The combination of polyphenol-rich digestive herbs and good gut bacteria could help you live a longer, healthier life.
Probiotics + Triphala for a Longer Life
McGill University biomedical engineering researcher Susan Westfall has a penchant for studying Ayurvedic herbs—which makes her work particularly interesting to me. One of her more recent studies, published in the prestigious journal Nature, was on extending the lifespan of fruit flies, which carry 70% of the same genetic material as humans.
The Role of the Microbiome in Longevity
The results suggest that longevity can be extended by manipulating the architecture of the gut’s microbiome. In Ayurveda, the gut is considered the seat of the nervous system and is now called the second brain in Western medicine.2
The gut microbiome, which has 10 times more microorganisms that the rest of the body put together, is extremely complex. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms help the body break down indigestible fiber, manufacture vitamins and mineral, drive energy, support healthy bowel function, and regulate immunity while protecting the gut from inflammation and oxidative stress.
Studies of centenarians—folks who live over 100 years–have shown that their gut microbiome is quite different than the elderly without the good fortune of longevity. A microbiome assay can predict levels of frailty, predisposition to health concerns, and rates of aging with growing levels of accuracy.1
In Westfall’s study, fruit flies were fed either triphala, a probiotic, or a combination of the two, or were in a control group. While the triphala and probiotic groups saw significant changes in longevity and other health measures, it was the combination of the two that had the greatest impact.1
The study also demonstrated that the triphala-probiotic combination resulted in healthier levels of triglycerides, blood sugar control, inflammation, and lipid oxidation. This study supports the theory that health and longevity have intertwined outcomes. Interventions that can restore health are linked to longevity, and vice-versa.1
Triphala as a Prebiotic
In this study triphala was used as prebiotic because of it’s rich polyphenol contact. Trphala is derived from three polyphenol-rich fruits, Emblica officinalis (Amalaki), Terminalia bellerica (Bibhitaki), and Terminalia chebula (Haritaki). Put together they make up the cornerstone of gastrointestinal health and rejuvenation in Ayurveda.3
- Amalaki supports the health of the intestinal skin and villi.
- Haritaki tones and supports the health the intestinal muscular wall.
- Bibhitaki supports the removal of excess mucus and toxins from the wall of the gut.
The polyphenols in triphala’s three fruits have been studied to elicit a positive effect on the human microbiome. Triphala promoted the healthy proliferation of beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus while inhibiting the growth of undesirable gut micro-organisms. These microbial changes has been shown to support the generation of a variety of anti-inflammatory compounds in the gut.3 Mice studies on lactobacillus have been shown to support age related intestinal irritation, memory and longevity and bifidobacteria lactis have been found to support a health inflammation response and longevity.
One of the major polyphenols in triphala is chebulinic acid which has been shown to be transformed by the human gut bacteria into compound such as urolithins which are responsible for a healthy response to oxidative stress. It was because of the studies that demonstrated such powerful and consistent changes in the gut microbiome from triphala that researchers decided to study triphala in combination with a probiotic.3
In numerous studies, triphala has been shown to elicit the following health benefits:
- Healthy weight management.3,5,9
- Positive changes in gut microbiome and gut function.3,8
- Longevity agent: Increases collagen and elastin, cellular antioxidants and supports health skin pigmentation.3
- Increases antioxidant enzymes, glutathione, catalase and super oxide dismutase supporting healthy liver and circulating fatty acids.3
- Supports a healthy inflammation response.3
- Supports healthy eye health and oral hygiene.3
- Supports healthy cell replication.3
- Supports cellular protection from toxicity and radiation.3
- Supports healthy blood sugar.3
- Supports cardiovascular health.3,9
- Supports healthy cholesterol levels.3
- Adaptogenic support for stress.3
- Supports a healthy epithelial lining (inner skin) of the digestive tract.3,6,7,8
- Supports a healthy immune response as an immunomodulator.6,7
Get the Right Probiotic
There are two basic types of probiotics. Transient probiotics must be taken regularly as they do not adhere to the intestinal wall and become permanent residents. Colonizing probiotics have been studied to adhere to the intestinal lining and increase the natural proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
Based on the science, taking any reputable probiotic with triphala will deliver enhanced benefits than consuming either triphala or a probiotic alone. At LifeSpa, I only carry colonizing probiotics so not to create a dependency or life-long probiotic use.4
Learn More About LifeSpa’s Flora Restore–a colonizing, non-habit forming probiotic.