GAPS for Beginners Series: Supplements on GAPS

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.

Commercial Probiotics

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.

Fish Oil

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.

Other Supplements                     

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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15 Responses to GAPS for Beginners Series: Supplements on GAPS

  1. sara says:
    Did you ever find a nut/seed oil blend? I have been looking for one. Thanks, Sara
  2. HAYLEY says:
    • I don't have any experience with liver support supplements. As for magnesium, it depends on what kind you're looking for. Magnesium oil--which you apply to your skin--is a great option, especially since GAPS people tend to have trouble absorbing magnesium in their digestive tracts. As for other magnesium supplements, you'd have to do some research to see which ones are best. Just make sure that they don't contain GAPS-illegal fillers/binders like starches, sugars, etc.
  3. HAYLEY says:
    Is this a good choice? And this?,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47883778,d.ZGU&biw=1280&bih=616&sa=X&ei=-7XBUdTNGsLpPPDqgdgG&ved=0CFgQ8wIwAA
  4. Esther says:
    Thanks for taking the time to write a blog to help the GAPS newbies. I would love to read your blog but there is a pop up for sharing through Twitter, Pin it etc that covers the left side of the screen and makes it difficult to read the blog. I don't know how to get rid of it.
  5. Erin says:
    Thank you for the post! Just wondering when you recommend taking each of the supplements throughout the day? I have a probiotic, cod liver oil, iodine and then 2 x hormone supplements I need to take so I'm wary of one interacting with another or food. Any help is appreciated. Erin
  6. Sarah says:
    Hi there, Third day of GAPS introduction - and I'm not clear on when we should take the different supplements. Can you help? This is what I am doing at the moment: Probiotic first thing in the morning Betaine just before a meal Fermented cod liver oil after a meal More probiotic after meals? thanks, Sarah
  7. Josh says:
    Great post! I have been looking for something like this. I see that the HCL supplement contains a plant fiber? I just finished reading gaps and it seems to me that is a red flag? I was wondering what you think. Thanks
    • Hmm...well, if you are worried you could try contacting the company to see if the plant fiber is a starch. Personally I wouldn't worry about it, but of course you should decide what you're comfortable with.
  8. victoria says:
    Hello What full blend of free form amino acids should be taken.There are thousands of them on the market.Which one is best? Thanks
  9. Dana says:
    Meghan, I'd like to try the GAPS eating style. Are there any places to buy homemade dairy? I have no idea where to start on my own. Also, would cod liver oil and fish oil supplements be necessary?

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