Sotto’s Pseudoscientific Source: Who is Natasha Campbell-McBride?

Senator Tito Sotto responded to allegations of plagiarism by denying them on national TV. In case comparing his speech with the blog post isn’t enough, the blogger herself, Sarah Pope, has confirmed that she was indeed plagiarized. And as it turns out, she might not be the only victim of Sotto’s plagiarism: some count at least 3 other plagiarized bloggers.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Let’s humor Tito Sotto and entertain the possibility that his excuse is valid — that he wasn’t quoting the blogger, he was quoting the blogger’s source: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. But was citing Dr. Natasha a good move?

I don’t think so. As far as Sotto’s credibility goes, citing Dr. Natasha was even worse than plagiarizing Pope. Because Dr. Natasha is a quack. She is most known for inventing the idea that autism — and many other symptoms and diseases — is caused by bacteria in our gut, a condition she calls “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” or GAPS — because “gut bacteria” just doesn’t sound as scientific.

The Consequences of Gut Bacteria

And what causes gut bacteria? According to Dr. Natasha, children who aren’t breastfed get gut bacteria. Sure, breastfeeding has benefits, and even real doctors prescribe it. But they don’t scare people with invented consequences, especially not without any real evidence. And by evidence, I mean the results of proper clinical trials. Does Dr. Natasha have such evidence? No. All she has are testimonials.

And when you replace the objectivity of Science with the subjectivity of anecdotal evidence, anything goes. Without the need to adhere to the rigors of Science, Dr. Natasha can confidently claim that like vaccinations, oral contraceptives cause gut bacteria, something Sotto now believes to be the cause of his son’s death.

Dr. Natasha’s disrespect for scientific procedures translates to a distrust of mainstream medicine — a distrust Sotto seems to share, both of them claiming that the pharmaceutical industry only cares about making money. And what alternative does she prescribe? She sells plenty of them in her online store, where anyone can purchase books, DVDs, probiotics, supplements, kitchen equipment, and garden hose filters, all based on the principles of the GAPS diet — an alternative solution that I think Sotto should promote.

Because if he believes Dr. Natasha, he should recommend these products to other alleged victims of vaccination and oral contraception. After all, these are the same products that could’ve saved his son. Unless, of course, he doesn’t buy this bullshit and he’s just trying to grasp at any scientific sounding nonsense to further delay voting on the RH bill.

Image sources: 1, 2

Further reading:



  1. One remark on the breastmilk for good gut microbes (she calls it microbiome) first she says, at birth the newborn swallows some of the amnionic fluid from the mother’s uterus that is not sterile and it is accepted that these microbes settle in the gut as a kick-start of the biome that is sterile before birth. If a mother was treated with antibiotics before birth then her biome is incomplete and can be harmful. during a Ceserian procedure, this process does not occur so these babies are also deprived of a fitting biome. The baby gets a second chance with breastmilk to receive new micro-organisms from the mother beside some of the mother’s antibodies. What is not widely accepted by all doctors is the conclusion that this no biome situation is harmful. If doctors would realize how harmful an antibiotic treatment could be they would hesitate more to use antibiotics an do an effort to restore the gut biome after such treatment. There are some clinical trials with transplanting gut biomes from healthy subjects to sick ones and they are very beneficial to inflammatory gut patients.

    On the remark that she is a quack because she strives to employ and enhance natural processes (food only!) if she has a suspicion that modern processing has harmed these natural processes then I think you would also call your mother a quack for feeding you healthy food and not double-blind trialed pharmaceuticals. it is food you are talking about, not a chemical substance from a pillbox.

    I might not agree with her on the notion of cleansing and detoxing as something for regular application but (water-)fasting is a very good practice for getting into ketosis and naturally live on saturated fat for energy instead of using glucose. The liver converts triglycerides into ketones and they are the best substances for your cells to let the mitochondria convert into ATP this process is anti inflamatory in many way in contrast wit the counterpart of glucose being converted into ATP.

    In all her talks I notice that she is a bit mad at industy the media and politics for promoting the diet heart hypotisis as a proven fact while nobody had done the research jet. You can het a lot of money for bad ideas if they sound like a good soundbite or slogan but reality is often more complex to catch in slogans. I would not aggree with her that it is ill content or malicious but it is pretty stupid and it happens all the time. If greed is accepted as a good drive for progress then only unmoral decisions are taken and promoted. Stupidity is worse as there is no cure for that.

