Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book Review

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Gut and Psychology Syndrome Review
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I’ve read the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Campbell-McBride several times, but recently re-read it and wanted to offer an in depth review.

You might have seen blogs or articles mentioning the GAPS/SCD diet, especially in reference to Autism, Allergies, A.D.D, etc. I first read this book several years ago, and while we weren’t struggling with any of those issues, we did add in some of the aspects of her recommendations to our diets.

Fast forward a few years and one of our children had been born premature and spent some time in the NICU. He later developed a dairy intolerance/allergy, that we suspect was a result of the steroids and antibiotics that he was given in his first days. At this point, I re-read the book and started to implement the protocol with him in hopes of reversing his dairy allergy and possible gut struggles from antibiotic use.

What is GAPS?

The protocol in Gut and Psychology Syndrome is basically an intensive nutritional program to heal the gut lining. It focuses on soothing and healing the gut lining with foods like bone broth and beneficial fats while boosting beneficial gut bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.

Depending on the severity of the patient, one either begins with or works up to the Introduction Diet, which is the strictest part of the protocol, focused on intensive healing. There are then stages as the person begins to introduce other foods. The most difficult factor of the GAPS diet is that in order to be effective, especially in the beginning, one must be 100% compliant. This means a lot of preparing foods at home, as practically any foods prepared by someone not familiar with the protocol will have things that can aggravate the gut.

The website,, outlines some of the protocol, but the book is a much more comprehensive source of information.

On the GAPS diet, use of high quality probiotics and fermented cod liver oil are also encouraged to boost gut bacteria and nutrient levels. For many people suffering from these symptoms, part of the issue is that they are malnourished since the problems in the gut can lead to poor digestion and absorption.

Our Experience

In my experience, there are aspects of the GAPS diet that can be beneficial for everyone. Adding nutrient rich (and inexpensive) foods like bone broths and fermented foods is a good step for anyone.

For kids, boosting gut bacteria and immunity can help boost the immune system and keep them from getting sick as much. Having a good balance of gut bacteria is especially important for pregnant women, as babies inherit gut bacteria from their mothers at birth. (Note: The Intro part of the diet is not suggested during pregnancy, but the full GAPS diet is very nutrient rich during pregnancy). This is often why more than one child in a family can suffer from some of these same issues, as an underlying gut problem can be passed on to each child and then express itself due to lifestyle or nutrition factors later on.

Adding probiotics and fermented cod liver oil can be beneficial even if one isn’t on the GAPS diet, as these boost nutrient levels and can improve digestion.

In our own family, our son developed a dairy intolerance/allergy shortly after weaning. This caused him digestive disturbances, irritation, and eczema on his face. He has also always been my pickiest eater, so the transition to GAPS was not fun, but he adjusted and within a few weeks his skin had started clearing up, his digestion was better, and most surprisingly, his speech (which had been somewhat delayed due to him being premature) took off.

Since we have all been doing it together, I’ve noticed that my digestion is very regular and that I have a lot more energy, even while pregnant. While it is time intensive, our grocery bill hasn’t gone up much on GAPS, as it seems like we are just filling in the gaps (no pun intended) with bone broth and fermented foods, which are both inexpensive to make at home.

Who Should Do Gaps?

It is explained in depth in the book, but the author specifically focuses on people struggling with gut/brain issues like Autism, A.D.D., A.D.H.D., Dyspraxia, Depression/anxiety, Schizophrenia, and even allergies.

I often suggest Gut and Psychology Syndrome to parents who have children struggling with any of these issues, or even to parents whose children just have skin/allergy issues, as they almost always benefit from the protocol as well.

If you or someone in your family struggles with any of those issues, I’d definitely suggest reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome and seeing if you think it would be a good fit for your family.

