While the GAPS protocol mainly focuses on healing the body through food, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (or NCM, as I like to call her) does recommend a few supplements for GAPS people. If you’re considering GAPS, it’s worth taking a look at these supplements and pondering whether you would like to include them in your own healing program.
NCM recommends that all GAPS people take a commercial, therapeutic strength probiotic during their time on the GAPS diet. High-quality commercial probiotics contain a great variety of beneficial strains that will attack your bad bacteria and help reestablish healthy gut bacteria. Commercial probiotics are not a substitute for fermented foods, but they do augment the good bacteria that you receive from your food sources.
Some people do not ever take commercial probiotics but still experience success on GAPS. If you can’t afford probiotics, I would still try GAPS without them if you think you could benefit. If you can afford to buy probiotics, however, I think they will absolutely be worth the investment.
Bio-Kult is the official probiotic recommended for the GAPS diet. Many people do take other brands of probiotics, however. If you seek out a different brand, I would recommend comparing it with Bio-Kult to make sure that it is strong enough and contains the right strains for gut healing.
(If you do decide to skip the commercial probiotic, be extra vigilant about eating a lot of fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir and other probiotic foods. Eating kefir grains will also provide you with extra probiotics.)
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is a recommended supplement for GAPS people because it is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin D, EPA and DHA. Since GAPS people have trouble with absorption they tend to be low in all of these nutrients.
I take fermented cod liver oil because it’s the traditional way of consuming cod liver oil. I buy the Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend in the cinnamon tingle flavor.
GAPS people should also take fish oil with a higher ratio of EPA to DHA. Again, due to absorption issues GAPS people are low in EPA and DHA. I buy Carlson’s Very Finest Fish Oil. Shop around online for the best price; I usually end up paying around $30 for a 16.9 ounce bottle.
Nut/Seed Oil Blend
NCM also recommends a nut/seed oil blend with a 2 to 1 ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. I have actually never taken this supplement. I got overwhelmed with everything I needed in the beginning and then completely forgot about it! I will do some more research on this one and update here if I find one that I like.
Betaine HCL with Pepsin
Betaine HCL with pepsin supplements your body’s stomach acid. HCL may not be required for all GAPSters but many GAPS people have low stomach acid. Sufficient production of stomach acid is necessary for the proper operation of your digestive system so supplementing can produce significant benefits.
If you’re unsure whether you have low stomach acid, try taking some betaine HCL with your meals and see if you notice any difference. I take Pure Encapsulations’ Betaine HCL Pepsin.
Probiotics, cod liver oil, fish oil, HCL and a nut/seed oil blend are the only supplements recommended on GAPS. NCM stresses that it’s best to get all other nutrients from foods. Many people, however, choose to take additional supplements while on GAPS. It’s up to you to decide what you feel comfortable with. I have personally benefitted from using additional supplements, such as magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and a liver support supplement.
If you choose to take additional supplements, make sure that they are free of GAPS-illegal ingredients. Many supplements contain fillers like sugars, starches, gums, etc. With a little bit of searching, however, you should be able to find legal versions of most, if not all, supplements you want to take.
What do you think about supplements? Do you take them, or do you prefer to get all your nutrients from food?
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