  2. Red Tani, I just came across your article and I have to write and tell you something which may come as a shock: healthy humans have masses and masses of gut bacteria … and what we need to aim for, as Dr Natasha very rightly says, is to have beneficial bacteria in the right quantities and places (not leaked into places it should not reach as a response to inflammation in the body), and we also need to limit the numbers of pathogenic gut bacteria in order for out guts and our bodies as a whole to function as they should. Dr Natasha’s work has improved the health of many people throughout the world, and the number of people discovering how positive her work is continues to grow. Thank heavens. I recommend you re-read the GAPS book, read the discussion forums in Yahoo and facebook to see how people are working with and benefiting from GAPS, … and then perhaps you might write a more positive follow-up article. Best wishes, … 🙂

    • PS: Sorry for the typo … I meant ‘our guts and our bodies’ not ‘out guts …’ … please correct this if you can. Thank you.

  3. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's work is based on that of Dr. Sidney V. Haas, who pioneered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, one of the factors leading to the discovery of celiac disease:
    Since her field is relatively underdeveloped– the link between gut and psychology / neuroscience– it's really lacking in research. We'll probably have to wait a decade or so. But her main premise, which is the importance of the health of the gut ecosystem, is sensible. I'm still looking into the vaccines and contraception, but I'm already pretty much sold on the idea that gluten causes a lot of problems. The GAPS diet, which is pretty much a gluten-free nutrient-dense diet, kinda like the paleo diet, makes sense to me because of that.
    I agree that due to the lack of research, this can't be used as a basis for national-level policymaking. But I'm glad that Dr. Campbell-McBride has been sharing her experience on this through her book and website. Sotto should've just applied the info in his own life and shared his testimonial with his friends or on his own blog, hehe. As an underdeveloped science, it was not appropriate for use in his senatorial speech.
    People who think the premise is credible, and the testimonials convincing, and want to try out the concept, are free to, and can just Google info about gluten, paleo diet, evolutionary health, etc. Health is individual anyway and, aside from some general guidelines (eat nutritious food, exercise, sleep well), what works for one person may not work for another. Personally I've found that avoiding gluten has been pretty good for me, and I'd recommend everyone to give it a try (but study it thoroughly first!). 🙂
    Here are a couple good links on evolutionary health:

    • "Dr. Sidney V. Haas, who pioneered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, one of the factors leading to the discovery of celiac disease"

      According to your own link, the first modern description of Celiac Disease was given by Samuel Gee way before Sidney Haas created his diet.

      "Since her field is relatively underdeveloped– the link between gut and psychology / neuroscience– it's really lacking in research"

      Then it is irresponsible of her to make random claims without evidence. Do the research first before coming to conclusions, yes? In fact not only is there no evidence for her claims, There is evidence *against* her claims.

      "Personally I've found that avoiding gluten has been pretty good for me, and I'd recommend everyone to give it a try (but study it thoroughly first!)"

      The gluten free diet of Sidney Haas is prescribed for people who have Celiac disease, maybe you benefited from it because you have the disease? Have you been tested?

      "But her main premise, which is the importance of the health of the gut ecosystem, is sensible."

      Sure it is. She is not the only one claiming this. Even quacks do say some sensible things sometimes.

      • Sorry, my mistake on the wording, I should've said "acceptance" instead of "discovery".

        She's not making "random claims without evidence". Her claims are based on her observations, and on her own personal experience. I said there is a lack of research because observational studies best serve as basis for the direction of further research in the form of randomized controlled trials.

