems. So frustrating! Can I ask what city you are in and who your nutritionist is? You can email me privately at dara at corespring dot com if you’d rather not include their name publicly. Thanks.

  15. This makes sense to me. I started a traditional foods diet in 2002. When I became seriously ill in 2006 despite a 95% TF diet, I was able to heal without a highly restricted diet by just eliminating my food intolerances (gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, apple and cashew) and taking supplements that were specific to gut healing. I also used heavy doses of probiotics, digestive enzymes, L-glutamine and pascalite or other digestive clay. That was before GAPS came out. Despite being very seriously ill, my digestion healed in less than a year, allowing me to then turn to and work on the other problems I had, go through chelation and other needed treatments to regain my health.

    • Thank you, KerryAnn … it sounds like what you did is very similar to Anne’s approach. It is interesting for me to read about what you did before GAPS™ became the healing protocol that so many of us in the Weston A. Price Foundation turn to.

    • Kristie

      Hi KerryAnn! I have followed your story for some time now. I would love to know how you found your food intolerances so that you could eliminate them. Also, what gut healing supplements did you take, and did you take digestive enzymes everyday? Did you take them with food?
      And regarding chelation, do you remember what drugs were used. I have suspected mercury for a while now. I have worked on my digestion, hormones, liver, adrenals, and then had my fillings safely removed and replaced. My doctor wants to do a chelation challenge test, and then chelate with IV’s. He also, wanted me to do a liver cleanse. I did a herbal colon cleanse, and my menstrual cycle got a lot closer – very good sign since I was diagnosed with pcos. I have been trying to support my liver with food and herbs (elevated liver enzymes). I haven’t ever actually done a liver cleanse though. Last cycle, I had bad ovulation pain, and felt bad before my cycle (bloating, achy, headache the day before.) I have been getting better and better over the last few years, but still feel that I could improve. I would love to hear details of what you consider to be very important to heal. Thank you!

  16. lisa michelle

    Great article! I did the GAPS diet to help with my Hashimotos but unfortunately I don’t think it did. Do you know if the E95 Food Allergy Test is like the MRT Food Sensitivity Test?

    • Lisa, I don’t know? I encourage you to ask Anne: anne@anewleafnutrition.net

    • Rebecca

      I haven’t tried the GAPS diet, but as far as healing Hashimoto’s, going gluten-free has lowered my TSH quite a bit (enough to lower my medication) when it has never lowered before. I noticed my numbers dropping after about 5 months. It’s definitely not a quick fix and I’ve read that as soon as I consume gluten again, my body will go back to attacking my thyroid. Good luck.

      • While gut healing is imperative with Hashimoto’s, there are other components that must be addressed that are just as important. Determining what is driving the auto-immune response is paramount.

      • Camilla

        There is a definitel connection between gluten intolerance and hashimotos (in fact all auto-immune thyroiditis). Gene-testing is available via http://www.enterolab.com. The gluten sensitivity sits on the same genes as the hashimotos, thus gluten consumption is a direct provocation to the hashimotos. With one anti-gluten gene, the likelihood of developing autoimmune thyroiditis is 10x higher as compared with the average population. With two genes not liking gluten, that increases to 20x. Getting off gluten had my energy up by about 100% within a month. After that, a ketogenic WAPF-based diet and an (almost) daily green juice has done me well. Another thing to be aware of is the trouble many of us have with methylation – it messes with our B vitamins and absorption of nutrients. I am now on HS Fighters – a methylated B supplement. The doc unrveling all this was Dr. Luepnitz in Austin, TX. He is a Ph.D in nutrition and genetics and did a great job of thinking OUTside the box, at least for me.

        • I just want to second the comment that treating methylation can make a big difference. I’ve been on a WAPF diet for 10 years, tried GAPS, been gluten-free much of the time, been low-carb much of the time, without seeing any improvement in many of my health issues. A new health practitioner recently started treating me for methylation problems and I’ve seen improvement in a health problem that no practitioner was able to diagnose or help me with in the past.

  17. Kathy Fields

    Wow, I really feel defeated now. I have been on Gaps for almost 3 years and still suffer from brain fog and depression and occasional constipation. I am on social security disability and could never afford to have these tests. I barely can afford the food for the diet, but I have managed. What are poor people supposed to do? Feeling hopeless.

    • Kathy, I too had ended up being declared legally disable and was on Social Security disability. But I got better and here is a video of me just last week doing a few pull ups!

      I cannot encourage you enough to find an LDA and LDN doctor. These therapies are very cheap and powerfully effective. LDA has a cure rate of 80% after one year. 80% of people are cured of whatever serious affliction they had after just one year. The fail rate is less than 5%. This therapy has been used in Europe for over 20 years with amazing success. LDA cost about $200 every other month, but you just need to do it for one year…so six shots total. LDN (low dose naltrexone) is very inexpensive at just $20 per month. And with both of these therapies there is no special diet other than eat well.

      Three years ago I was the model of health, but began to suddenly decline quite rapidly, and after a couple of years I ended up being declared legally disabled.

      My first symptom was lower back pain and then my cognitive abilities began to diminish, and then the fatigue and then my vision went screwy, and then my balance and then the brain fog set in…at times the brain fog was very much like dementia…I felt at times like I could slip off into never-never land….my memory had been greatly reduced. I also became very sensitive to computers and TVs…they would make me very dizzy and foggy…pretty common evidently…EMF sensitivity….my blood pressure was messed up, pretty low….my heart would take off racing from time to time…many other weird symptoms that I have forgotten…

      I became “allergic” to everything outside and most things inside as well. I was also reduced to eating just 3 or 4 foods, as I was reactive to everything else.

      Somehow, we stumbled on an MD that uses a unique therapy, called LDA immunotherapy, to treat all sorts of auto-immune disorders and syndromes, and he achieves rather dramatic and successful results.

      http://www.drshrader.com/ProblemsWeTreat.htm

      I cannot recommend highly enough the LDA immunotherapy. It has brought me back from the dead. Really amazing stuff. Almost all of my food sensitivies and pet allergies and outdoor allergies are gone. My chemical sensitivities have persisted a bit, but our LDA physician says that chemical sensitivities go away slower and it will likely take two years of treatment for these to completely resolve.

      The way LDA works is to stimulate the production of new helper T cells. Our old T cells have bad memories, they think we are sensitive or intolerant or allergic to certain things in the environment, sometimes hundreds of things. Imagine if your body is reacting even slightly to 300 different foods, inhalants, pets, and common chemicals like perfume or scented laundry detergent. This extreme immune system reaction leads to a whole host of bodily dysfunctions including pervasive micro inflammation and neuro-muscular responses that cause incredible pain and much more. Well this very type of scenario seems to be a commonality between all auto-immune disorders.

      So LDA injects you with about 5,000 different low dose antigens, (foods, chemicals, pets, inhalants, bacteria) so low that your immune system won’t react, and then the LDA mix has an enzyme that stimulates the production of new helper T cells. The new T cells learn that you are not allergic/intolerant/sensitive to all those antigens. So the idea is to let all your old bad memory T cells die, and load your body up with new T cells that have good memories. It can literally turn off all allergies/reactions/sensitivities/intolerance’s.

      The success rate with LDA is about 80% cured with 1 year of treatment. And cured of all sorts of really bad stuff. They have used this therapy in Europe for more than 20 years under the name EPD.

      I just completed one year of treatment and with a few exceptions, I do not have any food, pet, or inhalant sensitives any longer. This is profound as, I had been reduced to eating 3 foods and was unable to go outside. We are still working on the chemical sensitivities, but they are fading, it’s just taking a bit longer.

      Technical details of LDA…How LDA works:

      http://www.drshrader.com/lda_therapy.htm

      A list of Doctors that treat with LDA

      http://www.drshrader.com/lda_physicians.htm

      The therapy is really easy and quite cheap too. You take 1 shot every other month and each shot costs about $200.

      We now have several members of our family taking LDA. I am taking it, my wife, my oldest son (12), my MIL, and my SIL. All of us have responded quite well.

      Another therapy I do not want to fail to mention is LDN (not LDA). LDN or Low Dose Naltrexone, is according to my doctor the greatest medical discovery in the past 50 years and it has been in use since the 1980’s, and it is dirt cheap at $20 per month. No side effects, non toxic, more a vitamin than a drug. It is an incredible immune system booster and regulator. I take both LDA injections and LDN (low dose naltrexone). For one reason or another my doctor’s mother, who had Lupus, was unable to take LDA immunotherapy, so he put her on LDN and her Lupus has all but disappeared, for years now.

      Most of my family takes LDN now as well. My sister is currently taking it as it is very effective at eliminating Hashimoto’s. I have heard that Dr. Hilgers prescribes LDN to all his patients.

      http://www.drhilgers.com/

      More Info on LDN

      http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/

      http://ldn.proboards.com/index.cgi

      Here is a very long interview with the discoverer of LDN

      • Stephanie

        Scott, that’s great that LDA worked for you. But how is $200 every 2 months cheap? That comes to at least $1,200 just for the shots. Kathy might as well pay for the testing, and try to get to the root of the problem instead of get shots that only limit your body’s immune response. And LDA certainly won’t heal a leaky gut.

        I know this is now off topic for this blog post but I feel compelled to respond to Scott’s repeated plug for LDA.

        I also did allergy shots, 10 years ago during college. They did help (I no longer experience environmental allergies), however, I can’t say I’m healthier for it. Since then my digestion and overall health has rapidly declined and while I don’t attribute it solely to the shots, I believe they were part it. Because, do we really know what is in these injections? I took a look at your links and couldn’t see anyingredients lists. My guess is these injections are similar to vaccines and vaccines, as we know, contain many heavy metals and other toxic substances which are known to cause all kinds of immune and digestive disregulation. So, yeah, with LDA you are telling your body to stop reacting to certain foods and substances, but if the injections contain additional toxic substances which store in the body’s tissues and cause more leaky gut, how can that be helpful in the long run?

        • Lynn

          Hi Stephanie
          Actually I found Scott’s comments extremely useful nor do I think any of this is off topic. You can’t separate immune system problems from the gut. There are many of us who are frustrated with strictly following protocols and going in circles. So it is hopeful to find something new that worked for someone. Scott sounds like he was extremely sick and from his video, he certainly is doing well now.

          Personally I don’t see $1200 for shots as cheap but neither is MRT testing. The cheapest MRT test I’ve found is close to $300 without a nutritionist consult. With a nutritionist it goes up at least $100. Then it sounds like this is a test needs to be repeated periodically so it can add up easily to over $1000 over time. We would gladly pay $200 to see if LDA gets us started down a solid path.

          btw….not to knock MRT testing (we certainly are thinking of trying it) but here’s another link to a discussion it that basically echos another comment here about test results continually changing and being notorious for showing no reaction to obvious problems like gluten.

          http://www.perskyfarms.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=17292

          Scott thank you so much detailing your story! We’ve been using LDN and it’s has helped but not enough for the immune problem we’re dealing with. I’m very interested in following up with your LDA information and appreciative of the time you took to give it to us.