Have you ever heard of GAPS? Have you done the protocol? What were your results? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


96 responses to “Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book Review”

  1. Tracy Avatar

    GAPS is miraculous. Our family of 5 did strict GAPS for 2 years to heal my 12 yr old ADHD/dysgraphia son with many food sensitivities. At Day 5, he came upstairs announcing, “I am happy.” From age 5-12, he wanted to kill himself, often. He was always the “bad” kid. His allergies disappeared. He is now a happy, healthy, kind 14 yr old, able to focus on schoolwork, turns in schoolwork on time and gets to his summer job early with no reminders, is motivated, has friends, can talk to people, and his mannerisms are “normal”. Miraculous. Our grocery bill nearly doubled. In hindsight, it was worth every single penny. MY SON IS HEALED FOR LIFE. We ate strict GAPS at home and cheated on occasion at holidays/parties/events. But a mere 2 years later, we can bake “real” chocolate chip cookies on occasion and my son can eat sugar/starch with zero ill-effects. Hire a GAPS practitioner for the first 3 mo if you can. Buy the GAPS book. Read it. (One daughter needed more starch, so she ate lentils, potatoes and oatmeal and regained energy.)

  2. Puja Mehta Avatar
    Puja Mehta

    My daughter has eczema and she is 5 years old. She is itchy all over her body. Her skin flares up. She is allergic to peanuts, nuts, sesame and dust. Sometimes she is so itchy that she cant sleep through the night. We used to live in Philadelphia and last year we felt she was outgrowing her eczema but after we moved to South Jersey since a month, it has gotten worst. I cant even look at her skin sometimes. she itches so much….Could it be because of the carpet? Should we remove the carpet? Also now we have a backyard with lots of tress so that could be it too. We have tried all creams/body washes, etc.
    I was looking at the GAPS diet and will be challenging with a 5 year old and to add we are vegetarians so I cant do stage 1 of the diet. Do you have any other suggestions? Can I do some kind of liver flush for her?
    Please help as I would really appreciate it. I need to make her skin better and try that she is not so itchy all the time.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Without following GAPS completely in all it’s stages you won’t see the same benefits. When my son had serious eczema and food allergies, we went hardcore GAPS for over 6 months and it’s made a huge difference. He no longer has the allergies and his skin is completely cleared up. Give it a try!

  3. Nina Avatar

    Hi my son is 7month old, he has really bad eczema all over his body and he has dairy allergy. Can I start gaps diet on him being so young? He doesn’t eat much, at 7 month old he only takes about 20-25 oz of breast milk and neocate and about 6oz of solid

  4. Amy Avatar

    Im looking into doing the GAPS diet for my daughter who has a milk allergy. My question is once you are able to resolve your issues do you come off the diet completely? Some of the comments here sound like its a lifelong diet?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It will depend on the individual. For some, it could be a life long change, but for others, a few months of being on the diet could make a huge difference. There’s no silver bullet for health, and what works for one person may not work the same for another…

  5. Blanca Avatar

    Hi Katie, did you do the gaps diet with the help of a doctor or just by reading and following what the book says? I read the book and I want to start it on my family as soon as possible since my daughter suffers from stomach bloating and also suffers from terrible allergies. Thank you Katty, God bless you and your family!

  6. Amy Avatar

    What is the difference between the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures and Barleans Organic Kids Omega Swirl with Cod liver oil? I’m totally new to all this!

  7. Alissa Avatar

    Do you still recommend FCLO for this diet? Also, is there a post with an update on how this played out for your little guy and family?

    Thanks for this review. Wanting to look into it for our 10 month old, who was born healthy & full term at home, but had to spend time in NICU for failure to thrive. High temps meant automatic antibiotics, which was completely out of our hands. At 10 months, I’m now suspecting a dairy allergy. My husband is going to be excited to hear about this! Thanks again Katie.

  8. Linda Eisenmayer Avatar
    Linda Eisenmayer

    I am writing in concern for my 9 month old grandson in the Dayton, Ohio area. His Dad is career Air Force so all his health care comes thru those channels. Do you have a resource list of GAPS certified doctors in Ohio?
    My grandson’s issues appear to be hyper-activity, not even being still to take a bottle. Now he’s having a rough time with teething and massive bowel blowouts which are further isolating my daughter’s social interactions outside the home.
    Baby didn’t nurse or feed well from birth as (they learned at age six weeks) that baby was both tongue tied AND lip tied. Daughter finally gave up breastfeeding after two bouts of mastitis which meant two more rounds of antibiotics for both her and our grandson.
    Baby was born full term but his labor had to be induced, and antibiotics were administered in my daughter’s IV during labor. My daughter has had chronic UTI as well as Lyme Disease and so her own history of antibiotic use is staggering. Since giving birth nine months ago, my daughter has nearly regained all her health and wellness through her adherence to Trim Healthy Mama, but she is interested in learning about GAPS. Please help!
    – Linda Kay

  9. Denise Avatar

    I want to do the GAPS diet but I am going to be having mouth surgery in a month or so and will be on antibiotics. Do you think I should do the diet after I am finished the antibiotics or should I start now before the surgery?
    Thanks Denise xx

  10. Angela Avatar

    I have a 15mth old whose cheeks did the same thing after every nursing & every feeding. He has eczema as well. I know this is part of it. I would love to talk to you more about it (from one Mama to another)!

