In This Article
Ayurvedic Cleanses, Detoxes, and Your Microbiome
Often when you do a cleanse, you’re sweeping out old, non-beneficial gut bugs in order to clear the way for newer, healthier colonies.
It’s been well established that a healthy microbiome is directly linked to optimal health and longevity.
From mood and immunity to inflammation and aging, a healthy and diverse population of beneficial bacteria in our guts matters.
Sadly, most non-Ayurvedic cleanses today are quite aggressive, using herbs and supplements that leave your intestines irritated.
Ayurvedic cleanses are different in two ways:
- First of all, Ayurvedic practitioners have long understood that for a new stable of beneficial microbes to colonize and become permanent residents, your gut environment is delicate and has to be gently and properly prepared in order to encourage beneficial microbes. Ayurvedic cleanses, like LifeSpa’s 14-day Colorado Cleanse, 4-day Short Home Cleanse, and 5-day Kaya Kalpa Cleanse, all reset your upper digestive tract, lymphatic system, and intestinal lining, which hosts the majority of your microbiome.
- Secondly, traditional Ayurvedic cleanses were often followed by a diet of seasonal and fermented foods that would help repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria. Now, to ensure the repopulation of proper gut bugs, I commonly suggest a round of supplemental colonizing probiotics.
Using the Right Probiotics for Establishing a Seasonal Microbiome
Probiotic supplements have been the go-to solution for re-building a healthy microbiome. But most probiotic supplements are transient, rather than colonizing, in nature, which means they do not become permanent residents in our guts.
The probiotics that I use are colonizing, which means you do NOT have to take them forever. Instead, they adhere to your intestinal wall and increase the proliferation of new, diverse, and seasonal beneficial bacteria in your gut on a long-term basis.
Seasonal bugs are key. An Ayurvedic cleanse is designed to prepare your intestinal tract for a new stable of seasonal microbes, which help boost immunity in the winter, dissipate heat in the summer, and decongest you in the spring.
If you aren’t populating your gut with seasonal microbes, you risk opening the door to harmful opportunistic gut bacteria.
A Beneficial Probiotic Protocol Post Cleanse
Taking a round of colonizing probiotics after an Ayurvedic cleanse ensures the repopulation of beneficial gut bacteria and the development of greater microbial diversity.
Here is my 3-step post-cleanse probiotic protocol:
- I typically start out with a month of Gut Revival, which is half colonizing probiotics and half probiotics and prebiotics that remove undesirable microbes while encouraging the proliferation of beneficial bacteria. I take one packet two times a day.
- I follow this with a month of Flora Restore Max, which is LifeSpa’s most potent colonizing probiotic. I take one capsule once a day with food.
- Then I take a month of Flora Restore to keep colonizing my gut with new bacteria. I take one capsule once a day with food.
I’m confident LifeSpa probiotics can help you build stable, seasonal gut bugs that help you stay healthy.
In 2019, I ran an informal study on LifeSpa’s probiotic line, including Gut Revival, Flora Restore, and Flora Restore Max.
A group of my patients were going to Europe. I gave half the group Flora Restore and the other half took nothing. I measured the diversity of their microbiomes before they left and six weeks after they came home.
After six weeks, 60 percent of the Flora Restore group saw an increase in gut bug diversity, while only 33 percent of the control group saw an increase in gut bug diversity, which could be accounted for through travel to Europe and exposure to new bugs through food and the environment.
See also John Douillard’s Probiotic Study
Ayurveda’s Take on Gut Microbes
Thousands of years ago, without the aid of microscopes, Ayurveda described invisible microbes that practitioners called krimi.
To ward off bad krimi and reel in good krimi, Ayurvedic practitioners discussed strategies for creating gut environments that encouraged good microbes and were antagonistic to the proliferation of bad microbes.
The role of prebiotics and soluble fiber was also part of Ayurvedic treatments thousands of years ago. Ayurveda discussed these in great detail and adjusted the types of prebiotics and fiber people consumed for each season and for each body type. This was to ensure a suitable environment for the proliferation of the right bugs for the right season. As I mentioned before, our microbes are designed to change with the seasons.
Ayurveda’s Approach to Microbial Diversity (Hint: Seasonal Eating)
Ayurveda described the importance of living in harmony with the seasons by eating seasonal foods. Each seasonal harvest provides the perfect balance for us to endure the cold of winter, heat of summer, and moisture of spring.
The foods harvested in each season also have a synergistic relationship with soil microbes. These seasonal microbes are carried by the foods we eat and then populate our guts, playing an important role in the healthy transition from one season to the next. (This is why the cleanse asks you to eat, for the most part, seasonal foods.)
The Importance of Seasonal Microbes
The transition from one season to the next, called ritusandhi, is considered particularly important in Ayurveda. This is when most disease begins.
To remedy the increased risk of disease as one season transitions to the next, Ayurveda recommends not only seasonal eating, but also seasonal cleansing.
In Ayurveda, the ability to digest well is linked to the ability to detoxify well. If the body becomes toxic, it is likely because of an underlying digestive imbalance.
A healthy transition from one season to the next is dependent on both healthy digestion and healthy detoxification pathways. At the end of each season, the qualities of that season (for example, heat in the summer), will accumulate and potentially aggravate your digestive system unless it is reset with a cleanse and then nourished with food from the next season.
To make sure you’re optimizing your diet for seasonal eating and seasonal microbes, sign up for our FREE 3-Season Eating Guide and get recipes and grocery lists for each month of the year.