Nobel Prize-winning Russian researcher Élie Metchnikoff brought forth a revolutionary theory. He found that Bulgarian and Russian farmers who consumed yogurt regularly happened to live longer, with a healthier gut. Back in 1907, he recommended that the balance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut could be modified in favor of one’s health, potentially improve longevity and digestive strength in people. For the longest time, Ayurveda practitioners and traditional medicine experts have mentioned similar benefits of formulations like Triphala in increasing longevity and wellness in general by improving gut health. Now researchers are explaining how.
According to CDC, every year about 22.4 million people visit doctors with digestive problems. To tackle this general rise in digestive complaints, people are moving to probiotics and prebiotics, and probiotics are expected to grow into a $50 billion market in the near future.
For the longest time, ancient seers and wellness teachers have enthusiastically shared about the wide-ranging goodness of Ayurveda in general and Triphala specifically, which a powerful herbal trio stuffed with important micronutrients and polyphenols. But now modern science is coming around to acknowledge the medicinal applications of these herbal formulations as well, particularly in the context of trending interest in gut health.
Importance of Gut Microbiome
Gut microbiome includes all the billions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that your gut is home to, found specifically in part of the large intestine. Some of these are disease-causing while others are necessary for your immune system, heart and digestive health. From helping digest breast milk to digesting fiber, regulating how your immune system works, to having a say in your brain health and stalling the development of certain age-related brain disorders, the gut microbiome affects your overall health in numerous ways. The research is still evolving on more ways your gut microbiome impacts various tissue systems and their functions. In Ayurveda terms, they can affect the digestive fire or Agni and the accumulation of toxins called ama. They also help manage indigestion, improve functions of the digestive enzymes and plug digestive leaks, making sure undigested food items do not enter the bloodstream.
What are Probiotics? And why do we need it?
As we age, the density of our gut microbiome is affected, apart from the role of excessive intake of antibiotics, exposure to pollutants, and a lifestyle that affects this precarious balance. When the balance between the good and bad bacteria is not in favor of the good ones, this imbalance, called gut dysbiosis, has been linked to diseases, weight gain, issues like bloating, IBS symptoms, production of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) a chemical that contributes to blocked arteries.
Having probiotics is one of the most important ways to reduce this imbalance between good and bad bacteria, and improve the gut microbiome. Probiotics are the good or friendly microbes found in certain food sources that deliver the benefits mentioned above. You may wonder if consuming ‘good bacteria’ comes with its risks. The thing is, our bodies, especially our guts are already loaded with good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that tilt the balance in favor of the good bacteria.
Triphala, Probiotics and Gut health
If you are looking for foods to improve gut health, you must have more foods rich in polyphenols, plant compounds that become the food for the microbiome, increase bioabsorption, and stimulates good growth of healthy bacteria. One such gift of nature is Triphala, an herbal trio made of made from three Indian fruits: Amalaki, Bibhitaki , and Haritaki. A recent study has found that Triphala can boost the growth of good bacteria like Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus acidophilus while inhibiting the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Triphala is a powerful prebiotic, that is, food or fodder to support the growth of probiotics. Triphala prepares your digestive system to allow and nourish the probiotic strains.
Triphala is loaded with polyphenolic compounds such as tannins, saponins, anthraquinones, chebulinic acid, quercetin, gallic and ellagic acid. Bioabsorption of chebulinic acid is related to a reduction in oxidative damage, which is caused by an imbalance between antioxidants in the body and rogue free radicals. As a good probiotic, studies have shown how the use of Triphala can help decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Speaking from an Ayurveda perspective, the gut is the seat of Vata and so anything that helps improve the gut microbiome, like Triphala, can help address overall Vata imbalance. Triphala also includes three fruits that balance all three doshas.
Strong Immunity relies on Strong Gut Health.