          • Interesting thread at perskyfarms about lack of repeatability in MRT testing. I was the poster complaining about my MRT results changing so much, in just 7 months. So even if I am sensitivite to a food, as shown by MRT, I don’t know how long to avoid it, since most of my sensitivities change rapidly. I’m not wealthy enough to do the test frequently (in fact, my credit cards are totally maxed out now from all the tests and treatment I did in the past year due to an illness, which fortunately is much better now). If I were wealthy, I would do MRT 2 times in close succession, like a week apart, just to see if the results are the same (as they should be). I am suspicious that the results would be quite different, though my dr. said to wait at least 3 months before repeating it, as the results would be the same.

            • Lynn

              HI Margaret
              The peskyfarm moderator does say:
              “Also, experience shows that test results can change dramatically from one sample to another, for the same patient, especially if a significant amount of time passes between the occasions when the respective samples are drawn. ” Since he says “significant amount of time passes” it sounds like testing done close together will yield similar results.

              I would be curious what Anne sees….when food allergies clear up does she see new ones pop on the test or does future testing show less and less? Your results sound like the sensitivities just switch around but maybe I’m reading that into your comments.

              btw….after much searching I did find a lab you can buy the test at without going through a nutritionist. But it’s still close to $400 (just relooked at the lab and was wrong when I said $300 above)

              http://www.truehealthlabs.com/leap-mrt-test-food-sensitivity/

              • You’re correct, the sensitivities just switch around for me, don’t become less, even though digestion and health is improved. I don’t have a huge number of sensitivities, and yet, even without a huge number, I can go to a restaurant and not find one single dish on the menu that does not contain one of the sensitive foods in it. Fortunately some restaurants will work with this and make custom dishes for me that I can eat–restaurants are much more used to people having food sensitivities now than 10 years ago.

          • When we look to do testing to determine cause for symptoms, what we want to know is this: is there diet-induced inflammation. This inflammation is a direct result of proinflammatory and proalgesic mediator release from white blood cells. This is true regardless of the pathway – be it a result of food allergy, celiac disease, or food sensitivities. Symptoms and severity are determined by antigen load (think ‘toxic load’), frequency of exposure, which cells are reacting, which mediators are released, where in the body the mediators are being released, and how effective the system is that ‘cleans up’ the mediators once they are released.

            A study was done using two different labs testing allergies. A clinician sent in two blood samples to two different labs. Three days later, she sent in an additional sample to the two labs, and three days after that she sent yet another sample to each lab. After analyzing the four samples from the two labs, only 34% of the allergies shown on the testing were the same from one lab and 82% were the same from the other lab. And these are from what we know are longer-term antibody allergies!

            MRT (mediator release testing) tests for food sensitivities, which are the most prevalent type of diet-induced inflammatory reaction. These are highly complex, non-antibody, non-celiac inflammatory reactions. Food sensitivity reactions may be delayed by many hours, are often dose-dependant, involve many types of white blood cells, and are tied to oral tolerance mechanisms, i.e. how we break down and process food and food components.

            Will MRT results change over time? Yes! They are not fixed and will shift over time. That, however, is not what matters. The reason MRT is so valuable is that it tells us about an individual’s total toxic load, along with the information we glean from a GI test. MRT can reveal if the body is capable of dealing with the the toxic load. If the gut is leaky, if stress is off the charts, if one is drinking too much alcohol, or taking prescription drugs, if one is drinking too much water with meals – all of these things – will increase toxic load. But identifying one’s food sensitivities, along with gut pathogens, we are able to reduce toxic load. Once that has occurred and the gut is healed, the body is then fully capable of dealing with minor sensitivities as they change. If however, one is not eating the right foods for the metabolism, or if they have an increased toxic load from other exogenous sources, it’s entirely possible food sensitivities can become a clinical problem again in the future. I have only seen this happen with one client who just wasn’t interested in significantly changing her diet to nutrient-dense foods. We healed her gut and she avoided her sensitive foods for a time, but she eventually went back to a diet of highly refined foods and the problem came back. This was not the result of inaccurate testing; rather, it was the result of eating a SAD (standard American ) diet.
            Please understand that sensitivities are always with us. The question is, can the body flow with this and thrive.

            Anne Fischer Silva, CN

  18. Erica

    I’ve never done GAPS before, but I have been paleo and I follow Dr. Kruse’s epi-paleo template right now. I am excited to learn of this testing and of Anne. I will definitely be contacting her when I have money to do testing.

    I mainly wanted to comment about Keratosis Pilaris as I have this as well. I remember in high school every now and then getting a few spots on my upper arms, but at the time I always thought they were clogged pores. They would come and go and weren’t bad at all. Then at the age of 21 I became a vegetarian and then a vegan. This lasted for 5-6 yrs when I found out about paleo which I have been intermittently doing for a couple years. During the time of veg/vegan I progressively got worse and worse KP. I ended up with it badly on my upper arms and now forearms. I also have it lightly on my legs now. I also got Rubra Faceii on my cheeks which is basically KP on your face and Fordyce Spots on my lips, again related to KP.
    Recently I’ve had success in healing my KP on my arms and face. I too have read about the relation to genetic inability to use vitamin A in the non retinol form. I plan on getting genetic testing from 23andMe as soon as financially possible. Until then I’m just going with it. I have done just gluten/grain free. I have done just added vitamin A from cod liver oil and beef liver. But, what has been working the best has happened in the last month. No gluten/grains, taking cod liver oil every day, taking vit D, eating raw beef liver equal to 1 lb a month, magnesium oil on arms, and no dairy. Doing all of this has FINALLY started healing it. I have patches of completely clear skin on my arms now.. it’s pretty hilarious looking when there are red dots all around the clear perfect skin, but it’s wonderful. I will say that I was doing all of the vitamins since October ’12 and went back to gluten and grain free November 27 and it was looking better but nothing too drastic. Basically about 10% better like every other time I’ve gone gluten free. But, about 2 wks ago I thought I’d try dairy free since I’ve heard of a link to it as well. Well, sadly, as I love dairy, it started clearing up after the first week. It’s been steadily getting better since. I hope that my lips will also clear up, but I am thrilled with my arms and face!
    So, you may want to try some of this… see if it helps you. I really think it’s the Vit A issue, but that dairy and gluten are causing gut issues that cause even retinol vit A not to be absorbed very well
    I hate liver , but I know I need to eat it… so I cut it up into tiny pill sized pieces and freeze it, then I unwrap a pack every other day or so and just swallow them like pills. No taste, but all the benefit and raw is even better. :)

    I don’t know if you know of the possible genetic link, but if you ever get your genes done look for it. I would make sure you are getting enough Vit A in retinol version just in case. i just wouldn’t worry about beta-carotene version being any help.

    Good luck! And when my KP clears completely I will let you know if I did anything else.

  19. Faye

    That is such an interesting article. I’ve just started GAPS and felt brilliant on it after the first weeks pain and head fog. I really do feel better but I’ve noticed my tiredness has come back so that I need naps again and I’m feeling foggy headed again. I’ve not even finished intro! But I’m in the UK, how would I find someone who did similar in my area?

  20. tiedyedeb

    Very happy to have come across this article. While we haven’t done GAPS here with my family – we have a number of identified food sensitivities among the 4 of us (including to some GAPS foods), and meal preparation is already challenging – we have had some great success with physical and behavioral issues by strategically reducing and/or eliminating a number of foods, chiefly gluten and most dairy (we still have some yogurt and some raw milk from time to time). We still haven’t been able to pin down the cause of my older daughter’s eczema, though (her KP has mostly cleared up on its own), and while my Hashimoto’s is more or less asymptomatic at this point without the gluten, I”m still experiencing far more symptoms associated with perimenopause than I’d like, so something like this could well be a big help in dealing with those issues.

    I’d like to thank the commenters above for information on the costs of the lab work. It gives me an idea how much an endeavor like this would cost our family for just my older daughter and me to be treated – which, sadly, is way out of our price range as a one-and-a-half-income family at this time. :-( But the information here gives me hope that we’re on the right track, at least, and it gives me a direction to go when talking with our own doctors about lab work I’d like to try while we keep working on our diets – not so much as a DIY, but something we can do in the meantime. As our situation evolves – I’m still looking for more than part-time work – we now have a place we can turn to for help. :-) Thanks so much for sharing this information!

  21. Mishy

    Anyone have recommendations for someone who can do all the necessary testing you speak of above in the Northampton, MA area? (Western, Mass)
    My husband has serious digestive problems. He became lactose intolerant after a severe episode of food poisoning from a bad oyster 11 years ago. He manages okay, but has frequent digestive upsets. I feel like if we go to an allergist, they will test for antibodies and call it a day. Any suggestions on how we can get testing from someone with a more holistic approach.Thanks!

  22. Allie

    This is amazing that you are having such immediate relief. Yay!
    I did similar testing using the Alcat test for food sensitivities. I followed it religiously for the 6 months I was suggested to stay on it. Not much change. My current health practitioner has mentioned that we all can become sensitive to those foods we eat on a regular basis. So, the ones I tested sensitive to In the past, I avoided, but if tested again I will most likely test sensitive to some of the foods I am now consuming. Removing the offending foods can be a huge help, but then we develop new sensitivities with our new foods.
    If one cannot afford testing, then it would be good to change up your diet eating a variety of foods daily. The Alcat test suggests to not eat the same food for at least four days. This is very hard to do and leftovers are out of the picture with this protocol, so it gets expensive. I do not adhere to this dietary rule.
    Believe it or not, even with my diet loaded with raw kefir, kombucha and fermented foods the only thing that has helped my chronic constipation is the use of Ultimate Force probiotics 80 billion strength. It did not matter the foods I ate or did not eat, although, adding some grains back in seems to have made a small difference in a positive way of helping motility.
    This is just my experience, thought I’d share.

  23. Natalia

    ahh! I’m highly allergic to chicken too! (actually all poultry + pork + eggs) I thought I was the only one!

    • Natalia,

      My understanding is that there is a difference between a food sensitivity and an allergy. I have been told that I have food sensitivities but, no allergies.

      • Natalia

        I think mine is a sensitivity too. I don’t get anaphylactic but my entire body swells up, I go pale, irregular heart beat and exhaustion. The last time I ate pork I fell asleep for 16 hours and woke up exhausted and swollen! Have not been tested for food sensitivities recently but I did a few years ago using the electro-dermal screening method. Since then my food sensitivities have changed and continue to do so, so I’ve found the most reliable method is to judge how I feel after eating something.

        • Provided by Anne Fischer Silver at my request, to help us define the terms:

          A food allergy produces an immediate reaction like hives, the throat swells, etc.

          A food intolerance occurs when we are unable to digest something – as with lactose intolerance, or the inability to digest milk proteins.

          Food sensitivities are much more subtle and typically produce a delayed reaction – up to 36 hours after food ingestion. Reactions can be varied, including but not limited to headaches, digestive disturbances, brain fog, skin reactions, etc.

          • Good definitions….it can certainly help to be precise about things. When I talk with folks, I tend to lump them all together because most often we don’t know really what we are dealing with, (and we most often don’t really care) we just want them to go away. That’s the main reason that LDA immunotherapy works so well. It treats all the above: allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities. You don’t have to figure out which you are dealing with, LDA just cures them all.

  24. Hydrocloric acid is HCL only the L is usually lowercase. HCl

  25. Lynn

    Sandrine thank you so much for this post and all your carefully thought out responses in the comment section. This is one of the most helpful blog posting I’ve read on digestion.