  11. Erin Avatar

    We just started my 11 month old on the GAPS because she suffers constipation, eczema, rashes! I’m still breastfeeding her and am in the process of going full GAPS. I’ve noticed her face is getting bright red and splotchy after each broth, stewed meat and veggie feeding. Is this common? We have not even started introducing eggs yet because she is so sensitive to everything! It’s really overwhelming at first, any tips on managing the soup explosions at each meal?

  12. Leah Avatar

    Hi Katie–

    I had a question in regards to “who should do GAPS.” It seems that everyone would benefit from some form of gut healing, but is GAPS mainly reserved for those with the above issues? I am trying to research the best way to undergo intensive cleansing after years of eating processed foods, using antibacterial chemicals, etc.

    Thank you!

  13. Felicia Avatar

    Both my kids have ADD/ADHD and allergies. My son has asthma and eczema. Through research I’ve learned fish oil is good for ADD/ADHD. My son however has a fish allergy and cannot take fish or cod liver oil. Are there any other oils or such that may be used as a supplement? I have also read cows milk is not good for those with certain disabilities. I’m thinking about switching to rice milk. Any suggestions for oils?

    1. Rebecca Avatar

      I’ve heard that Flaxseed Oil is a good one for kids with ADHD. My son has it too, and I haven’t tried it with him yet, because he’s so picky with certain textures, and he knows when I’ve added something to what he eats/drinks. Best wishes for your family!

  14. erin Avatar

    my son was also born via C-section, but seemingly healthy 15 years ago. From age 6-12 he was diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, OCD and Tourettes. For 7 years, we tried everything western medicine had to offer with minimal benefits and certainly no cures. We ended up with a naturopath who improved my sons condition tremendously with a gluten/dairy free diet and supplementation,but again no cure. 2 years ago we found the pfeiffer clinic in Illinios and finally a cure! Our doctor is awesome! She found that my son had 3 rare genetic condi-tions and even though they are not reversable, the problems they created are reversable by taking a certain amount of several vitamins. he no longer has ADHD, anxiety, OCD or Tourettes!! However, he does still have the two food allergies. We are all used to it, but it would be really nice for him to be able to eat normally. I know it is recommended to start the GAPS diet at a young age and my son just turned 16. What are the odds of completely eliminating a gluten and dairy allergy at this age using the GAPs diet? How long would it take?

    1. Danae Avatar

      Dear Erin, Still very good – I had allergies developing at 38 – severe and over night. And after starting the GAPS I finally have no extreme set-back (did candida cures and diets without sugar, gluten & dairy for 2 years which gave me finally energy back, no weight fluctuation, no food cravings – all that was great following Natalia Roses, Karyn Calabreses and Norman Walkers diet recommendation). Yet, as soon as I reintroduced any of the items especially sugar it came back – it was maddening as it I could not explain why anymore. Finally, I went to a TCM practicioner and she told me the mucous lining was totally destroyed. It dawned on my that I did not have only devloped candida but Leaky Gut! This was a break through. With adding L-Glutamine, Gelatin and broth and certain other recommended GAPS supplements I finally do not react on sugar (I still eat fairly small amounts but what a relief not to have to be afraid of eating small amounts of sugar or dairy and flaring up immediatly). I am still a novice in GAPS as I am not following all the recommendations but alone with integrating some of her recommendations and supplements I am totally happy and feel I might finally see the end of the road – as I said I am only trying small amounts of sugar, dairy seems to be no problem anymore (even though I opt for raw milk these days as well small amounts), gluten no problem – but here I am so used to eat without and feel so good with it that I only do it on social occasions – which is very freeing as I always had to have a special meal – and it got a bit extreme (even though I have very tolerant friends). I had not ADHD etc. Yet, it is amazing how a body can recoup as soon as we give him the right things to heal. Same with my mother at 80! Pretty impressive. Perhaps Wellness Mama can give you more insights to a closer case to your child. But I really think the odd are very high – especially if the mucous lining is compromised as it was in my case.
      Hope this helps & could you share the vitamins your son received to reverse the effects of his condition – I am sure a lot of us out here would find this useful.