        Thank you for the link to Dr. Susan Hyman's work! I'll be following her studies. 🙂 The one you linked to doesn't support the GAPS diet, but that's not surprising given the parameters:
        "In this small study neither gluten nor casein was associated with changes in medical or behavioral symptoms in children with Autism. These findings are limited to preschool children with research-confirmed Autism who did not have GI disease and who were participating in behaviorally based preschool services. It is a small sample with very specific characteristics. It is important to note that these children were all receiving effective preschool services and were not taking in too few or too many nutrients that might effect behaviors for other reasons. It is also important that the families and the observers were blinded; they did not know what was in the challenge snack. In prior single-blind studies families knew whether or not their children were on a special diet which might have influenced their impression of the child’s behavior."
        "This study does not support the many subjective reports that the GFCF diet improves the behavior of children with Autism. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before significantly changing your child’s diet. Many children with Autism are very picky eaters. Some families who originally volunteered for the study could not maintain this diet; others were excluded for medical and/or nutritional reasons on screening tests. Consultation with a registered dietitian may be recommended to make certain that your child is getting all the nutrients he/she needs and that you are identifying all the sources of gluten and casein that may be hidden in processed foods if the family elects a trial of the diet. We are currently participating in a cross sectional study through the Autism Treatment Network to further examine what children with Autism eat and how it might be related to behavior. More research into the effects of nutrition on behavior and future health is needed."
        This is a very fair recommendation. In other words, more research is still needed. But this is a great place to start and it's a good randomized controlled trial. Despite its small sample size, it's really valuable progress in this field. I add that they did not indicate what foods exactly were allowed for the children (I glean this from the information available; I don't have access to the full study, but that particular parameter was not mentioned). In the GAPS diet, it's not enough to just remove gluten and casein; nutrient-dense foods must be the emphasis of the diet too.

        A subsequent review that Dr. Susan Hyman participated in:
        "Anecdotal reports that restricted diets may ameliorate symptoms of ASDs in some children have not been supported or refuted in the scientific literature, but these data do not address the possibility that there exists a subgroup of individuals who may respond to such diets. Professional supervision of restricted diets is recommended to prevent nutritional inadequacies.
        Future research is expected to clarify the role of metabolic disorders, allergic/toxic reactions, immune dysregulation, and inflammatory changes in the etiology of gastrointestinal disturbances in individuals with ASDs. Whether unique genetic, metabolic, or physiologic conditions exist and are specific to ASDs remains to be determined. Accrual of new knowledge will advance our approach to the management of ASDs and co-occurring medical conditions. Recognition that problem behaviors might indicate an underlying medical condition will facilitate diagnosis and treatment and ultimately improve the quality of life for many persons with ASDs. This expert panel has addressed considerations in the diagnostic evaluation of gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with ASDs that may lead to effective treatment options, with the hope that patients will have better access to enlightened care."
        Further research recommendations are outlines here:

        As I've said, this field is underdeveloped. I'm glad that Dr. Susan Hyman and others are doing important research in investigating the link between gut health and mental/psychological health.

        That said, I'm not claiming that the GAPS hypothesis is perfect, or that the GAPS diet will work for everyone. The diet does seem to work for some people, and the hypothesis is great for pointing out the need for further studies in this area.

        I haven't been tested for celiac disease, but I think most people are at least partially gluten intolerant. In the words of Mat Lalonde– there has been insufficient time and evolutionary pressure for humans to completely adapt to modern agricultural foods.

  4. ang talino pala ni Dr. Campbell noh? kaya ang nagagawa nitong mga pro rh na ito, kapag naiiipit, eh ad hominem ang trip..ayos yan..

    Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride is a medical doctor with two postgraduate degrees: Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition.

    She graduated as a medical doctor in Russia. After practising for five years as a Neurologist and three years as a Neurosurgeon she started a family and moved to the UK, where she got her second postgraduate degree in Human Nutrition.

    She is well known for developing a concept of GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome), which she described in her book Gut And Psychology Syndrome – Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia, now in its second edition. Thousands of people around the world follow the highly successful GAPS Nutritional Protocol to help themselves and their families. You can learn about GAPS on

    In her clinic Dr Campbell-McBride works as a nutritional consultant with many patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and other complications of atherosclerosis. She has become acutely aware of the existing confusion about nutrition and these conditions, which spurred an intensive study into this subject. The result of this study was her book Put Your Heart In Your Mouth! – What Really Is Heart Disease And What We Can Do To Prevent And Even Reverse It.

    Dr Campbell-McBride is a keynote speaker at many professional conferences and seminars around the world. She frequently gives talks to health practitioners, patient groups and associations. She is a Member of The Society of Authors and a regular contributing health editor to a number of magazines and newsletters.

    • Wow. Nice, you get a description of her from her own website. Do you expect her to admit that she is a quack? She does not have any published scientific papers and her GAPS theory is not accepted by mainstream science because it is not backed up by evidence. By evidence I obviously mean scientific studies and not just stories. No matter how many qualifications she has, it doesn't change these facts.