    For people who are strapped financially and want to try the MRT test …a food elimination protocol might yield similar results. In looking for nfo on the test I came across a comment from one of the trainers for nutritionists who want to use the MRT blood test. She essentially said it’s a food elimination program, just way easier and faster to figure out with these test results. So I think very careful records using a good old food elimination protocol could yield similar help. Just be sure to wait 3-4 days before introducing a new food because of delayed reactions.

    Btw… I spent some time looking for a way to order the test without working through a nutritionist (the tests cost around $300 for a health practioner). The cheapest I could find was $600 through forest health. http://www.forresthealth.com/leap-mrt-food-allergy-test.html
    If you go to the bottom of the link you can find a list of the foods that MRT tests for under “additional information”.

  26. Missa

    What a great article! Thank you so much for sharing!

  27. I have a small natural health practice in Coastal Maine where I work with diet and gut issues as described in this article (great article by the way). To break thru the biofilm I recommend a product called “Interfase” by Klair Labs. It is a enzyme formula specifically for this purpose. Anne is correct that each individual requires a individual approach to diet. That is why I work with “The Metabolic Typing Diet (R)”. I also use Functional Diagnostic Nutrition to identify healing opportunities on the Gut, Hormonal, Immune, and Detoxification systems. Very effective process. FYI: http://www.center4wellbeing.com.

  28. jen

    Sandrine, thank you so much for sharing this!

    It could not have come at a more perfect time for me. I am seeing Dr. Cowan for LDN for my AI disease and he has also prescribed the GAPS diet. I am planning to start in the new year but have been a bit concerned about some of the Intro foods, namely eggs and almonds though I’m now also wondering about chicken and coconut.

    I have been hesitant to get food intolerance testing due to the expense and lack of reliability. It is encouraging to hear there is a test that has been helping people figure this stuff out. I still plan to try GAPS but will start saving for some additional testing and will exclude almonds & eggs until later. I was already planning to do a GI panel when I can but I have added the MRT to my wish list.

    Thanks also to Becca for the warning on broth and viral infections. That is concerning as I had chicken pox 2x as a child as well as cold sores which seems to make me at risk for shingles and perhaps other viral infections. Will have to research this more. Becca, if you are still here and have any useful links, I would be most grateful.

    It is so wonderful to read that with the right protocol healing can take place more quickly. I was thinking I would have to be on GAPS for a few years to see results. At ~$300, I think the MRT is a good investment if it can save one years of limitations and ill health.

    Good life to you all!

  29. Sue Rapp

    This is a sidebar comment/question regarding biofilm: has anyone ever heard of using diatomaceous earth for helping get rid of the biofilm? If so, I would be grateful to hear/read what you know about this. I must say this is an amazing conversation–I too had once faithfully followed the GAPS diet and had so much trouble, including a case of the worse hives ever. It is so encouraging to hear that there are ways to get help, especially when one has been so strict for so long and gotten few results.

  30. Kelly Hetherington

    Hi Sandrine,
    Thanks for the article. We have been on GAPS since December 2011, and have seen some improvements, but not to the degree we were hoping for. Even in the Bay Area, sourcing the foods is expensive, and finding a holistic practitioner who supports WAPF and/or GAPS is a trick! Regarding Metabolic Typing, I think NCM says she doesn’t believe in it–is this “typing” supposed to mean a person can’t have a certain food FOREVER? Does this mean I am supposed to eat some foods, and my son others, and my husband others? Eating a whole foods diet is time consuming enough, even as a professionally trained chef with mad cooking skills. If I thought the MRT would heal my son’s severe food allergies (eggs, nuts, dairy of any kind), I would do so in an instant. It does seem extremely costly, as we have already done Doctor’s Data lab tests numerous times (this was helpful, yet costly) as well as our annual allergy testing (blood draws are tumultuous and traumatic). I would feel dreadful if I put forth a few hundred more and stuck a needle in my son’s arm, only to see there are more foods we can’t eat. We are also Low Oxalate–does Anne assess oxalates? How about the histamine issue? We’ve also been told not to do sauerkraut due to histamine issues…oh, the roads we have taken in the last year!
    I also attended that GAPS cooking class with Monica Corrado. Just the VERY tip of the iceberg;)
    Thanks for this Sandrine–I’ll be sure to ask Tiffani next time I see her up in Petaluma, too. I had heard her mention elimination, but I didn’t want to take notice. We are eliminating all the time!

  31. Provided by Anne Fischer Silver at my request, to help us define the terms:

    A food allergy produces an immediate reaction like hives, the throat swells, etc.

    A food intolerance occurs when we are unable to digest something – as with lactose intolerance, or the inability to digest milk proteins.

    Food sensitivities are much more subtle and typically produce a delayed reaction – up to 36 hours after food ingestion. Reactions can be varied, including but not limited to headaches, digestive disturbances, brain fog, skin reactions, etc.

    • Good definitions! It can certainly be good to be precise. When I talk with people I tend to lump them all together as most often we lay people don’t know which we are dealing with (and we really don’t care), we really just want them to go away! That’s why LDA Immunotherapy is so effective. It eliminates all the above: Allergies, Sensitivities, and Intolerances. You don’t need to figure out which you have, LDA just makes them all go away.

    • Kelly

      Indeed. We have SEVERE, anaphylactic, food allergies. My main goal for being on GAPS was to strengthen his immune system as well as gain “normal” looking stools on a regular basis. I believe we have achieved this partially, but still no textbook stools, and his digestive system is still weak. I don’t regret the time we’ve spent on GAPS, but I am often frustrated by the suggestion of more tests, and the possibility of spending all this time on GAPS and not progressing further. In all honesty, some days I’d just LOVE to be happy eating at some greasy spoon, ignorant of where the food has come from and what it might be doing to my body. Oh how I long for the days of being content with a toxic Dunkin Donut.

  32. I tried GAPS a couple of times and it didn’t work for me, either. One reason was that I couldn’t tolerate the high fat content of it, since my liver and gallbladder couldn’t handle it. And I find I get constipated if I cut out all grains, no matter how many probiotics I take. If I eat rice and millet, which I seem to tolerate, or sometimes sourdough rye bread, then I am much less constipated. I’ve done the MRT food test 3 times and it was not helpful for me either–it made no difference in my symptoms if I avoided the foods or not. The other problem was, that my sensitive foods were vastly different each time I was tested and I can’t afford to get tested every 3 months (as the sensitivities change). My practitioner (a holistic MD) charges over $500 for it and I have to miss half a day of work to do it, because it has to be done between 1-3 pm, to be shipped out overnight to the lab. I was tested last Jan. and then again in August and almost every sensitive food or chemical was totally different in August. Foods that I’d been highly sensitive to in Jan. were not at all reactive in August and vice versa. And many of the foods it said I was reactive to are foods I rarely or never eat. So it’s not just a matter of eating something too much and getting sensitive to it. For instance, I’ve tested sensitive to walnuts repeatedly and I never eat them, as I’ve always hated the taste of them. Also, I tested as sensitive to sunflower seeds, something I do like, but never, ever eat anymore (because I avoid nuts, seeds and grains unless soaked, per WAPF guidelines). And in January I tested as fine with wheat whereas in August I tested as very sensitive to wheat. Given that I haven’t eaten wheat in over 20 years, how does one explain that? I do sometimes eat rye but during the time between the Jan & Aug tests, I had no rye whatsoever or any grain closely related to wheat–I only ate rice and millet. My dr. said the MRT test works great for some people, and for others, it makes little difference if they avoid the foods or not. Guess I’m one of those other people. I have also done the GI stool testing from Metametrix, which found a parasitic infection in 2008 that I finally ended up taking drugs for when all other treatment failed, so I highly recommend that testing. But one can still have digestive upset without any infections–I got very ill this year in Jan. with digestive upset and the GI testing showed no parasites, bad bacteria or yeast.

    • have you had hair test for heavy metals? HM’s can intefere with enzyme activity on most any level of the system. For instatance, uranium blocks a certain enzyme necessary for proper carbohydrate metabolism. Mercury sets the environment for candida and other unfriendly bacteria overgrowth. Then it’s like a domino effect throughout the system. It’s common to focus on the obvious sysmptoms instead of digging deeper to find what is happening on the causal level.

  33. madhupamaypop

    So many fascinating comments here…personal experiences…suggested links… Thank you all! With that said, I have a couple things that surfaced and has me pondering… It seems that our ‘dietary’ problems happened when we shifted from a seasonal, all-fresh diet and into a ice-box (late 1800s) and industrial food model (1940s-50s). I wonder how the get-anything-you-want-when-you-want-it supermarkets have damaged our systems? And, how do we return to eating what we have by the work of our hands or our neighbors? Are we too far from this and there is no return? These digestive issues just didn’t exist in this number and frequency until recently… I know that there are many wild plants that are antiparasitic and antimicrobial…these plants regularly taken in the diet…probably safe-guarded our systems. How are we to return to the basics, bounty and, yes, the sometimes-a-bit-hungry way of life? Jessica Prentice captures the essence of what I am saying in her book, “Full Moon Feast.” I have read it twice and refer to it at least monthly… Just pondering…as it’s so difficult to see so many degenerative disease out there…and I, too, recovered (and am on the tail-end of recovering) from gut issues…it’s been a wild journey…

    • People are starting to return to eating what they have from their work or work of neighbors, if you include local farmers in “neighbors”. Gardening for food, farmer’s markets, CSA’s and “eat local” mentality are much more prevalent than 10 years ago. I get far more food locally than I did 10 years ago, not just because I make more of an effort to do so, but because it is more possible than it was 10 or 20 years ago. There are so many more sources now.