    2. Jessica Avatar

      Erin, can you share the name of the Doctor at the Pfeiffer Clinic in Illinois that helped with your son’s Tourettes? I have TS myself and suspect my 3 year old daughter may too. Perhaps you can share the supplement/vitamin regimen he was on? I’ve battled with TS my whole life and nothing has brought me relief. I’m used to living with it now, but if I can help my daughter, that would be everything! Thanks kindly in advance!

  15. Julie Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    Thank you for the book review, it was most helpful.

    I have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) , reflux and digestive issues. I have just started seeing a naturopath and she has advised the GAPS diet to correct all my issues, she is Gaps certified so I trust her advice. I have had MCS for 14 years and with all my researching of ways to fix it I’ve found that it is not very easily fixed and only a small number of people do overcome it. Do you know of anyone who has used the GAPS method for MCS and been successful?
    I haven’t read the Gaps book yet as I am waiting for it to arrive so your review and the above comments I’ve read have been very helpful.

    Thanks again,

  16. Angela Avatar

    Thank you! I ordered the GAPS book and will start with the Full Diet now. I appreciate all you do!

  17. Angela Ramsey Avatar
    Angela Ramsey

    Is it safe to do the GAPS diet while exclusively Breastfeeding my 9 mth old? I tested positive for Group B Strep and received antibiotics before birth, then another dose afterwards because I ran a fever during delivery. At 6 weeks I developed mastitis and received a third round (all while Breastfeeding and within the first 6 wks of his life). Then right after his 2 mth vaccine (at 8 wks), he developed bloody and loose stools. I was told he had a dairy allergy. I cut out all dairy and through my own research decided to cut out soy, then wheat, egg, corn, then eventually all the top allergens in an effort not to aggravate his gut further. He continues to have loose stools (but no longer bloody), he also scratches a lot with eczema. I have seen tremendous improvement with diet eliminations, and now I am starting to add things back in (fish and egg right now). He has tried a few first foods although he isn’t very interested in eating at this time. I am terrified of starting solids and causing his digestion issues to worsen. We have also stopped his vaccines. I have to make a decision on this soon. Have you heard of vaccines contributing to food intolerances/allergies? What are your thoughts for/against vaccines? How and when would you suggest to start first foods in addition to Breastfeeding with his condition?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I can’t give any specific medical advice. I have personally done GAPS while nursing and it seemed to help my little one. I didn’t do the intro, just the full GAPS (minus any foods she/I reacted to) and made sure to eat a lot each day so I was getting enough nutrients to keep up with nursing. We’ve always started with broth as a first fermented food and I’ve basically done GAPS (intro and moving into Full) as first foods with my last couple of children to help improve gut health.

  18. Faith Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    I’m looking for some remedies for my husband. He’s been struggling with eczema his whole life and it hasn’t gotten any better. I read a lot about how GAPs has helped young children, but would it help an adult too? Thanks!

  19. Melisa Avatar

    Wellness mama, did the GAPS diet ever cure your son’s dairy intolerance/allergy, or does he still have that issue? What exactly were his symptoms when he was having a reaction? Why does GAPS take so long (years?) to work with an allergy/healing the gut? I haven’t read the book yet, but have been reading a lot about it online. Am not sure if we could afford to do it, or that my family would try it (esp if it is years long), but my 3 year old daughter has a dairy sensitivity, and she drinks goat’s milk/dairy currently.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      We were able to fix it. He had digestive, behavior and skin symptoms. It took us about 18 months. I’ll try to write a post on it soon, but the reason it took so long is that you essentially have to repopulate the gut bacteria correctly.

  20. Christine Avatar

    Hello! I’m curious if the book mentions that the GAPS diet can help vertigo? I had a friend suggest that leaky gut/candida overgrowth could be the cause of my constant dizziness, for which the doctors can find no reason (other than an inner ear imbalance, but they don’t know why). Thank you!

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