        • I find that the best comments are always from those who can read.

          “As far as Sotto’s credibility goes, citing Dr. Natasha was even worse than plagiarizing Pope. Because Dr. Natasha is a quack.” – from paragraph 3, sentences 2 to 3.

      • Have you read her book, sonofgod? I don’t know why you are throwing slurs at a doctor who is discovering new frontiers in a very fledgling science. Nutrition science is not all about vitamins and minerals and percentages anymore–it is a complex system involving millions of microbial counterparts that create the vitamins or the toxins that are coursing through our blood, building our bones and skin. Calling someone a quack because they’re finding links between modern diseases and the way people eat and working on bringing attention to an issue that need more scientific attention and research feels cruel and unhelpful.

        In her book Dr. Campbell-Mcbride acknowledges that the research needs more funding-this is a new arena of science and it doesn’t exactly behoove the pharmaceutical industry to fund research considering the simplicity behind healing. It’s not profitable to teach people about preventative healthcare!

        I fail to understand why the unsubstantiated claim is made against her in every critique of her work online that she’s not published in medical journals. Here’s one case study to start:

        Empirical science is not infallible, and when the studies that are done are created by someone with big financial interest (far larger than McBride’s in comparison) it makes sense to question what is being put out-especially when I’ve grown up seeing how often the “findings” on nutrition flip-flop. Eggs are healthy, now they’re unhealthy, don’t drink milk, drink milk it’s good for your bones!

        What hasn’t changed is the health of indigenous peoples who have lived close to Nature and kept their ancient dietary traditions. Why is it so farfetched to believe–to understand!–that what we eat directly affects our health? Why are people so resistant to embrace common sense? When Weston Price went to the producers of vegetable oils with his findings that their products were harming human health, they laughed in his face and rubbed their thumb and forefingers together. That kind of attitude has only become further entrenched. If the claims McBride makes are SO FAR OUT THERE, why hasn’t the medical industry taken a stance on it and denounced her? Why is everyone who goes against the commonly accepted rhetoric based on piles of monetarily biased science a quack?

    • Don't be so gullible! Take note she didn't give a specific medical school in Russia and the specific year she graduated. It's because it is known that you could buy medical degree diplomas in Russia. Also notice she doesn't have the MD or the MBBS – the British equivalent, after her name. Another that's already been pointed by thesonofgod is she has no publications in reputable, peer-reviewed scientific/medical journals. Finally her only professional affiliation is with"The Society of Authors" – an organization open to just about anyone as long as that person has a contract offer from a publisher? lol I was expecting membershiop in organizations like the Royal College of Physicians – Neurology Section, or The Association of British Neurologists or event the Royal Society of Nutrition. NO mention of those!

      • Apparently – Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride graduate from Bashkir Medical University in Russia in 1984. She clearly knows what she is talking about as far as the most up to date science currently allows. She is not the only medic looking at this way of improving nations health. She has a medical and surgical background and education which gives a more rounded education than many others who are just medics or just surgeons. She also does not try to blind with scientific terminology but non the less makes the science behind what she says accessible. To step into the realms of non science but into the realm of intuition (which as yet cannot be scientifically explained 🙂 ) – this lady has a grounded sense about her and in time I hope her science becomes vindicated. It will be to all our benefit. One video I especially appreciate: Dr Natasha the real cause of heart disease

  5. […] Quickly unfolding after one of our authors, Alfredo R. Melgar, exposed Senator Tito Sotto’s unattributed word-for-word lifting of significant segments of a piece written by Sarah Pope, has been the public excoriation of the Senator for plagiarism. Pope’s blog, The Healthy Home Economist, was used by Senator Sotto to oppose public funding of oral contraceptive pills in the first part of his turno en contra speech against the Reproductive Health Bill. The Senator and his staff still contends, however, that if they used her blog at all, it was only in the citation of Pope’s own attributed source, a certain Natasha Campbell-McBride (whose medical opinion is, on its own, highly suspect). […]

  6. Garden hose filters. Now that is inventive, as far as birth control devices are concerned. Senator Sotto's staff goofed, and now he and his staff are goofing more by trying to save face when there is none left to save.

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