  34. Cathryn E.

    With all due respect, Dr. Natasha covers all of this and much more in her GAPS Practitioner Trainings. The GAPS Intro Diet is a “starting point” and the diet may need to be bio-individualized with regards to eliminations and substitutions, and/or supplements for each person. This is why some do not fully recover on the GAPS Diet as it is written in the book. Some who do the diet on their own do not have the education, nor do they have the advanced level of expertise to understand where to go with the diet when some of their health issues persist, which is precisely why Dr. Natasha created the GAPS Practitioner Trainings. The GAPS Diet, as it is written in the book, has worked successfully for thousands and thousands worldwide. To say that it does not work is false. To say that the diet does not encourage ferreting out food allergies, nor does it address bio-chemical individuality is just plain INCORRECT. With regards to food allergies, the GAPS author states to place the food in question on the skin because the average person cannot order their own medical tests and also because many can’t afford the tests in the first place. It is a tool to help those who CAN and WISH to do GAPS on their own. To say that ONE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMME works for everyone is also a false statement. Of course there are going to be those who need to step out of the GAPS blueprint to achieve optimal results. That’s just common sense. Bashing the diet is not productive and can potentially cause those who truly NEED a programme like GAPS; who could truly benefit from it – to avoid it – whether it will work for them fully or not. Even if they heal 50% on GAPS and then go on to learn more about their healing and add it to their initial results on GAPS, that approach is surely better than nothing. I find this article to have an uneducated, negative, and narrow-minded spin on GAPS. It’s quite clear that there is a personal and self-promoting agenda behind this post – even though it states that there isn’t one.
    Setting Dr. Cowan’s view on GAPS straight… Dr. Cowan just sent his assistant practitioner to the GAPS Practitioner Training last month. I met her and she said that GAPS is DEFINITELY part of his practice, so if he did not feel that the diet worked, why would he send someone to the training? Your comments about Dr. Cowan are incorrect. He and Dr. Natasha have had conversations about different aspects of professional testing and support while on the diet and he uses GAPS as a healing protocol in his practice along with Nourishing Traditions principles all of the time – with supportive bio-individual protocols as well.
    The GAPS book was written to help people do the diet ON THEIR OWN. It is a template – one that has worked successfully for SO MANY! The GAPS Practitioners are being trained because the author knows that some individuals need a deeper degree of investigation as to why their bodies only respond to certain point of regaining better health on the basic diet. It is the same approach she has taken in her own professional practice and she is passing along this information to the professional so they can go out into the world to help at a deeper level. Nowhere in the book does it state that the GAPS Diet is 100% guaranteed to work for anyone; nor does it say that it should only be followed as outlined in the book without any additional testing or supplemental support. It states just the opposite, but it also educates the reader about the human body and why a person can very well end up with GAPS in the first place. Removing the stressors and strengthening the defenses is the goal of the GAPS Diet (as well as many other diets and protocols out there too) and that goal may look very different for each person, but you have to start SOMEWHERE. I highly suggest that you attend a GAPS Practitioner Training (if you are qualified) to understand GAPS at a much deeper level – a practitioner level. Then you will see that the author already addresses everything the nutritionist states in this post about her account of GAPS.
    I personally did the GAPS diet five years ago exactly as outlined in the book and achieved full healing, as many I personally know have done too. Others I know have needed to add in some additional supplements and tests to tweak the programme, but the core of their healing was the GAPS Diet with some peripheral support. These people are all over the world! It’s obvious that you and the nutritionist who wrote this post are not fully educated about GAPS and that you have clearly missed key concepts outlined in the GAPS book and in the GAPS Trainings that address EVERTYHING you mentioned in your post. Remember, we are all in this work together! We have to be on the same team if we are going to help people, so please have the facts straight before you publicly proclaim that GAPS doesn’t work. For every one person that might not see results on the diet, there are ten more who do! Thanks for reading. Happy New Year and GOOD HEALTH to ALL!

    • As a matter of clarification, I worked with a GAPS™ trained nutritionist for about 1 year — and we even consulted with Natasha Campbell McBride directly along the way.

      “Folks, I know that GAPS™ has worked for many , however I also know that one may be on GAPS™ for 2 years, adhering 100% to it, and still not heal and seal their gut with that protocol alone.”

      The title of the article is “If GAPS™ hasn’t worked for you, read this.” This is directed to those, like myself and many others, who many benefit from reading that the protocol alone may not be sufficient for them.

    • Kelly

      You sound well-versed in GAPS–and I appreciate your post, but what would you suggest for someone who has followed the diet with their 5 year old for over a year, and done Intro twice, and still the food allergies have NOT reduced, nor the skin rashes, bloating, and eczema. Is there someone you would recommend from experience? Are all GAPS practitioners equal? I have heard mixed reviews of Dr. Cowan, but have none of my own. May I ask how old you were when you progressed through the program, and what your personal issues were prior to starting? I would appreciate your sharing your experience–did you have a practitioner the whole path, or did you use multiple practitioners?

      • Hi Kelly,

        I am not sure if you are writing to me?

        I started GAPS™ on March 11, 2011 at the age of 46. I had a single nutritional therapist guiding my progress very closely, every step, until I stayed the course alone for a period of time, and then knocked on Anne’s door.

        Many people have ventured out with the book alone because it is offered as a self help guide. Yet, I had a trained nutritionist at my side every step who had been guiding clients through GAPS™ for some time. I wonder if it would behoove Dr. McBride to have a statement in the book that the book alone may not provide sufficient information to result in a healed gut. Yet even then, I have had Certified GAPS™ practitioners, trained by Natasha, share with me that they do have clients in their practice that followed GAPS™ very exactly which did not result in a healed gut as was evidenced by the persistent symptoms after even years.

        I have known 3 people now who were undergoing GAPS™ with Dr. Cowan, and all found that it simply didn’t work for them. I think that even with highly trained practitioners, the protocol in and of itself may not be individualized enough. One of the people I mentioned, under Dr. Cowan’s care, did GAPS™ twice for long periods of time, and is now working with Anne. After all that work behind her, test results showed evidence of very high numbers of food sensitivities, candida overgrowth, parasites, depressed gut immunity and even more areas of concern. I think that doing comprehensive lab work first may be of value so people don’t have to invest months or years before they discover that GAPS™ isn’t individualized enough.

        I do know several people who have had remarkable healing with Dr. Cowan in other areas (none of whom were on GAPS™ as it happens), and I have been a patient of his myself in the past, but not during the time I was on GAPS™. I would encourage you to consult with him to see if you sense he would be a good match for your needs. Sabine Luis, who works in Dr. Cowan’s office, writes, “I’m currently working on a clearer and easy to follow format for the GAPS™ diet that will cover a lot of the details not expressed in the book and hopefully we will see more GAPS™ successes and less pitfalls as a result. i understand that it can be very frustrating to enter into gaps only to out later that you missed a lot of crucial information that maybe could have changed the outcome.”

        About her experience working with Anne Fischer Silva, Tiffani Beckman-McNeil shared https://www.facebook.com/tiffani.beckman/posts/4193907045481?comment_id=4884895, “I should mention since this thread appears to be reactivated, that I am now 6 months later and: 23 pounds lighter, have amazing energy which includes almost bounding out of bed at 5am to workout, and no more stomach pains or nausea!! I am trying back a few foods to see what (if anything) I am still reactive to. So far, I can have black pepper again, butter, pork. Rice is inconclusive (going to try that again in a month or so) and chicken was a no-no still. I can retry chicken in 3 months and see how it goes. Really, I only miss chicken livers, so not having chicken hasn’t been so bad.”

        Tiffani told me today that she would expand on this since she is considered in a longer term client in Anne’s practice.

        • There have been indeed many successes at our office using GAPS. Dr. Cowan isn’t one for continuing to use protocols that don’t produce positive outcomes and GAPS is one of the few that have become a steady. All of our protocols are in constant evolution and Dr. Cowan doesn’t always use GAPS as a stand alone treatment in respect to the individual. I would like to invite you to read some of the patient stories in our past newsletters:

          http://fourfoldhealing.com/2012/07/13/july-2012/

          http://fourfoldhealing.com/2008/12/31/december-2008/

          Although no diet can possibly be the correct prescription for everyone, GAPS continues to be a godsend for many patients. i’ve personally seen some pretty great things happen through GAPS.

          I feel that this article has the potential to raise a lot of doubt, and I hope that people aren’t dissuaded to contact us for help.

          • This article that Anne Fischer Silva and I wrote was for those who have not found the resolution they hoped for by following the GAPS™ protocol, like myself. We never set out to malign any particular practitioner. I certainly don’t intend to disparage Dr. Cowan, whom Nourishing Our Children continues to include in our health practitioner referral list, and to whom I have personally referred many in my own circle to. My point was to illustrate that there may be inherent limits to GAPS™ regardless of who is guiding it, and to address what those limits may be.

            I trust that there have been others who have experienced the healing that they seek with the GAPS™ protocol, and have done so specifically under the guidance of Dr. Cowan, as well as other nutritionist and Certified GAPS™ practitioners. I referred to those I know personally that did not however, I envision there are others, and possibly many others, who could testify that their symptoms were resolved.

            Beyond GAPS™, I envision that every health practitioner has had clients, or patients as it were, that did not experience the healing they hoped for. There are several practitioners I have worked very closely with myself, whereby I didn’t experience relief from the symptoms I was experiencing that I continue to refer to wholeheartedly.

            The fact that not one person in my own circle has had their symptoms resolved on GAPS™, all of whom worked with a variety of trained practitioners (some of whom were trained by Dr. Natasha herself) led me to open up the discussion so we may consider why.

  35. msmerin

    I am so glad I stumbled across this, just after I read Tiffani’s post recommending Anne as well. I am going to contact her for help with my insufferable sleep issues and what I suspect is some sort of parasitic infection. Have been to so many practitioners with not much improvement to my rest, and I am TIRED! I have hope that she will help, so thank you!

  36. Hi Sandrine,
    I live in Canada and have IBS (pain related to food allergies, not really D or C) and Candida. I tried Gaps for 7 days and just found it way too restrictive and the Sauerkraut juice itself (only 3 tsps) caused my IBS pain to be intolerable so I quit. I am now starting the SCD diet because I believe doing something healthy for my body is better than nothing.
    I am very glad that you wrote this article because I believe that we all need customized testing and non-traditional protocols based on our individualized needs. The only problem for me personally is finding someone like Anne who practices in Canada close enough to where I live that I could consult with or Skype with. Do you know if there is anyone here who she would have knowledge of?
    Thanks,

    Tina

  37. Tina

    Where can I get the MRT in Atlanta area? I follow SCD but it’s close to GAPS. I’ve been on it 10 months and feel great, symptom free however ate something last week that’s causes a flare up :(. Looking to see if I indeed have some allergies I am unaware of. Would like to get the MRT testing.
    Thank you,
    Tina

    • Hi Tina,

      Anne provides her services to clients near and far – via phone and Skype. If you want to see someone in person, perhaps she has a colleague whom she can refer you to!?

      Anne Fischer Silva anne@anewleafnutrition.net (707) 849-3569

    • Rachel

      Tina, you could contact one of the practitioners at The Longevity Health Center. I’ve seen Dr. Anderson all my life and really appreciate his skill. He doesn’t do MRT testing but can use VEGA (bioenergetic testing) to determine what you might be sensitive to as well as heavy metals, parasites, etc. He offers constitutional homeopathic remedies based on your test results and complementary treatments, including laser detox which works really well for clearing sensitivities. The results of the laser detox may be temporary because if your body isn’t healed and you just reintroduce the offending substance it will again become sensitized. But I had it done for dairy (a few years back by another practitioner), which usually causes me stomachaches and diarrhea pretty quickly and was able to eat dairy regularly for a period of time before beginning to react again. Knowing what I know now of course I wouldn’t expose myself like that after treatment :) Anyway, I think he might be helpful and while the initial assessment is expensive, the follow up assessments are much cheaper than the MRT testing. http://www.longevityhealthcenter.com/

  38. Pingback: 2012 In Review | Nourishing Our Children

  39. Joanne Mendez, ARNP

    You are turning over 100 trillion cells from pathogenic to probiotic; for some it will take time. I recommend Gaps; if you are stuck then do an OAT test thru great plains laboratory. Also on your team, I encourage a colonic therapist or colema board to help thru the tough times… That has worked for us. Cleansing the colon is a great way to rid the body of toxins and assist in the healing phase. Check out “tissue cleansing thru bowel management” by dr bernard jensen…Joanne Mendez, ARNP

  40. One of our community members posted the following, and I am re-posting being that I think it is of value to the discussion:

    I know I’m yet another that’s just starting Anne’s program, but I wanted to chime in after reading the article on NOC. I just had the MRT testing done and found out I’m sensitive to coconut, yogurt and whey (among other things I was eating daily because I believed they were healing for me, and that my body liked them)! Being someone who’s struggled with candida and variations of leaky gut for decades, (before and after massive antibiotics for Lyme Disease) I was using coconut in many forms, many times a day. Especially when I was on the GAPS diet, without dairy. I felt horrible on the full GAPS. Now, after starting to work with Anne, seeing positive results with friends working with her and reading the article, this totally makes sense to me. I’m staying on my own modified version of GAPS, but am excited to be trying Anne’s suggestions.

    The protocols that [Dr. Thomas] Cowan put me on didn’t help at all. Then I saw a handful of other nutritionists and doctors (WAP oriented, and otherwise) which helped me heal my gut a bit here and there, but not enough. HCL gave me massive reflux that lingered long after I went off it. Other digestive enzymes never really helped. Acupuncture didn’t touch it. Nor did all kinds of expensive European homeopathy. I can see now why individualized blood and stool testing is so crucial for those of us who have more complex gut and health landscapes.

    I’ll report back after I spend more time with all of this.

    As a yoga teacher, doula and student of holistic healing for many years, I have come to believe that we all need individualized support for our unique constellation of health concerns, whether the issues are systemic, organ specific, muscular or emotional.

  41. Objectively speaking, the majority of the feedback posted about our article expressed appreciation for the post. However, for some it stimulated upset.

    We received feedback like Becca Griffith’s on Facebook: “Fantastic article, Sandrine and Anne Fischer Silva! It can be difficult to offer an additional perspective when GAPS™ is so highly revered throughout WAPF as a cure-all (and of course, for good reason it is highly revered … but not the end-all be-all). Also, this article comes out beautifully objective! Wonderfully written by both of you … thank you!”

    We also received this feedback in our local Yahoo group discussion board: “I think those of us who had a less than stellar reaction to the article would have appreciated a more balanced review on GAPS™ cons and pros of GAPS™ rather than just an “expose” on GAPS™ or perhaps even just an unbiased introduction to a new approach. The article weighs heavily on what’s wrong with GAPS™ and GAPS™ practitioners and offers virtually nothing with what is right with it. The only positive thing I could find mentioned in the article was a mere side statement “Folks, I know that GAPS™ has worked for many” which is easily lost in the myriad of comments on how much it has failed followed up with “not anyone I know has healed with GAPS™” etc. There are many success stories to be celebrated out there enough for Natasha to comprise into a book “GAPS™ stories” and more and more come in all the time. I don’t believe GAPS™ would be as popular as it is if it wasn’t able to hold its weight. Anyone who listened to Kim Schuette’s talk at the conference would have heard her child case stories which were amazing and moving to listen to. It would be unfortunate to dismiss them. Why is Nourishing Our Children not writing about these as well? Why does must the baby be tossed out with the bathwater?”

    Having re-read the entire blog carefully, I don’t believe that my testimonial nor Anne’s talked about what is wrong with any practitioner. I shared my own personal experience, which is the truth for me.

    In order to address the request for a balanced view, I would like to extend an invitation to those in the community, including any health practitioners, who may like to offer their experience about how GAPS™ may have served them and or their clients/patients.

    Please submit to blog@nourishingourchildren.org and we will publish!

    • Stephanie

      Sandrine, I would like to say that I really liked this article and I have enjoyed the discussion. It seems like anyone who took offense to your article is likely missing the point. I think you made it clear that your purpose was not to give all the pros and cons of GAPS but to simply discuss an alternative IF GAPS has not worked. IF.

      If people want a major discussion of pros and cons of GAPS, all they have to do is google GAPS and they’ll find plenty. Lots of people out there love GAPS or hate it.

  42. Thank you for writing this Anne. I have long wanted to write a article on “The Gaps in GAPS.” Thanks for your courage in doing so.

    I have been using GAPS before it was GAPS (as it started as SCD). As a nutritionist working with autism over 10 years, I had the opportunity to meet Elaine Gottschall at an autism conference when she was alive (in 2004), and have been using the diet since before that.

    While the diet can be incredibly wonderful for some children – I have heard/seen many wonderful experiences and use it in my nutrition practice often – I can get a bit frustrated that GAPS is often seen as the “only diet that heals.” In my experience, this is not correct – the diet right for YOU is the diet that heals.

    One of the biggest pitfalls I find with GAPS for my client with autism is oxalates. With the autism population this is crucial to consider because a study from 2011 showed children with autism had a 2.5 to 3 fold increase in oxalates in urine and plasma. Now, not everyone will have a problem with oxalates (and not everyone on GAPS eats a lot of high oxalate foods) – however, it is an important example of how we need to consider other foods and biochemical issues based on individual biochemistry.

    Thanks for opening up the discussion.

    • Thank you, Julie! I appreciate your perspective as a health professional!

    • Beth

      I agree about oxalates, a natural plant toxin, as I feel it can be a barrier to healing for some people and some common GAPS food are high in oxalates such as carrots, almonds, beets, spinach and some other greens, etc. I wish that there could be a meeting of the minds where Dr Natasha and people like Susan Owens, a leading oxalate researcher (and moderator the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo group) could compare notes, share their respective wisdom and work together to develop a tweaked protocol for those people who do not possess the oxalobacter formigenes bacteria necessary to deal with excess oxalates. From what I understand, oxalate crystals can accumulate in many parts of the body due to impaired digestion from many causes (including various antibiotics) and eating high oxalate foods. This accumulation of oxalates can cause a wide variety of health problems, many of which can seem unrelated and perplexing. In some foods they are so high that they cannot be cooked out or neutralized with soaking or sprouting, as compared to phytates.

      • Hi. I am a Certified GAPS practitioner who has worked with several families who needed to do “low oxalate GAPS”. This is not a problem once the issue is identified and the diet managed. But when it comes down to it, the problem with oxalates stems from having an imbalance of pathogenic yeast to beneficial gut flora and once again…. as Beatrice mentions below, when a patient is patient and as the gut heals and the beneficial flora builds up more foods, including some oxalates (in stages) will be tolerated.

  43. As a point of clarification, I honestly don’t blame any health practitioner mentioned, or any of those who utilize GAPS™ in their practice who aren’t directly mentioned. I sincerely regret the possible perception of implied wrongdoing on any practitioner’s part.

    The nutritionist I worked with wasn’t named because of her long held request not to be named online, or in a public forum such as Yahoo Groups that is searchable online, for her own privacy concerns. I don’t hold her responsible for the outcome of my experience on GAPS™. She worked tirelessly on my behalf to guide me through this protocol to the best of her ability and knowledge. I have referred many to her and would continue to do so.

    I simply think the protocol was not individualized enough for me, and it appears not to have been individualized enough for anyone in my own circle – all of whom worked with different practitioners.

  44. EVE

    I would love to hear what Dr. Campbell-McBride thinks in response to these issues brought up. Just curious what her thoughts would be. So the idea is that if you take out the offending foods, then continue with GAPS you can experience healing? Or may need supplements to rid your body of parasites, etc?

  45. Hi there everyone,
    As a GAPS practitioner, I feel the need to make some comments about this post:

    1. I am a Naturopath who came across the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in 2008. After listening to her and reading her book, I have applied many of the principles of the GAPS program to my patients from 2008 to 2011 with more or less success, I have to say. However, after being trained by her in November 2011, I clearly acquired extremely important knowledge points that gave me much better results with patients. This is important to know, as many are doing it on their own out there. I personally feel that I would never obtain the successful results that I am obtaining now with patients if I didn’t receive the proper training. And we now have about 450 GAPS trainees. Yes!!!

    2. There is no Panacea: As a practitioner, and I am sure as persons too… we all want to find THE diet, THE program, that will cure all for all. There is no such thing! We are all different, and we as human beings are extremely complex. It takes an enormous amount of work, research, persistence, AND patience to obtain results. I am constantly reading, searching, trying to understand the complexity of the human being. I would not be able to obtain the same results as I do today, if I had been at the beginning of my career…25 years ago.

    3. This brings me to this point: It takes TIME to repair and heal. Most of my patients are dealing with years of imbalances…years of mistreating their bodies… we cannot expect to get better overnight… and even if it does sounds like a long year, two long years, or whatever amount of time that someone may have been on the GAPS diet and not seeing much results…as far as the body is concerned… it’s not that much in comparison with 10, 20, 30 years of being unhealthy!

    4. One example about constipation: for a patient of mine, it took 3 years of following GAPS until she had normal regular bowel movements. She has been constipated for most of her life… 60 years, and she said to me: “for the first time of my life, I have regular bowel movements”. This is fantastic… but it took time!!!

    5. GAPS is not just a diet; it’s an entire program of which the diet is the first and most important part, BUT it is also a detoxification program and a supplementation program. This… I learned during my training.
    In the article above, nothing is mentioned about detoxification procedures (such as coffee enema, Epsom Salt Baths, Castor oil packs); not much is mentioned about specific supplements used to help the liver/gallbladder which are usually always involved in a constipation problem and even in hormonal imbalances.

    6. Leaky gut: we can assume that every GAPS patient has a leaky gut problem, otherwise, they would not have the symptoms they have. The degree of leakiness is different for everyone, but is always present.

    7. Food sensitivities are ALWAYS present in leaky gut situations. So, it is not a surprise that if someone eats the same food all the time, even GAPS legal foods, then this person will develop food sensitivities to these very foods. So, you may remove almonds, chicken and eggs for example, after your tests came back positive, but the chances are that you may develop sensitivities to the “new foods” that you are eating. This will keep happening until the gut lining heals, because the gut lining is like a sieve…it’s leaky! So, what do you eat then? Nothing? No, this is not possible… so we recommend foods that are considered easier to digest, and YES, you should rotate your foods often enough.
    As far as testing, I am not familiar with MRT, but I will look it up. I have used ALCAT and many other labs in my practice, and I have been deceived by them over and over.

    8. The allergy test recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, where you put a drop on the wrist, is only for food allergy (and not food sensitivity or food intolerance). This is only to know if someone would have an anaphylactic (thus life threatening) reaction.

    9. Infections such as parasites, bacteria, fungi: Of course they are present in GAPS patients! Every GAPS patient has gut imbalances… their disturbed gut flora cannot control the invaders. We all have parasites, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and more… that we don’t even know, but as long as our gut flora is healthy, then it controls the pathogens. We can test them…chances are that they will show up! So what? We can eradicate them with supplements or medications…but they will come back as long as the gut flora is still imbalanced. So, sometimes, I test my patients for these pathogens, and sometimes I decide to treat them with herbs and supplements to knock them down, but as long as the gut flora is not rebalanced (with probiotics foods and supplements) then the bugs will be back. Sometimes I also decide to put patients on the GAPS protocol, and see how they are doing. If they are making progress, then there is no need to test them for pathogens.

    10. Every case is different: we cannot apply a single formula to all of our patients. It has to be individualized… as we are all different. One thing that works for some will not work for others, so we cannot generalize that because someone has not been tested for food sensitivities or pathogens, this person will not be able to heal. It depends….

    11. Oxalates, phytates, and other anti-nutrients: are present in many foods to some different degrees. If someone has a serious reaction to some category of foods, then the best is to remove these foods for a period of time, then try them again, and see if the body is ready to digest them or not. But should all GAPS patients remove all the foods that contains oxalate or phytates? Not necessarily… again this is individual.

    In conclusion:
    The GAPS program is an AMAZING program! It has helped and continues to help thousands and thousands of people all around the world. I want people to know that!
    As a practitioner (and over a year only) I can say that I have had a huge amount of success helping patients with: autism, ADHD, OCD, epilepsy, ulcerative colitis, IBS, Weight Loss, Weight Gain, hormonal imbalances, chronic skin conditions (eczema, dermatitis), ankylosing spondilitis, rhumatoid arthritis, asthma, depression, anxiety, insomnia, to name a few, etc, etc, etc….I would never have been able to help some of them prior to my training as a GAPS practitioner.

