With the rising epidemics of many chronic diseases over the past few decades (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer, autoimmune and neurological diseases, etc.), people are looking for solutions and ways how to get their health back. One core aspect in the healing process, which should not be excluded among other therapies, is appropriate diet and nutrition.
In many cases, in trying to solve their health issues, people turn to low carbohydrate diets. These include the ketogenic diet, the Paleo type diet, the carnivore diet, the Specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), the GAPS diet, and others. In all of these dietary low carb protocols, the intake of carbohydrates is reduced.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the GAPS diet and its impact on one's health.
GAPS = Gut and Psychology Syndrome + Gut and Physiology Syndrome
The concept of GAPS establishes a connection between the state of the person's digestive system and the health of the rest of the body , The GAPS nutritional protocol is a natural treatment for autoimmune disease, asthma, eczema, allergies, fatigue, arthritis, chronic infections, neurological and endocrine disorders, digestive disorders, learning disabilities, mental illnesses, epilepsy and eating disorders.1
GAPS, as a concept, was introduced and developed by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride [2, 3]. A GAPS diet is based on the Specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) [4 5] and has very similar main principles.
The GAPS diet suggests excluding complex carbohydrates from the diet, namely, all products containing disaccharides and polysaccharides. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid sugar (sucrose), grains (starch) and starchy vegetables, non-fermented milk products (lactose) and processed food [2, 3, 6].
The rationale for the GAPS diet is based on evidence that people with chronic disease and digestive issues are unable to properly digest and assimilate complex carbohydrates. Incompletely digested carbohydrate molecules accumulate in the gut, where they ferment and feed pathogenic bacteria. By removing these complex carbohydrates from the diet for a period of time, the digestive system is given a chance to recover [2, 3, 6].
Simultaneously, GAPS is a nutrient-rich diet, as it includes meat broths, soups, fermented foods containing probiotic bacteria, good fats (eggs, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, animal fats, etc.), selected vegetables and fruits, meat, fish, nuts and seeds, all of which are essential for human health [2, 3, 6].
Gut microbiome optimisation
One key aspect in the GAPS approach to health is optimisation of the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the complex composition of all sorts of microorganisms, viruses, fungi, parasites, protozoa, etc. that are naturally living in our gut. In the process of evolution, we have developed complex symbiotic relationships with these tiny creatures. We provide a beneficial habitat for these microorganisms, and they, in turn, provide us with essential nutrients (fatty acids, vitamins, hormones, etc.), help with the digestion (cellulose, inulin) and assimilation of our food, take care of our immune system, and more. So, it is of utmost importance to take care of our gut microbiome, making sure that beneficial bacteria outnumber pathogenic microorganisms.
How can we support our gut microbiome?
- By consuming fibre-rich foods as fibre is known to be a natural prebiotic – food for bacteria. The human body does not produce an enzyme that digests fibre (cellulose, lignin, inulin), however, the bacteria in the gut digest fibre for us, while simultaneously providing us with bioactive compounds essential for our metabolism and health.
- By including fermented foods (sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, kimchi, kefir, whey, sour cream, yoghurt, etc.) in our diet daily.
- In addition to a healthy and nutritious diet, we can also take dietary supplements in the form of prebiotic or probiotics to further support the beneficial bacteria.
BLACK STUFF for microbiome health
With a plethora of supplements available on the market, it’s difficult to choose the best supplements for optimal gut health and overall wellbeing. One of the smart choices is BLACK STUFF – a powerful nutritional supplement derived from lignin, rich in lignophenols, fulvic acid and humic acid.
BLACK STUFF has many unique properties – it acts not only as a prebiotic in the gut, helping to establish and maintain optimal gut microbiome, but it also facilitates the absorption of nutrients from the gut and the delivery of these nutrients to the cells. Excellent chelation (binding) properties of humic substances are helpful in the assimilation and delivery of nutrients into the cells, and simultaneously, through the chelation mechanism, they can remove toxic substances from the cell. Polyphenols present in BLACK STUFF are powerful anti-oxidants that can enhance the immune system. As such, BLACK STUFF is a perfect supplement for not only bringing about optimal gut microbiome balance, but also for overall improvement of human  and animal  health.
‘’The missing link in the diet” is a good definition for BLACK STUFF. I believe in and often use the saying: “We are not what we eat, we are what we absorb”. Healthy epithelial cells of the gut wall, a balanced microbiome and efficient digestive enzymes are responsible for optimal absorption of nutrients from our food, which in turn are used for the regeneration of our cells. You can adapt the healthiest diet in the world, but, if your gut wall is damaged (leaky), your microbiome is out of balance (dysbiosis), you have low stomach acid and poor excretion of bile and digestive enzymes, your cells will be starving, as they are lacking the essential nutrients for their vital functions.
The therapeutic GAPS nutritional protocol is a way to heal the digestive tract, and BLACK STUFF can be of great help in this healing process. In nature, it is humic substances that, by chelating minerals, can transfer these minerals from the soil to the living organism – cells of the plants. In the same way, fulvic acid and humic acid, both of which are present in BLACK STUFF, can improve the absorption of minerals and other nutrients from our gut microbiome “soil” into the bloodstream and bring them to our cells. In this way, “the missing link” is put back into the diet – the natural humic substances in BLACK STUFF will ensure that “what you absorb” will be more likely to create “who you are” in the form of your best optimum health.
Silvija Ābele, PhD, Mg.sc.sal., LicISH, CGP
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 Campbell-McBride, N. (2004). Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Schizophrenia. Medinform Publishing, Cambridge. 392 pp.
 Campbell-McBride, N. (2020). Gut and Physiology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Allergies, Autoimmune Illness, Arthritis, Gut Problems, Fatigue, Hormonal Problems, Neurological Disease and More, 2020, Chelsea Green Publishing, London. 534 pp.
 Haas, S. V., Haas, M. P. (1951). The Management of Celiac Disease. Edition of 2011 published by Literary Licensing, LLC. 206 pp.
 Gottschall, E. (1986). Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. Kirkton Press Ltd., Ontario. 205 pp.
 Ābele, S., Meija, L., Folkmanis, V. and Tzivian, L. "Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD/GAPS) and Dietary Supplements for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder" Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B. Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences., vol.75, no.6, 2021, pp.417-425. https://doi.org/10.2478/prolas-2021-0062
 Jurševska, B., Pokrotnieks, J. (2021). The effect on physical and mental health with most common gastrointestinal tract symptoms using four-week course nutritional supplement with humic substances. Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia, Medicina (Kaunas) 2021;57 (Supplement 1):30.
 Laizāne D., Laizāns N. (2021). Ongoing study on sport horses in Equine Clinic of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Black stuff for the prevention and treatment of equine gastric ulcer syndrome, Jelgava, Latvia.