The GAPS scam
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride got a medical degree in 1984 from the Bashkir Medical University in Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan, when it was part of the USSR. Bashkortostan is a backward, authoritarian, predominantly muslim state and corruption is a way of life, with journalists routinely arrested and where state leaders and judges are regularly caught in taking bribes. I do not put much credence in a medical degree from a university of the Republic of Bashkortostan when the good doctor has zero publications to back up her pseudo-scientific claims.
Together with her husband Peter Campbell-McBride (born in March 1947) Dr. Natasha runs a multi-million dollar dietary supplements empire and claims to be able to successfully treat Schizophrenia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Autism and many other serious mental and physical health issues. As most ambitious scammers do, they went for the big bucks and took things multi-level through an army of affiliate resellers: Natasha trains them from home by videoconferencing for a fee of $1175,- per participant, where she evangelises her “Gut and psychology Syndrome” theory. It’s not a theory she says, because she says she has cured countless people of their mental problems. I have yet to see an independent verification of a single case of autism cured by her “protocol”. I take her assault on people on the autistic spectrum personal because I have Aspergers. Everything about her screams quackery, such as “All diseases start in the gut“. Dr. Campbell-McBride has never heard of Pneumonia, Chlamydia, Influenza or AIDS. Those all start in the gut, really. With her probiotic supplements, you’ll become immune!
The British part of Campbell-McBride’s worldwide quackery empire consists of Cambridge Probiotics Ltd., Cambridge Bioceuticals Ltd., Medinform Publishing Ltd., BioKult Ltd., Be Healthy Ltd., Health Foods Institute Ltd and the Cambridge Nutrition Clinic.
Campbell-McBride claims that her son was diagnosed with Autism and she claims that she fully “cured” him with her self-invented diet, which is very similar to the Primitive or Paleo diet. She never published any verifyable evidence for her autism-cure story, neither have medical journals ever published any studies from her, supporting those claims.
Natasha – not being permitted to practice medicine in Europe – married a British supplements marketeer and discovered a “miracle cure” for the most severe neurological problems. In a nutshell, that “cure” consists of taking her probiotics and avoiding certain foods. It will make stupid people intelligent, she claims. “Highly successful in treating patients with learning disabilities.” She wrote some books, her husband made a site for her and they recorded YouTube clips where she explains how “toxins” produced by “bad gut flora” cause brain damage leading to autism, and how her diet and supplements provide a cure. Her method also cures depression. And Schizophrenia. And ADHD. And arthritis, intestinal problems, etc. etc. But there is nothing special about her supplements. They’re perfectly plain probiotics and the like. But if you do exactly what she says, if you buy her books and supplements, then, with a bit of luck, after some years your child should be cured of Autism. Or you of your depression. That’s basically her message. I always get suspicious of such claims, especially when made by people that have something to sell. In Campbell-McBride’s case, she runs an online store such as ours, only she sells overpriced stuff with very questionable utility at shop.gapsdiet.com. Products such as “Urban Moonshine Organic Energy Spray - Endurance for the modern world! Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic combines some of the most widely used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the harmful effects of stress”. Clever idea! I’ll tell my husband we should also do that, charge 8 bucks plus shipping for a tiny bottle of 8 cents worth of herbal extract imported from China and mixed and filled off at home. No FDA trouble, no support issues – we’ll get rich in no time! We’ll call it “Sarah’s miracle potion” or something. Surely, some will believe me and buy it? I’ll just make up a nutritional theory that promises to cure cancer or something, since most neurological syndromes are already taken by the Campbell-McBride’s. Actually, the “Cancer is a fungus” folks took Cancer already, hm.. We have to be quick, before all major illnesses have been taken! A bit of partnering with the top quack promoters such as Doctor Mercola and the sheeple will buy. Let’s do that when dermaneedling goes out of fashion!
Campbell-McBride: Quack or scammer?
The Encyclopedia of American loons is reluctant to call her a quack because according to them, if the quack believes in it herself, she’s not a quack. They think she really believes her own claims so they are content calling her merely an “enemy of science and reason”. But I think it is clear that Natasha Campbell-McBride is both a quack and a scammer, and I will elaborate.
Campbell-McBride is an educated MD, which means she is supposed to understand biochemistry. A medical doctor who makes such outlandish claims should be expected to know what they’re talking about, which in her case means understanding biochemistry. In this video she exposes herself as someone who simultaneously understands an important fact of biochemistry but then goes on to deliberately lie in the same sentence about that same fact of biochemistry. Sadly, only someone who understands biochemistry would catch her in that deception, so all the sentence achieves with a layperson is a sense of awe for her knowledge.
Why Campbell-McBride is a fraudster
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride knows that bacterial toxins are relatively large molecules and therefore are not easily absorbed through the GI tract. The proper term for such toxins is microbial exotoxins. I am going to prove that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a criminal who belongs in jail for deliberately defrauding sick people for millions of dollars. “Dr. GAPS” has British nationality and British libel law still is the harshest in the world. With her multi-million dollar fraud empire at stake, she may want to sue. I’ll list here some of the facts I will use in my defense, since recent libel law reform made the truth a valid defense against libel claims in the UK.