    Yes, I still have a few patients who have not improved, and I have patients that have made some progress, but are not “done” because it does take time, and patients need to be PATIENT….:-)) If they are willing to keep onto the journey with me, I know that they will keep improving, even slowly. The body wants to heal…it’s a natural thing! We just need to help it…and find the right way to do it.

    I don’t think that the GAPS diet or Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride pretend that it is a cure all for all. Not at all…it is simply a wonderful program that can help a tremendous number of people with numerous types of health conditions. I am extremely grateful to be able to share this knowledge. I hope everyone reading this post can understand the profound impact that GAPS is starting to have all around the world. We are lucky to know about GAPS, and we need to continue spreading the good word: GAPS WORKS AND HELPS MANY MANY MANY PEOPLE!!!!
    That’s IT….

    Best of health,
    Beatrice

    • What a wonderful post Beatrice! Thank you so much for taking the time to organize the thoughts that I am sure many GAPS practitioners are likely having due to this article. I think you speak for many of us and covered just about everything we could possibly say about what we do and how we do it. In addition to what you have written, I want to say that I am concerned that the article we are all discussing which will be read by many conscientious parents all over the world, may unfortunately cause some to decide against implementing the GAPS diet for their very ill children even though this diet has successfully healed 1000’s of children all over the world. I have been a Certified Nutritionist since 2003 and the knowledge I gained from my GAPS training over a year ago has allowed me to help more people get well much more quickly than ever before. I see small and large miracles happen everyday especially with the children. It is a blessing and an honor to be a GAPS practitioner. In addition, I am a GAPS patient. I had terrible food allergies and hormonal problems for many many years and was basically on a very restricted diet and taking many supplements and herbs that got me through each day. Because of GAPS and the knowledge I gained from Dr. Campbell-McBride I am now able to eat more foods on a daily basis and when I consume foods that I really shouldn’t eat, they don’t bother me nearly as much as they used to. I am healing. And I haven’t even done the Intro Diet yet! I do realize that the title of this article is “IF GAPS has not worked for you” which of course implies that it MAY have worked for some but I sincerely hope that the readers of the article don’t automatically discount GAPS. When executed properly, it really is a very well thought out protocol that has been a blessing to many many people.

    • Erika

      Beatrice, where are you located? i have a friend with a 20 something daughter with ankylosing spondilitis and her mom tells me she will be in a wheel chair by the time she is in her 30’s. She says there is nothing that can help and that she has tried everything. Have you seen true healing for patients like this? The mom lives in Washington and the daughter lives in Hawaii ( because for some reason she can move around somewhat with the weather there) I’d be so grateful for a response, and THANKYOU for your addition to the discussion here. My family and I are just starting GAPS (on Stage 2 Intro) and I was so disheartened to read all this….kind of took the wind out of my sails so-to-speak….not that it was the authors or any commenters intention! That’s just the effect it had on me….

      • Hi Erika,
        I am working currently with 2 adult male patients who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis. They have made huge progress! They are not out of the wood yet, but I am very encouraged by what I see so far! Pain levels have diminished by 70-90%. It is worth a try especially for a young person.
        I am in Monterey and Menlo Park, CA but I do Skype consultations all over the world.
        Best of health,
        Beatrice

    • Very good response Beatrice.

      Before I became a GAPS practitioner I was some one who suffered from CFS and IBS. My IBS is gone and CFS is gone for 75%. Before GAPS I did SCD for two years that brought not the healing GAPS did. I became a practitioner after I was 13 months on the diet. It is normal to have ups and downs on GAPS and I had a lot of downs the first year on GAPS.
      I still have to go 25% for healing my CFS. It takes other approaches that I combine with GAPS.
      Because I had CFS I attract allot of clients with CFS. I always start with GAPS only, and that can bring allot of healing. You often need more than that alone because multi-system illnesses are puzzles. Mea by sometimes MRT can be a piece of the puzzle. Bud I don’t think it will often be a big part of the puzzle. What Beatrice mentions already there is in a GAPS condition always leaky gut and there will always be food intolerances. You must heal and seal the gut, and you cannot do that in six months. Kenny de Merlier one of the most important CFS professors treats his patients with aggressive treatment like long-term antibiotics. (I’ll better do GAPS). He had successes, bud he also says that it take up to two years to heal the Gut. One year to transform the ecology an one year to heal the gut lining. A promise to heal the gut in six months is a big promise. It can work for minor problems I think. I also read in this whole treat that there are people the MRT testing was not working for. So this is also no cure for all.
      One of the most difficult things by healing your Gut and multi-system conditions, is you have to be patient. And your patients is never a warranty for total restoring your health, or your selfhealing possibilities. People want to heal today, and we would help them do that if we can. We like to believe every approach that promise quick healing. I’m 60 now and suffer from CFS from the age 23. Gaps was fore out the most important healing aspect. But I had to make some chances to make it work for me. For most of my clients it is working well without doing expensive testing. For some I need tests and adjustments to the diet and extra supplements. It is not a one fit all diet. And even Natasha have a great article on her site “one mans food is other mans poison” even within GAPS. There is another thing about GAPS. People who it worked for, move on. They don’t hang out on forums that discuss the pro’s and con’s of a diet. They are glad they can start living a full live and leave their illness behind.

      sory for my broken English. I’m a Dutch dyslectic GAPS practitioner

  46. Susan Blake

    Goodness, after reading through many of these posts I can see why so many people have not been successful with GAPS. GAPS which must be high in fat to compensate for less carbohydrates for energy is also often higher in protein so it is necessary to support digestion with therapeutic supplements very specific to each persons biochemical needs. I am a GAPS certified Nutritional Therapist and utilize a functional exam and lingual-neural testing to do just this. This test determines which parts of the system needs support but more importantly which parts are receptive to support and the specific supplements or food that will help. Healing is a step-wise process and the body has to be open and receptive to respond. For example, some who need digestive support may benefit from hydrochloric acid, others respond to digestive bitters; some need bile while others need enzymes; sometimes the adrenals are interfering and need to be supported before digestion while other need an antifungal or antibacterial first. My point is the best way to know is through individual testing, not a practitioners educated guess based on symptoms or test results but the clients body indicating what it needs, along with an experienced practitioner to guide them. Healing the gut is key because every part of our body is made from or uses nutrients and the only way to get them into our body is through the digestive system. But, it is not easy; while it is possible to eliminate symptoms with medication or supplements, unless the root cause of the problem is address another symptom will eventually occur. I believe in Nutritional Therapy and GAPS as good tools for finding a specific individual protocol for healing. I work with people in person in Tacoma, WA and can be reached at hairandbodyshop@comcast.net. For other locations please see the referal list from nutritionaltherapy.com

  47. Excellent article, Sandrine. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing your experience with all of us.

    I would like to comment on the part of the post that says that I had said that if one wasn’t healing on GAPS, that one likely was not doing it right. Upon reading your post, I do believe that what I was wanting to convey was that in my experience of working with people on the GAPS diet both in my private practice and in the GAPS Cooking Classes that I teach, that many people were not following the protocol in significant ways, and therefore they could not see the returns they could see if they did. To be specific, there were and continue to be many people who say they are “on the GAPS diet” or “following the GAPS diet” who include no ferments at all in their diet, or a very limited amount. Eating ferments is one of what I call the Four Pillars of the GAPS diet; it is a foundational part of the diet. That means it must be done if one is to gain the healing benefits of the diet. If one is not eating ferments, it is my understanding that they are not actually on the GAPS diet. I would say the same of including nutrient-dense stock in one’s diet. Stock is another of what I call the Four Pillars, and if one is not including stock in the diet on a regular, daily basis, one is simply not on the GAPS diet. So I do believe that is what I was referring to when I said that likely one was not “doing it right”.

    All of that being said, I have always believed that no one diet is or can be the only answer for all people. People are simply not cut out of “cookie cutters”. There are too many differences, too much different history…our bodies, minds and spirits react and respond differently. So the GAPS diet is a wonderful diet for many people, and can be tremendously helpful in bringing people to balance, especially people coming from the Standard American Diet (SAD). This can also be said for many other diets. I have worked with many individuals, adults and children–mostly children on the autistic spectrum–who have greatly benefited from the GAPS diet. And that being said, there are times when other healing modalities, other supplements, and tests are needed. I have also been known to say that if one is are not seeing returns within 6 months to one year, that likely some things are going on that are not being addressed by the diet, and that it would be good to investigate other options.

    I am not a Certified GAPS practitioner, nor have I ever claimed to be. As you know, my love is teaching people to cook traditional, nutrient-dense food. I love to help people implement the diet; to give them tools and inspiration so that they feel comfortable and confident going into the kitchen and cooking their way through the diet.

    I am thrilled that you have found Anne Fisher Silva to work with and that things are moving along in a positive way for you. I hope to meet her someday. All the best! Monica

    Monica Corrado
    http://www.simplybeingwell.com

    • Hi Monica,

      As you know, being that we are close friends and business associates, in my case, ferments and broth were an integral part of my diet. In fact I had an ample amount of ferments and broth at every meal for the most part for 1 year and kept food journals that the nutritionist that was guiding me considered. When I attended your cooking class, I had already been on GAPS™ for well over a year.

      According to the MRT test, I have a high sensitivity to chicken. So, I wonder how I could have ever healed my gut when drinking 1 to 2 quarts of chicken broth per day for much of that year. I consumed beef broth as well, but mainly chicken broth.

      I was informed that the MRT test has been scientifically proven to be 95% reliable.

      So, I have to wonder about Anne’s experience as recounted here: https://www.facebook.com/tiffani.beckman/posts/4193907045481?comment_id=4884895

      There is no question that GAPS™ has served many as is evidenced by testimonials we read, and at the same time, I know for sure that I am not an isolated, unusual case. Anne was one of the founders of NTA, taught there for 4 years, has been in clinical practice at least 14 – so she has seen a fair number of cases at this point.

      All of those in my circle were absolutely honoring what you have termed as the Four Pillars, exactly as you taught it in the class – folks who had already been consuming a traditional diet for many years, and were deeply committed to GAPS™, all of whom were guided by different health practitioners, some trained by Dr. Natasha directly. It just wasn’t effective for any of us, meaning it didn’t resolve the issues we were experiencing that were digestive related. We were all repeatedly told we weren’t doing it right by others and one of the reasons we wanted to publish this post is to suggest, that it may not be your “fault” if it didn’t work for you.

  48. Thank you for clarifying this point Monica. I also see patients who say that they have been on GAPS, but have not implemented what you call the Four Pillars of GAPS… which I call the Four Healing Foods…:-) Same thing…:-))
    I just talked to someone who had pretty much no results on 6 months GAPS, but she was missing 2 out of the 4 Healing Foods, so it was logical in my point of view that she didn’t get the results expected.

    Beatrice

  49. Sandrine, if as you say “you were told repeadly that you were not doing the GAPS right and that it was basically your fault”… then whoever said this was not aware of the complexity of GAPS patients, and the customized work that needs to be applied to every single case.
    There is no generality when it comes to try healing symptoms that have been going on and on for years. There is a place to test, there is a place to think out of the box, there is a place to modify, there is a place to individualize….yes!

