Understanding Your Body
According to Ayurveda, taking care of your digestion might just be the most important step you can take for your health. And not just your physical health, but your emotional and mental health, too!
Strong evidence suggests psychological stress has a marked impact on gastrointestinal health and digestion. Stress is processed through the intestinal tract, where 95% of our serotonin and other neurotransmitters are manufactured and stored, leaving only 5% of the body’s serotonin in the brain at any given time.2
Overstimulation of the intestinal epithelium or “skin” can alter gut microbiology. This sends stress signals to the brain.1
Once the brain gets the message that there is an emergency brewing, it sends this stressed message to every cell in the body and, in particular, back to the gut, where more stress, intestinal discomfort, and altered microbiology ensue.1
For optimal intestinal health, one must take a comprehensive approach that includes:
- Stress prevention techniques
- Protect the gut and nervous system from effects of day-to-day stress
- Support intestinal skin
- Reboot beneficial microbiology
But first, let’s examine the individual nature of your intestinal health.
Your Individual Plan for Intestinal Health
While stress will be processed through everyone’s gut, our digestive tracts do not always respond in the same way. Some folks will become sluggish, while others battle discomfort, mood issues, and loose stools. Ayurveda has mapped out some of these individual tendencies according to your body type.
In highly sensitive vata body types, the individual often has a strong radar and feels everything. Intestinal skin is easily overstimulated, altering good bacteria and neurotransmitter production. The result can be sluggish, slow, dry, hard elimination, along with mood and sleep concerns.
The protocol for vata intestinal support is to help soothe the nervous system, lubricate intestinal skin, and support a new population of beneficial microbes. For this, I suggest:
- A combination of slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice to be sipped throughout the day as a concentrated tea.
- A combination of triphala, licorice, and slippery elm to reboot bowel function4,5 by lubricating the intestinal tract.
- To support the nervous system, I suggest some of my favorite herbs such as brahmi, bacopa, shankpushpi, skullcap, and passionflower.6-8
Pitta intestines are marked by occasional heartburn and reactive production of intestinal mucus that can cause looser stool and abdominal discomfort. This is commonly triggered by overworking or pushing the body too hard.
To balance pitta-based intestinal concerns like acid production and sporadic loose stools, I suggest the following:
- Herbs like amalaki and avipattikar to cool and strengthen digestive fire.9, 10
- LifeSpa’s leaky Gut Support combines bilva fruit with triphala, licorice, and slippery elm to support healthy bowel function.4, 5, 11, 12
- Neem: the queen of the skin breaks up biofilm in the gut while supporting an healthy intestinal environment for the robust proliferation of beneficial bacteria.15
Kapha intestines are marked by a slow, boggy digestive system. If this body type becomes stressed, the intestinal skin produces excessive reactive mucus. This can result in seeing mucus in a looser stool with digestive congestion.
This can prevent the intestines and microbes from assimilating the needed nutrients and detoxifying effectively through the intestinal wall. To support a kapha-based intestinal tract, we have to pull mucus off the intestinal wall and decongest the intestinal tract. To accomplish this, I suggest:
- Lifespa’s Leaky Gut Support (AKA ELIM II) employs bilva fruit and triphal to scrub excess kapha or mucus from the intestinal lining.
- Turmeric is traditionally used to dry and reduce unwanted intestinal mucoid material. For best absorption, LifeSpa’s Turmeric Plus uses turmeric in combination with black pepper at a ratio of 16:1. That increase absorption by a whopping 2000%3
Support All Three Doshas: Boost Microbiome + Gut Health
Stress damages the health of the intestinal mucosa—this is where our microbes either live and die.13 In fact, in one study, a group of subjects with intestinal discomfort and bloating had five times less bifidobacteria (a well-known beneficial bacteria) than the control group.14
In another study, stress was found to damage the intestinal mucosa and gut microbiology in such a major way that it caused an increase in gut permeability, allowing toxins and pathogens to enter directly into the bloodstream.15
A probiotic regimen would introduce colonizing microbes into the gut and digestive tract that support microbial diversity and ultimately promote digestive self-sufficiency. In an effort to accomplish this, I suggest a four-step comprehensive plan for perfecting your gut health:
Step 1: Slippery Elm Prebiotic: Supports the intestinal mucus membranes by introducing prebiotic soluble fiber. This creates the best possible environment for healthy microbes to thrive.
Step 2: Gut Revival: Introduces probiotics that will remove undesirable, non-functional microbes and simultaneously introduce new, beneficial, permanent residents (called colonizing probiotics) to proliferate.
Step 3: Flora Restore Max: After the gut is primed, boost colonizing microbes to achieve thriving microbial diversity. Eat small amounts of fermented foods and practice seasonal eating.
To accomplish this, I suggest using a specific progression of synergistic prebiotic and probiotic products, formulated to efficiently create a healthy microbiome.
Learn To Meditate to Handle Stress
Try my One-Minute Meditation. Repeat 5-10 times a day for best results.