I have recently had several readers emailing and asking what supplementation of vitamins I used while on the GAPS diet. I thought others might have the same question. So, today I want to share the supplements I took while on the GAPS diet and the supplements I take now. If you are not sure what the GAPS diet is, take a minute and read the GAPS Review.
GAPS patients have gut dysbiosis which according to Wikipedia refers to:
a microbial imbalance on or inside the body. Dysbiosis is most commonly reported as a condition in the digestive tract. It has been associated with illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease,chronic fatigue syndrome,obesity,cancer and colitis.
Microbial colonies found on or in the body are normally benign or beneficial. These beneficial and appropriately sized microbial colonies carry out a series of helpful and necessary functions, such as aiding in digestion. They also protect the body from the penetration of pathogenic microbes. These beneficial microbial colonies compete with each other for space and resources and outnumber human cells by a factor 10:1.
The goal of the GAPS diet is to starve the harmful bacteria in the gut while replacing it with the beneficial bacteria thus resolving the gut dysbiosis.
After reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, I decided to follow her recommendations. In fact, having been on steroids for my rheumatoid arthritis and medicine for osteoporosis, I decided to stop all medicines and supplements so I would know for sure that it was indeed the GAPS diet that was providing the relief. Now, I am not necessarily recommending this approach for everyone, it was simply what I felt was right for me.
With GAPS, patients have problems absorbing vitamins and minerals because of their gut dysbiosis so, not only is supplementation often a waste (since nutrients go unabsorbed), it may actually aggravate the already inflamed digestive tract. The beauty of the GAPS diet is that anyone can do it – it just requires the will to stick to it and be patient during the healing process. That being said, there are cases complicated by other factors, such as, adrenal fatigue. In these cases, seeking the guidance of a certified GAPS provider can be helpful. GAPS providers are doctors and nurses who work with GAPS patients.
My daughter-in-law used Biodynamic Wellness in California via phone consultations. After filling out an extensive history and diet diary, she had scheduled phone consultations. I am in no way affiliated with them but recommend them because they did help Jessica tweak some aspects of the GAPS diet while also managing and treating adrenal fatigue.
I did not have an issue with adrenal fatigue so after reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, I felt that I was ready to tackle it myself.
Supplements I Took on the GAPS Diet:
Following Dr. Campbell-McBride’s advise about probiotics, I only supplemented with a therapeutic grade probiotic. This probiotic, unlike many on the market, actually survives the stomach acid and makes it into the intestines. I used the therapeutic grade probiotic in addition to the fermented foods, kefir, yogurt and homemade sauerkraut which also successfully get the probiotics into the intestines.
2. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
After finishing the introduction of the GAPS diet, I added Fermented Cod Liver Oil and then switched to the Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend. Both are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D. But, the blend of butter oil and fermented cod liver oil provide the factors identified by Dr. Weston A. Price as being necessary for the fatty acid absorption and balance in our bodies.
3. Stomach Acid
GAPS patients tend to have low stomach acid which is needed to properly break down and digest foods. Not being sure how to supplement with Betaine, I chose to drink sauerkraut juice or 1 Tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in water before meals to encourage stomach acid production. Now, after seeing a local doctor, I know how to use it – see #4 below in the Supplements I Take Now” for directions. Had I know then what I know now, I would have used it while on the GAPS diet for convenience.
Fast forward 1 1/2 years later…
Supplements I Take Now:
Now that I have been off the diet for a little over a year, I am continuing with kefir and other homemade fermented foods. Part of our daily breakfast is a kefir smoothie! I have sourdough starter on my counter (breakfast is now sourdough pancakes), continue to make my own bone broths and basically eat a healthy diet.
We now have in west Texas, an integrative medicine doctor, Dr. Edwards of Veritas Medical, who follows the Weston A. Price dietary guidelines and is very familiar with the GAPS diet. Being in need of a local doctor and of some tweaking myself (for hot flashes/hormone questions), I went to Dr. Edwards. As he says, ” You MUST eat real food first and supplement second”. So, I am now taking the following products based on his recommendations:
1. Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend – I continue to take daily 1/2 tsp daily and like the chocolate creme flavor – we tried them all!
2. Pueraria Mirifica – an herb from Thailand to help balance women’s hormones. I take 1 capsule three times per day. This has helped my hot flashes amazingly!
Ostinol contains special biologically active proteins known as BMPs (bone morphogenic proteins). And BMPS are the only thing that can turn on that stem cell process to grow new bone and cartilage, no matter how old you are, no matter what shape you’re in.
In fact, BMPs have been the standard compound used in bone surgeries since the 1990s—surgeons literally pour BMPs directly on the bone to jump start healing. It’s been the subject of more than a thousand scientific studies. And with that history of safety and visible effectiveness, you can trust Ostinol to help you rebuild bone without any negative side effects.
Plus, now with brand new healthy bone tissue, all the calcium and minerals you’ve been taking have somewhere to stick, improving your bone quality even more.
4. Betaine – stomach acid supplementation. I was to take, after meals, one less capsule than the number of capsules that gave a warm feeling in my stomach. I began with 2 capsules after eating and added another until I felt the warm feeling in my stomach. For me, it was 4 capsules. So, my dose was 3 capsules after each meal (1 less than the number that gave the warm feeling in my stomach). As time progressed, the warm feeling would return and I would drop off another capsule. I now take 1 capsule after large meals and often don’t take any.
5. Vitamin D3 with K2 liquid – 5 drops in water daily or sublingual (under the tongue).
6. Iodine Lugol’s Solution – I began taking 2 drops in water daily and now am down to just 4 drops once a week. This should not be taken at the same time as a probiotic as it will kill the probiotic. According to MedScape and Scientific American, iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies – even among Americans. I know you are probably thinking that we used iodized salt so how can Americans be deficient? But, due to the low-salt diet fad, salt intake has decreased since the 1970’s.
Let me just say, I am not a doctor and do not claim to tell you what to supplement. But, after having so many questions about what I actually take, I want to share with you what has and is working for me – I hope it helps!
How about you – what supplements do you take? How many? How long have you been taking them?