    I wish taht simply going on GAPS could heal everybody and anybody as if using a magic wand….but there is no such thing! If anyone starts the GAPS diet and think that it is the new “miracle diet that is going to fix everything”…. then there are wrong! It requires many things, and quite often many years of work in order to start repairing and healing YEARS of damage!

    As I said prior, there is no quick fix, and no cure all for all, and no panacea…..however the GAPS PROGRAM (not just diet) has helped and continues to help, and will help MANY MANY people!

    The article and comments could discourage a lot of people to try GAPS, and I don’t want to leave this impression, so if you decide to go on GAPS in order to maximize your experience:
    1.apply it to the best of your hability.
    2.work with a practitioner
    3.do a food/symptoms diary, and share it with your practitioner.
    4.be patient, persistent, and consistent.
    5.tell your practitioner if you are not feeling well, if you are not making progress, or whatever is happening in your body. There are reasons for this, and this needs to be addressed, and it can be addressed!
    6.join a GAPS support group.
    It’s a long journey and you need as much help and tools as possible: the book is just an introduction to GAPS.

    I hope this helps!
    Beatrice

    • Beatrice,

      I really don’t want to get into a debate with you however, I feel compelled to express simply that I did every single thing on your list for over 1.5 years. According to Anne Silva Fisher, it need not take years and years and in her clinical experience, it doesn’t. I hear you are a passionate advocate for this protocol, and I believe that there are many, many articles and websites that extoll the virtues of GAPS™. This article is for those who may be searching for some other ideas to understand why it may not have worked for them.

      I wasn’t constipated for years like the example you gave previously. I was constipated for a matter of weeks before I started GAPS™ and had been blessed with regular bowel movements virtually all my life. There is no way I would have had the patience to wait 3 years to start to experience regular bowel movements!

      I sincerely wish you abundant blessings and will excuse myself from this chain being that I believe we have each said our peace many times over at this point.

  50. Love this amazing chain of info-sharing!

    I’ll throw in my 2 cents here – as I am a “patient” of Anne Fischer Silva’s and recently had a check in with her, regarding my bloodwork that I just had done, as a follow up after starting her protocol in June (my original bloodwork was in April but I didn’t do the MRT test until May). All but 1 of my abnormal results had changed for the better. I’m still not completely in the “normal” range on some tests, but I have moved closer and closer to normal, and in some cases, my result was in perfect normal range. I had a LOT of values outside normal range back in April! Looking back, I am so glad I did it then, rather than waiting for some bigger symptoms to hit me. As many of us know, symptoms are our body’s way of saying “hey, pay attention here!”. My symptoms weren’t that bad – but my instinct kept telling me I needed to bite the bullet and see a professional. (I’ve been self-diagnosing and treating my whole adult life)

    It was nice to see not only my body changes that have been going on (weight loss, tons more energy, no more stomach pain and nausea, body temp going back to normal) match up with the bloodwork results. It just reaffirmed that I am on the right path for me and my healing at this time.

    Tiffani

    • Thanks, Tiffani! Will you share more about what you have done in the last 6 months that may account for the changes you’ve experienced – namely more “normal” lab work ranges, weight loss – I think you lost over 20 pounds?, more energy, no more stomach pain and nausea, etc.

      • The protocol that Anne had me on was multi-faceted. Hopefully Anne will correct me here if I am wrong or if I left something out…

        Low thyroid – I am on iodine (as per the Iodine Project) and a porcine glandular. This is probably the reason for my weight loss (23 pounds so far!) and my extra energy.

        My bloodwork showed an acute infection as well as a chronic infection. Yikes. Not to mention candida 3+, and a very leaky gut. No wonder I was reactive to so many foods! I don’t recall now the 3-4 supplements that I was on for the first 8 weeks of the protocol. They were mainly to heal my gut.

        My adrenals were luckily ok! I was worried about that. But my Vit D was low, my cholesterol was too low, my iodine was low, and my zinc was low. All nutrients, given my excellent diet, I should have had in abundance! Obviously, I wasn’t absorbing the food that I was taking in, which really p*ssed me off for a while, thinking of all the care, money and effort that went into making my diet that good. However, my diet probably helped me not get worse, faster, since I had been on many types of the SAD my whole life.

        My kidney function was also looking a little off, which of course was not good. Nice to say that while my values aren’t completely within normal range yet, I am getting closer. I didn’t really have any symptoms of kidney issues, except for a kidney infection years prior.

        I had been working out at Bootcamp 2-4 mornings a week for 6 months as well as doing Bikram yoga once a week, and hadn’t lost an ounce! Since starting the protocol, I took a month off of Bootcamp and yoga to rest and heal, then started back. My strength is better, and I have much more stamina working out than I used to. Plus, the weight loss combined with hard exercise has really helped me lose weight and sculpt my body the way it used to be! I still have work to do, but I am back to wearing most of my old clothes. yay!

        During my initial 6 months of protocol with Anne, I avoided my “avoid list” foods like the plague. I strove for 100% compliance, only to find out 80% compliance is normal. But, I just couldn’t eat something that I knew was adding to the inflammation I was trying to heal. Yes, I am still a little grumpy when I have to bring my own food to dinner parties or restaurants, but I’m getting over it :)

        My primary symptoms for seeing Anne were terrible stomach pains that lasted for hours after eating. Not ever sure what foods were triggering it, or why, but it would cause me to just be groaning in a chair for hours. Castor oil packs didn’t really help, neither did mint tea, or ginger, or fermented foods. I also charted my body temperature and I was all over the charts! For 2 days I would be at 94 degrees, then I’d be at 99 degrees for a day. I didn’t feel different even when my body temp was low or high. I logged my temp lately and I was at 98.6 pretty much the whole time :)

        My acne is still clearing up – it made the most improvement when I first started eating the WAPF way. But it keeps looking better and better.

        Bottom line – I boosted my thyroid and healed my gut, together. That is allowing my body to continue to heal and evolve.

        • Thank you so much for your detailed accounting! I found it very interesting and inspirational to read much more of your experience than I previously knew about! I am around 8 weeks of post MRT test results. I am even more motivated after your testimonial!

        • Good synopsis, Tiffanie. I just want to point out that when you talk about ‘good ranges’ with blood tests, your second panel was hugely improved with just about everything within the lab reference range. The markers we are still tracking are just slightly outside my tighter ‘optimal’ range. What I love is that so much good resulted on so many different levels from our work together. Most of the markers improved without any direction intervention. Eating right for your metabolism and improving your absorption was the key. Good work!

  51. Oh – I did want to point out that Anne had recommended coffee enemas to help decongest my liver and gall bladder, but coffee and caffeine were on my Avoid list. And when I tried another liver flush, I reacted to the apple, which was also on my avoid list. So I wasn’t able to use 2 modalities that would have helped me heal even faster.

    And – I got married and went on my honeymoon during this time, which was a tad difficult but I still followed my program about 75% of the time there. I was fortunate enough to have a husband who didn’t scoff when I said I wanted to cook all the food for our reception, so I could eat it! Except for the frosting on my wedding cake, it was all within my “ok to eat” foods.

    My mood, I think, has improved too. I feel more balanced, grounded, and neutral when I felt stressed and off center before. Although I was planning a wedding, that was a large amount of my stress!

    What I really liked that Anne did, is roll with me in my personal needs and choices. I know any good nutritionist would do that too, but it is sure nice knowing that I am getting individualized care when I call, email or see her. She even tweaked my diet slightly by reminding me that I haven’t been eating the meat to veg ratio she recommended….and since I have been eating that ratio I feel even better!

    I think what Sandrine was trying to do with this article is offer a new path, a different solution. We all know that everyone will not be helped by the same thing. Many have been helped with GAPS. No question there. But here’s simply a different idea, a different path. Does it feel right to you? If so, check it out. If it doesn’t, then maybe it isn’t for you.

    I know it is often taboo to talk about spiritual or “woo woo” stuff when it comes to healing, but IMVHO, that’s a huge part of illness or sickness. My instinct told me to see Anne. My instinct was telling me to not do GAPS. I had read about GAPS, listened to lectures, talked to many friends about it. I was at my wits end with my stomach pains and thought – oh man, what if I have to go on GAPS? I truly, truly was resistant to it. It is my belief that I was resistant to it, for whatever reason, and it wouldn’t have worked for me. It wasn’t right for me, at this time. As people who want to be healed and to be healers, I feel we need to take stock of what our intuition is telling us. If yours is telling you that GAPS is right for you – then get on it! If your intuition is telling you that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is right for you, get on that. Just don’t disregard your instincts, and don’t be afraid to cross something off your list if it isn’t working for you.

  52. Trish

    Thank you Sandrine, Anne and Tiffany,

    As an NTP and Certified GAPs Practitioner, I would agree that there is not one clear protocol that works for every person. While some clients have really done well on GAPs, it is about finding the specifics in each person’s health issues.

    I have great respect for Anne, as a well established NTA Practitioner. She has taken years of work to find the best way to solve many issues that plague us as a society.

    This post is written from a stand point that if results are not happening, there are options. The blood chemistry panels have come a long way in determining much more information than in the past, the advancements will continue.

    Understanding and appreciating different practitioners is really what is of value here.

    • Thank you so much for your input, Trish! I think it is of value to understand and be open to learning about Anne’s approach, because it is working for some whom GAPS™ didn’t seem to serve.

  53. Trish

    Sandrine,
    You are welcome! I meant to point out that Anne, as one of the founder’s of NTA program and of course a teacher for the organization,is a leader in this line of work. Through the pillars of the NTA finding the root of the underlying health issues is a starting point. For myself as a Practitioner, the GAPS protocol is one in my toolbox, but not usually a beginning part of my work with clients. It is of great value for specific clients while others need a different approach.

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  55. What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing. I had been on GAPS for several months and wasn’t seeing any benefit… in fact, it was making some symptoms worse! Whenever I asked others I received the inevitable, “you’re not doing it right” response which is annoying, unhelpful and insulting.
    I wish Anne practised here in Adelaide, Australia; we could use some nutritionists like her!

  56. I read this article when it was posted and I remember there being a link to a pamphlet or a pdf file of the lab where you could order a kit to mail in and have your full set allergies listed for you in return. Do I remember correctly? I can’t seem to find it.

    Thank you,
    Lacey

  57. keeshadoss

    I am very discouraged with my 15 month old. I’m not a hypochondriac but I am afraid something big is wrong with him. Almost everything that he eats makes him break out in hives. We tried the diet that includes grain free, but He still broke out in hives with most of the recipes. I think it is time to maybe go see a nutritionist. I think that we need to get tested for allergies, but I want a way to test that is actually accurate. I feel like crying very often these days because I feel like a failure as a mother. I cannot even feed my own son. Do you know of any way to find a good nutritionist That will actually do a good job? I definitely want 1 who will help us identify the problem. I cannot begin to tell you how discouraged I am. Any help is appreciated.

    • I just read this now – so sorry for the delay! I am saddened to read about your distress as a mother. I recommend you reach out to Anne Fischer Silva whom I work with. She works with clients via phone and Skype! She offers a complimentary consultation to get acquainted.

      Anne Fischer Silva, CN, NTP, FDN, MTA
      (707) 849-3569 telephone
      http://www.anewleafnutrition.net

      • I, too, am so sorry to hear how frustrated and discouraged you are. I can’t guarantee I can help you but would love to do some testing with your little one to see if we can figure it out. Please feel free to give me a call.

  58. kerry

    I have been on gaps 2.5 months, to heal some autoimmune issues. I seemed to only react to probiotic food when i did intro. I felt awesome until 3 weeks ago and My body went bezerk and now I think i am sensitive to eggs which i had no problem with at ALL EVER. Doesn;t make much sense if my gut is “healing”
    Does anne do remote consultations???

  59. Marta Major

    Hi Sandrine- I am not sure if anyone asked this question above ( I did not read all the replies)- Which lab does Mediator Release Food Sensitivity Testing? Is it dry blood or whole blood? Thanks

  60. Marijke

    I do not agree with the statement that it is necessary to remove parasites in the beginning of a healing program for the gut. I started the GAPS program in the middle of 2009. Right at the beginning my blastocystis hominis parasite died off. 16 months into the program the entamoeba histolytica minuta parasite died off. A week later I lost the parasite giardia lamblia. 26 months into the program the parasite entamoeba coli left me and a month later the same happened with cryptosporidium parvum. All of this happened without any effort directed at removing them. It just was the right moment for them to go.

    I am convinced that these parasites will not return to my gut as long as I keep on eating roughly the GAPS way. That alone makes the time spent worthwhile, but I have many more achievements.

    Following the GAPS program gradually changed the ecology of my gut and made it impossible for these parasites to live there any longer. I did not take antiparasyticals during GAPS, I just followed the recommendations for food and supplements. I did try to eliminate my parasites in the years before starting GAPS, using all kinds of herbs but that never had any success. I do not believe in pharmaceuticals.

    I certainly experienced many food sensitivities on the way. I used NAET treatments to eliminate them, and that worked very well.

  61. Celeste

    Could GAPS still be a good starting point? My fifteen year old has had low grade tummy problems pretty much her whole life, beginning with campillo bacteria and antibiotics at age two. All though grain free “paleo” type eating has helped, they are by no means gone. Probiotics also haven’t seemed to make much of a difference. Although I see it has limitations, could GAPS still be a good place to start the gut healing process?
    I’m not sure where to find people who do food sensitivity testing, or whether it is affordable option.

  62. Astrid

    Yes I think it is a good place to start. If you cannot affort testing look at a elimination diet. Mrt looks for white bloodcell reactions, Elisa for Ige but there is more like a lack of enzymes or a lack of bacteries that help with digestion. They both don’t test for that. You can test everything with a Total elimination diet. If you Google on that you w find it. It is hart to do but the only way to know where you react on on different levels. From that basic you can work to a GAPS diet to heal And seal The gutlining and your intestinal ecology. So you lose your intollerances on the way.

  63. Cath

    hello. i have the same problems as woman in article – keratis pilaris and constipation – in particular on the GAPS diet (or no diet.) I found borage oil to work like a charm on me and my children who suffer the same. Borage oil contains GLA and is an omega 6 oil. Solves all our sleep issues, digestive issues, intolerance to dairy issues, not eating issues and inability of body to ‘absorb’ water issues. I am a believer in 2:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, (at least) for us anyway at this point in time.

  64. Thank you so much for this GREAT info! I have skimmed over it and will soon (when the house is quiet, every one is in bed, and I’m not too tired) read it all thoroughly. I am seriously going to consider this with my children. We have found that a supplement of probiotics and enzymes has tremendously helped our children but am seeking to find a way to heal their gut completely. I have recently bought the GAPS book but have felt overwhelmed with it. And I haven’t even started the diet yet. I will look into this what you talked about further now. :) Thank You again!

    I have just put a link to this page/blog on my own blog. :) Hope you don’t mind. http://help4acidreflux.wordpress.com/diet-someones-view-experience-and-results-with-diet-change/

  65. I’ve had success with the coca pulse test to figure out allergies. It’s a nice way to save money if you are willing to put in the time to test. I”m interested in the biofilms, will have to start researching more on that. I did gaps for about 6 months had some improvement but not 100%.

  66. Alden Tyrell

    Nourishing Traditions is not a GAP protocol book, just saying. Maybe someone already states that.

  67. Thank you for such a wonderful article. I appreciate your balanced, non-dogmatic perspective on finding a nutritional protocol that is tailored to each individual’s healing needs. It simply has to be that way. I too am in no way patient enough to spend 2-3 years on anything hoping it’s going to work. My hat is off to those who are able to hang in there and finally reap the rewards. I am definitely searching for a faster way to get my life back from 2 debilitating autoimmune diseases. I’ve already been sick for over 5 years and tried a gazillion protocols and modalities to no avail. Enough! You’ve provided much “food for thought” and additional resources and approaches to consider. Well done.

  68. Faydra Jones

    Love this article!! There’s another aspect to food sensitivity that I haven’t seen mentioned…genetically modified foods & the effects on our bodies, such as inflammatory response & increases of illness & disease. Even if you never consume gm grains or oil from gm grains, if u eat commercial cattle & chickens, you’re eating gm food, as these animals are fed gm corn & soy. To avoid it, I always source grass fed & FINISHED beef & pastured poultry fed only organic grains…eggs, are a concern too, if layers are fed gm grains. There’s a lot to say in this arena, & I encourage anyone concerned about health & rebuilding a healthy gut to become experts on gm foods. :- don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself what the risks are. one easy way to start is to watch Genetic Roulette documentary- http://geneticroulettemovie.com/

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  72. Andrea

    I went on GAPS at the urging of a friend recently for three weeks. I have celiac disease, gluten ataxia and chemical sensitivity and basically, the only problem I was having was periodic reactions to chemical exposures when out and about. During my first week on this diet, my ataxia symptoms flared – trouble walking, thinking, speaking, spelling. I played with all the foods and spices, removed this and that, but my symptoms did not change or, barely if at all. I think the problem was caused by the spike GAPS caused in my yeast levels. Perhaps, a reaction to star anise or, even the raw honey. Backing off of the diet very prudently and slowly, I’ve started having reactions to things I did not previously have problems with and I feel the entire episode has set me back months. Adding to my displeasure is the fact that, as far as I’ve found, McBride does not make herself available to address concerns with her diet whereas, so many of the other doctors authoring books host pages on Facebook or, an independent website, McBride seemingly hides away from any problems her diet may cause to those who follow it, which is very disconcerting to me. Three days off and my stomach is still burning and bloated. I am not really sure what to do at this point to make myself better. It just seems I’ve opened a can of worms that I should have shied away from.

    • I am saddened to read that you have been challenged the way that you have. From the start, I embarked on the protocol with the guidance of a nutritionist. I would not have felt comfortable on my own for the reasons you’ve shared above. I don’t know how to guide you myself but, if you are in a position to, I recommend you seek professional guidance.

  73. Johanna Adriaans

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I live in Australia and have been on gaps for a couple of months and not getting past stage 2 as I am continually constipated. I have tried enemas which work very well but am not getting any improvement. I would like to know if you know if I can get the specific food sensitivity blood tests done here or is it only available in the states. I am very interested in learning more and certainly doing or adding to my gaps experience. I really hope you can help me here on the other side of the world.

    • I am personally not a health practitioner. I am not sure if Anne works with clients in Australia or if she can have the MRT test kit sent there. I would contact her directly at http://www.anewleafnutrition.net/contact.php

    • Hi, Johanna!
      I would recommend checking out the GAPS FAQ at http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32 if you haven’t already. Constipation is tricky, as there are a lot of contributing factors to address. Eliminating food sensitivities is important—for me, insoluble fiber and histamines seemed to be the biggest culprits—You may want to move forward one food at a time and see what helps or hurts. Make sure you’re getting plenty of magnesium and vitamin C. In some cases, it can be a matter of finding the right probiotic for you—Prescript-Assist has one of the highest success rates, and seemed to help me more than others. I’ve also had good experience with triphala and MCT oil as safe laxatives.

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  75. Annie Yau

    I think one of the post calls for those who have tried GAPs and see relief to voice out and explain if GAPs resolved all their problems. I felt compelled to leave a comment as me and my family of four have been doing GAPs since 4 months ago. We were originally doing it for my 4-year-old son who has very much delayed development and exhibits some of the symptoms on the spectrum. To keep a long story short, soon all four of us were doing it and after four months we all see some amazing and significant healing. Please know that all four of us did not have any digestive symptoms before going into GAPs nor do we have any known food sensitivity, however as we gradually going into the diet, we see our body changes such as we definitely become more sensitive but our seemingly unrelated issues were healed by themselves. This is such a good surprise because we did not have intentions to heal them through GAPs we were just trying to make my son’s diet easier by doing it with him.

    Examples are my environmental allergy, insomnia, my energy level increased and excessive thirst normalized, for my daughter she gained weight, no more grinning of teeth and for my son he started to learn and started to imitate and to express themselves just like he all of a sudden woke up to the world that he lives in! I have to mention my husband, who did not initially exhibit any die-off reaction but after 3 months into the diet he started to experience a massive die-off, severe skin rash over his mouth for weeks and very low energy level and flu like symptom for weeks. However when that is subsiding, he looks like he is at least 5 years younger, his face is shining and his grey hair does not look so grey anymore !!

    I know we still have a long way before us and I am anxious to see more healing to happen in my son. But all what I am trying to share is for people like me and my family, who have limited time and money, the GAPs diet is like a godsent, because it is natural so it is safer to do it at home without the need to have a professional to work with us every step of the way. Also GAPs information is readily available on internet also makes it easy for us to troubleshoot ourselves and blogs like this further help us to deal with difficult issues. Of course it is not an “one size fits all” and even we are seeing professionals to help us in addition to GAPs, but to me and, I dear to say tens of thousands others (if not more) around the world. GAPs is one of the best things that is happening in this world, almost free solutions to so many health issues which can be administered safely at home without the help of a professional. Isn’t this a great gift that medical professionals or other people who have medical insight like Dr. Natasha gave to ordinary people like us? This is the point I want to make.

  76. Annie Yau

    What I am saying is without GAPs we would have been struggling to see any healing. We can afford seeing a professional every month for one person let alone for all four of us…and even an four-hour appointment would not serve the purpose to explain and examine even one of the issues we have. I think GAPs reveals some of the guiding principles of health for a lot of us and with additional guidance from professionals like Anne from the posts above, most people can achieve great healings and miracles.

  77. anon

    I am in Australia and have been trying to find information about MRT testing here…is it the same as an IgG panel??

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  80. Tracey Stirling

    Would you mind sharing what the formulation is that you are using to heal the gut lining? I feel like this is exactly what has happened to me. I have been on GAPS for over 2 1/2 years to heal lifelong asthma. The first 3 months I felt better than I ever have in my entire life. Then I had a miscarriage while on GAPS and my health slowly began to deteriorate after that. I went back on intro several times but could not get the same results I had in the beginning. The recently I started doing the Coca pulse test to test for food sensitivities and found I was sensitive to chicken, beef and cod liver oil, the very things that were recommended to do so much of. I felt so discouraged when I discovered this and that’s when I decided to order the MRT rest and when looking up information about it, found this blog. I have read so many good things about GAPS that I kept trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and making myself crazy over it. I so appreciate this blog for the hope it has given me.

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  82. Leigh

    Is there any update? After two years, what are the changes you’ve seen since acting on the info you found about food sensitivities?

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