What are bacterial toxins? Let’s use a quote from a textbook that she likely used during her studies in the USSR, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, published in 1979, five years before she graduated. I quote: “Chemically, toxins are either proteins or polypeptides. In contrast to other organic and inorganic poisonous substances, toxins, upon entering an organism, cause the formation of antibodies. The molecular weight of toxins exceeds 4,000–5,000″.
What follows is this table with the molecular weight of some bacterial and other toxins:
|Botulinus toxin A||Clostridium botulinum||150,000|
|Botulinus toxin B||C. botulinum||167,000|
|Tetanus toxin||C. tetani||140,000|
|Ricin||Seeds of castor-oil plant||65,000|
|Taipan toxin||Taipan venom||42,000|
|Toxin II||Scorpion venom||7,249|
Molecular weight is expressed as Daltons, (nucleons), meaning the total of protons and neutrons in one molecule of the toxin. As the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, her own contemporary study material notes, all toxins, also bacterial toxins are always heavier than 4000 Daltons. As can be seen from the table, many are much heavier. If you want to check the molecular weight of nearly all bacterial toxins known to man, use the following online database: As an example, I’ve linked to Gardnerella toxin, which has a molecular weight of 56769 Daltons.
Campbell-McBride claims at 1:23 in the YouTube clip that bacterial toxins pass the damaged intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream and then the brain, where they cause damage. She knows that it is not easy at all for the relatively large toxin molecules to pass a healthy intestinal lining, because it does quite a good job keeping such large molecules out. So she correctly mentions that it is the fact that the intestinal lining is damaged that allows the alleged toxins to enter the bloodstream. But in the same sentence she says: “..and get into the brain”. This is the moment where that comes out of her mouth:
Sounds legit, right? Bacterial toxins enter the bloodstream, get distributed throughout the body, and get into the brain. However, this is abject nonsense, something that any doctor could tell you. Remember how the lightest (“smallest”) microbial exotoxin molecule has a mass of 4000 Daltons? The largest molecule that can pass the blood-brain barrier is ten times smaller. It has to be smaller than 500 Daltons. What does this mean? It means that unless a person has acute meningitis or severe encephalopahty, that is it utterly impossible for any bacterial toxin ever to enter the brain. Not a single molecule. The laws of nature, quantum mechanics and microbiology forbid this, and with good reason. Our brain is well-protected against bacterial toxins by either evolution or our Good Lord. Most bacterial toxins are 100 times too big to be able to get into our brain, and even the smallest bacterial toxin ever discovered is about ten times too large.
Campbell-McBride knows about cellular-molecular barriers very well, otherwise she wouldn’t have said that because of the damaged intestinal lining, the toxins can pass into the bloodstream. It does not fit her story to mention that the blood-brain barrier filters out even ten times smaller molecules than the smallest bacterial toxins, so she omits that. Because it would collapse her story like a house of cards. There are nearly no chemical compounds that can pass the blood-brain barrier (the lining of the cappilary veins in our brain). A molecule has to be not only very small but also lipid-soluble, which many bacterial toxins are neither. That is why 98% of all pharmaceutical drugs can not enter the brain. Our blood-brain barrier, this extremely effective toxin-filter is the #1 problem in neurological medicine. Nearly nothing passes. It is fiendishly difficult to design a drug that can reach the brain. Dr. Natasha knows this and she therefore knows that her theory on how bacterial toxins cause neurological disorders in the child and adult is fallacious, and therefore she knowingly sells books, training and supplements on a knowingly false premise. This is fraud of the worst kind: Knowingly selling false hope to sick people and leading them astray from a possible real cure in some cases. Appropriate punishment? I’d propose forfeiture of all profits and aquired assets, striking off the register of the pair’s companies, a lifelong ban on health-related business activities, restitution of all received funds, a fine, a prison sentence as well as a public apology.
More nonsense from this quack
In the GAPS diet, “Dr. GAPS” makes a few long-discredited claims about “alkalizing foods” and “body pH” which I have debunked here. She studied nutrition, which makes her a nutritionist. Someone should revoke her license. She advises against non-organic butter due to its alleged harmful levels of pesticides and antibiotics (I disagree with both), while advising honey, even though I think it has been documented that honey is a lot more detrimental to health than bio-industry butter. Honey contains every pollutant known to man, from heavy metals to radionuclides. Everything in the air ends up concentrated in honey. She advises against canned fish, even though freshly canned sardines are one of the healthiest food available. Low on the food chain, they are the least contaminated seafood, full of essential nutrients. I think there is no food with better value for money than canned sardines.
I don’t have the time to delve deeper into all the unsubstantiated claims she makes on how her system helps with nearly every disease. The only thing worthy of following is the general dietary advice she gives. The rest is unadulterated bunk. The woman is a complete fraud, calling herself “Recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in treating children and adults with learning disabilities and other mental disorders, as well as children and adults with digestive and immune disorders”. If you substitute “treating” with “scamming” you’re getting closer to the truth. She’s a nobody in the scientific world, but her husband, Peter “make money online” Campbell-McBride is a damn good manager, albeit that he got a little carried away, splitting up their enterprise into at least half a dozen companies. It seems that they think that if one or two get shut down, they still have a few cash cows left. As long as you keep believing their stories.
More on this shameless liar, a traitor of her Hippocratic oath: