No Guts no Glory! : The word “guts” has two meanings The more common way in which the word is used, guts means courage . Gut actually is short form for gastrointestinal tract, the long digestive tube, about 25-30 feet long, that is about five times our height It starts at the mouth and ends at anus. Usually there is wisdom hidden in idioms; “No guts, no Glory” seems to indicate that our courage emanates from our guts, just as thinking and memory originates from our brain. Does a strong willed person’s self belief ,courage, ability to cope with stress ,come from gut part of the body or brain? Can one part of body, gut with its bacterial colony , impose its will on our brain ? Who hasn’t experienced butterflies in gut, or urge to pass urine or experience bowel movement ,when faced with a challenging situation ? In the present article, the word gut is used to mean specifically the small intestine, the major portion of the gastrointestinal tract.
|If we think of our “self” as a tree, then our roots run deep in the gut with brain as a pinnacle. The umbilical chord that feeds us while in mother’s womb was also rooted in the navel , center of the gut As infants, we had a close connection between our gut and brain, which got fainter as we grew older. Just as a tree that has strong roots can face stormy winds, strong guts prepare us to face challenges in life. The guts environment is defined by gut bacteria that reside in its mucous membrane.|
Since childhood, I inherited a rather delicate gut My mother used to tell me about bouts of dysentery, I had suffered during infancy. May be my indigestion during those times had something to do with the factory produced baby food, ( ie powder milk) that was heavily marketed by MNCs during those times as an alternative to breast milk.
Travelling in interiors of India : After graduation, my first job, as sales engineer, meant I extensively toured the interiors of Western India. I was drinking water, from different regions of western India like MP, Gujarat, rural Maharashtra Those times were before bottled water was successfully marketed in India by Bisleri. Until then, water was supposed to be a free commodity that has become now a resource in India . No one imagined some day Indian consumer could be persuaded to buy filtered water almost at 50% of price of milk
Travails of travelling A Marathi proverb says that “ One who drinks water from twelve different places becomes a worldly wise man”! It means that travelling makes one worldly wise. I am not sure my travel made me wise but soon travails of my gut caught up with me, due to combination of many factors. I enjoyed my tours to hinder lands of India , tasting diverse cuisines from different parts of India, that too at company expense! Any big sales win used to be celebrated with my colleagues, over beer or such alcoholic drinks With such abuse, my delicate gut progressively became worse .I would at times, throw up after our drinking parties. I also frequently suffered bouts of dysentery, colic pains . The stool test, barium meal , etc revealed presence of cysts of Giardia lamblia for causing amoebic dysentery. I was prescribed a course of antibiotics to get rid of amoeba from intestine. The antibiotics did not give much relief. In any case, as a policy, I have always avoided allopathic medicines, as far as possible , unless in a life and death situation. This is due to an intrinsic belief that allopathic medicines treat only the symptoms of an ailment In addition one suffers side effects of medicines Modern medicine does not go to the root cause with a holistic view unlike ancient therapies Ayurveda. This was the reason , I did not opt for MBBS (medical college ) admission even though I was eligible , after passing XII science I chose to be an engineer without knowing much about engineering ! (That’s another story !!)
Holy grail of alternate medicine therapies To avoid outside food, I considered changing my job from sales to a desk job, that did not require any travelling. I began practicing Yoga Asanas. I also explored Ayurvedic OTC (over the counter ) medications like Kutajarishtha with no results One of the Ayurvedic doctors from Nasik, I consulted, advised me to enhance the fire element (ie acid) in my gastric juices, to address problems of amoebic dysentery. The Ayurvedic therapy, Yoga Asanas went in vain, without any permanent relief from colic pains.
Lifelong pursuit in holistic wellness: They say, “You have to lose something, as important as personal health, to value its importance.Even though I did not choose to be a medical doctor by education, my frail personal health was behind my quest for alternate wellness therapies I decided to explore a longer, holistic route to repair my health problems. Homeopathy, Magnetic water therapy, Acupressure therapies were tried, one by one and discarded as mere placebos, with no tangible physical relief. Then I was introduced to Pranayama, a Yogic breathing practice, as a panacea for all health problems Swami Poornanandaji, who taught Mudra Pranayama,, once philosophized that spiritual people usually have delicate tummies. Even though Pranayama gave mental peace, stress relief, colic pains had not left me As a result of practice of Pranayama, I voluntarily became teetotaler As a result of Pranayama practices, I did derive unexpected rewards on spiritual front However my stomach had yet not settled down to Nirvana, the enduring and everlasting peace.
Searching for panacea : Then by sheer coincidence, I met Shri Balakrishna Nalawade, proponent of biofeedback , a nature cure therapy (Fig 2) As a result of biofeedback ,I went through process of catharsis, whereby the toxins accumulated in digestive system got eliminated Slowly and surely my gut ecosystem settled down to a peaceful coexistence with gut parasites that antibiotics wanted to banish! Later Dr B V Khare, Urologist and nature cure practitioner gave scientific basis to the biofeedback nature cure therapy. Dr B V Khare, termed all bakery products (cakes, biscuits, pastries, pizza) as bekar (means useless) products to be avoided at all times. He recommended eating whole grains with sprouts, seasonal fruits, to get better results from biofeedback nature cure. He advised that Moong dal (Fig 3) is easily digestible protein and sprouts add to its vitamin content. I benefited from nature cure therapy which complimented practice of Yoga, Pranayama.
Positive feedback goes to restore system stability
Suffering deleterious side effects of antibiotics treatment : This fairy tale however did not end without a twist in the script ! When all seemed well, one fine day I contracted Typhoid, called as enteric fever by medicos. The doctor prescribed particularly strong dose of antibiotics treatment . He also forgot to prescribe vitamin supplements with antibiotics I dutifully took the full course of antibiotics , almost on empty stomach as I had lost appetite due to illness, without any vitamin supplements. This seemed to create havoc in my entire system, particularly as my system was not used to any allopathic medicines. I thought that every 500 mg antibiotic pill that I gulped, went down like a nuclear bomb through my virgin gut, destroying the intestinal flora I completed the treatment. Soon after it ended , I simply went into delirium, euphemism for going crazy ! I had lost my mental balance. I was diagnosed as suffering from mental disorder, that affects dopamine neurotransmitters in brain . As per Hindi movie, Munnabhai sequel, Lage Raho Munnabbhai, there was a chemical locha ( imbalance ) in my brain ! After consulting a psychiatrist, and two month long treatment, I thankfully recovered without much long term damage to my health and psyche. Even though no doctor who treated told me about what could have caused this, I intuitively believed that the antibiotics would have caused havoc with my mental balance. There may not be previous records that interlinked mental disorder to antibiotics treatment .
Picking up the pieces: No other illness shakes one’s confidence and self belief like mental illness. As per Osho, we perceive our mind closer to self identity than our body. Hence losing mind, seems unacceptable to one’s ego. I come out of episode of mental illness with a stronger self belief that I am the sole maker of my health (or disease) destiny. I resolved to get back my total health I continued practicing Pranayama . biofeedback nature cure , Hapkido, a Korean martial arts to restore health .
Food as medicine : I started reading on nutrition , concluding that food .itself is a medicine, if we remove mental blocks about it. In childhood we were asked to chant one shloka,before eating food It says that food is not to be viewed as filling up tummy but to propitiate the fire in the belly, as a sacred duty. (उदरभरण नोहे जाणिजे यज्ञकर्म )(Udar Bharan Nohe, Janije Yajna Karma) I always believed that food is meant to be enjoyed unlike popping pills, vitamin or hormonal supplements, injections All supplements tend to supply more than necessary quantity of desired nutrient, causing an imbalance and other problems We must choose natural food that we can learn to relish, in order to digest and assimilate nutrients .
|सति गदार्तस्य किमौषधिनिषेवणैः , पथ्येsसति गदार्तस्य किमौषधिनिषेवणैः)(Sati Gadartaya Kimaushadhi Nishewanai, Pathye sati Gadartasya Kimoushadhi Nishewanai)One Sanskrit proverb says that when patients’ diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; When patient’s diet is right, medicine is not needed!|
You are what you eat; Discarding long held choices on food I came across books by Dr Malati Karwarkar , (Doctor , What I should eat) which helped me to understand about basic nutrition. I disassociated my spiritual beliefs from my choices about food I continued to update and discard long held beliefs when presented with new facts For example, when I discovered blood thinners like garlick, onions for their sulfur compounds are great for health, I included them as part of my daily diet Onions, and garlic have been condemned by many Yoga practitioners as Tamasi (making one lazy and indolent )food.There after I bid good buy to many self imposed restrictions on non vegetarian food like eggs, fish, meat . I cultivated a taste for sea fish, eggs, bits of chicken, not only for Omega 3 and Omega 6 fat oils ,but also for Vitamin B-12. Lack of B-12 vitamin can cause mental illness and depression. I also included seasonal fruits, oil seeds, dry fruits like Almonds, walnuts, sprouts of Moong and dollops of ghee in my diet.
|Three Principles on food as per Ayurveda ..हित भुक (Heet Bhuk) (Always choose to eat what is good for you) , ऋत् भुक (Rut Bhuk)(Eat as per season) , मित भुक (Meet Bhuk)(Calorie Restricted diet ).|
Combination therapy :Nutrition, Biofeedback, Yoga : In addition to biofeedback, following better nutrition , Yoga/Pranayama gave me much needed relief from colic pains. I concluded any good therapy must use the trinity, Food/nutrition, Yoga/Exercise and biofeedback/nature cure for comprehensive and holistic cure to restore natural health, that is everyone’s right .
Journey towards a positive state of health : I no longer have any rumbling issues with my digestive system In fact I have never been sick since a long time I do not need to take any medications including vitamin supplements I have coped successfully with stress of working in IT industry . I particularly practice the Yoga-Asanas that work on digestive system like Mayurasana Dhanurasana, Bhujangasana, Padma-Mayurasana(See Fig 4 note 1) Now it seems that modern medicine is ready to accept the holistic truths about our miraculous body. Dr Deepak Chopra, the wellness Guru, is leading us to unknown realms of life. Deepak Chopra has postulated that gut bacteria listen to and are affected by our thoughts. Dr Enders , author of book titled Gut, goes one step more to say that gut bacteria and brain communicate in a bidirectional way.Gut bacteria seem to be causing of our moods , emotions, pain and general feeling of well being . There is deep correlation connection between enteric nervous system and the central nervous system. The gut bacteria influence state of brain in many ways. The old puzzle of rumble in stomach and mental imbalance was solved !
All illnesses including the mental illness, originate in gut : As per Ms Giulia Enders , author of book titled Gut, the inside story, gut is in second in importance to the brain in our miraculous body . Gut bacteria along with brain create our sense of “self” The book is a must read for all psychiatrists or anyone who has an abiding interest in personal health and wellness .After reading the book, I realized that I was intuitively following many good practices Reading the book only confirmed many of my intuitive choices . Following is summary of the exerts from the book, Guts, the inside story by Giulia Enders
|Vegas nerve is a direct bidirectional nerve link between our brain and gut . The gut communicates with brain about state of nation by this nerve! (Fig 5) The brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help in shaping the gut’s microbial makeup, Gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters like serotonin that influence the brain. The gut-brain interactions occur in various ways: microbial compounds communicate via the vagus nerve, and with the immune system, which maintains its own communication with the brain.(Fig 7A, 7B, 8) Our gut influences brain in myriad ways.. Much of our health, mental attitude is determined by the microbes in gut including Allergies, intolerances and acid reflux. Seretonin, the happiness hormone makes us feel sated, feel good mood. More than 95% of serotonin hormone is manufactured in cells of gut. Most psychiatric drugs affect both brain and gut in same way.|
- Stomach’s location is much higher than where we assume :When we say stomach, we usually point to gut, ie the lower portion of abdomen. Our stomach is actually located much higher than what we imagine
|As you can observe from fig.6, stomach begins just below the left nipple and ends below bottom of the rib cage on the right Many a times we say there is pain in stomach, the problem most likely, be in the lower part ie gut or the intestines(fig 7)|
- Doorkeepers on both ends of stomach: There are doorkeepers(valves) on both ends of stomach. If the upper valve has issues, we get heart burn due to acid reflux The lower valve gives free passage to water and liquid drinks to gut. Foods like carbohydrates(cakes, pasta, pizza, bread, rice) are not held for long They quickly go to the gut and raise blood sugar giving sugar spike. Food that contains protein or fats are processed in stomach for longer time. We know from our experience that if we eat only refined carbohydrates (like rice flakes, rice products, bakery products ) we get hungry faster than if we eat same thing with an egg and /or adding butter or ghee
- Biome , the genetic material of gut microbes Biome, genetic material of microbes and our genes is our true social network : There is a word in Marathi, पिण्ड ( Pind), which means biome, the large super set of our genome along with microbes we inherit this from our ancestors The biome is the result of eating habits, lifestyle formed over millions of years There is one Sanskrit saying पिण्डे पिण्डे मतिर्भिनः )Pinde pinde matirbhinnah ) means the typical way of thinking that we inherit (ie mind) is different as per each type of biome There is an adage, पिंडी ते ब्रह्मांडी – (Pindi te Bramhanadi) meaning the biome contains everything that is there in universe ) This microbiome is altered by choices of dietary habits, lifestyle. Thus biome is a much wider term than our genes, for it includes genome of bacteria that have been living us Each one of has a unique micro biome fingerprint. Similarly different communities have certain types of biome.
- Microbes outnumber our genome : As per Deepak Chopra, the genetic material of microbes in gut outnumber our genetic material by 120 times . Gut flora (gut microbiota) is a complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects. While some of our gut bacteria are common among all people, each one has own unique gut microbiome like finger print Gut bacteria help us digest certain foods that cannot be digested in the stomach Bacteria produce vital vitamins, aid in bone density, building a strong immune system and a healthy nervous system It helps to strengthen our immune system and interacts with many nerve cells and hormone-producing cells in the intestinal system. It aids in the production of certain vitamins such as B , H and K. Having healthy bacteria in our gut is vitally important for proper functioning of the body. Gut’s microbiome affects weight control, sensitivity to allergies, cholesterol, risk for diabetes, hormonal issues and cardiovascular health. The bacteria also impact body fat, help maintain good cholesterol levels, mental health as well as ability to cope up stress and fight diseases.
- Happiness hormone originates in gut: Specific gut microbes are involved in the production of neurotransmitters–the chemicals your brain and nervous system use to communicate with the rest of your body, but also to regulate mood and behavior The gut nervous system (enteric nervous system) works independently of brain . Seretonin , the hormone known as a mood elevator, is responsible for making us feel sated and pleasant, in good mood. More than 95% of serotonin , the happiness hormone, is manufactured in cell of gut. Serotonin can affect our mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function. Unhappy gut can be the cause of an unhappy mind ! If your gut has better stock of bacteria producing vitamin B12 , you will have better nerves, ability to withstand pressure, stressful situations
|Our real social network : Taken together, our gut bacteria have 150 times more genes than a human being. This massive collection of genes is called a biome. Gut microbes may have their own evolutionary reasons for communicating with the brain.. The gut metagenome is the aggregate of all the genomes of gut microbiota. The gut is one niche where more than 99% of human microbiota inhabit.|
- Microbiome is the root cause of mental state : Disruptions of the microbiome induced anxiety, depression and even autism in mice. In some cases, scientists could restore normal behavior by treating their test subjects with certain strains of benign bacteria. It seems dietary treatments could be used as either adjunct or sole therapy for mood disorders The scientists also found intestinal microbes could influence stress responses in the brain, with possibility of using probiotic treatments to affect brain function in beneficial ways
- Forced Swim test on mice reveals that our character influenced by gut bacteria In forced swim test, a mouse is placed in a deep container forcing it to swim. How long will it keep swimming till it finds ground ? This depends upon character of mouse .Mice with depressive tendencies simply freeze , give up too soon. When such timid mice were fed a strain of bacteria, swapped from brave mice. they kept swimming for longer, performed better in memory , fewer stress hormones. Scientists found that disruptions of the microbiome induced behavior like anxiety, depression and even autism. In some cases, scientists could restore normal behavior by treating their test subjects with certain strains of benign bacteria.
- Microbiome influences mental illnesses. People who suffer from intestinal problems like IBS(irritable bowel syndrome ) often have co-occurring psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression.
- Natural is priceless : Natural delivery, unlike C section, bestows microbes mother’s immune system to the baby Also breast feeding is the best gift infant can get for growing healthy gut bacteria.
- Obsessive cleanliness does more harm than good : As per Dr Enders, cleanliness is mostly in head! Fear driven hygiene, obsessive cleaning ( example use of anti bacterial soaps, alcohol based cleaning solutions, bathroom cleaners, etc ) are driven by advertisements on TV, which work on making you “fear” the microbes. Such obsessive cleaning causes allergies and autoimmune disorders Luckily more than 95% of bacteria are harmless to humans Even few bad ones are good when in small numbers Bad bacteria act like vaccination for priming and training our immune system Remember cleanliness is not annihilation ( ie absence) of all bacteria As per Dr Enders, cleanliness is a balance of good bacteria and few bad ones.
- Pure , distilled water is not healthy: Distilled water is pure and cleanest However by a counter intuitive logic, drinking such water does not help gut bacteria to make vitamins like B-12. So let’s get over our obsession with bottled water and start drinking water directly from tap!
- Saliva , urine are nothing but filtered blood. Saliva and urine are nothing but filtered blood Hence both saliva and urine retain the healing, pain killing and disinfecting properties of blood. These are great chemicals secreted by body, not toxic products.
|The appendix, (Fig 9) sitting at beginning of large intestine, is made from similar material like tonsils Appendix is not a useless. It kills bad bacteria and is store house of good , helpful bacteria , which are used to populate large intestine after an attack of diarrhea Appendix, like tonsils, consists almost entirely of immune cell.|
- Visual stool test : My father often used to quote Saint Vinoba Bhave, प्रभाते मल दर्शनं Prabhate Mal Darshnam (meaning among first things in morning, you get to see is your stools !) As per Dr. Enders, there are seven types of stools, based on appearance, color, etc Stools are one of the daily indicators of state of your inner health . Whenever I was ill, my father used to ask me somewhat embarrassing questions about appearance of my stools. If stools were dried, small stone like in appearance, it pointed to constipation and dehydration, as per him He was right . We in India give high importance to having a good bowel movement every day, joking that entire days’ mood and happiness depends on this single activity to be done in morning.
- What’s good food for developing good gut bacteria? : Gut bacteria love foods that have fiber(both soluble and not soluble ) High fibre food , whole grains, unpolished rice, etc provides roughage for bacteria. This is also beneficial for us, as it helps body eliminate body toxins along with undigested fiber Fast food like pizza, burgers and bakery products are not good for developing good gut bacteria Probiotic food like curds, buttermilk, is good for gut flora.
- Blood group development happens due to gut bacteria : Theoretically new born infants have no blood group . Interactions between baby’s gut flora and immune system , as baby grows, results into development of different blood groups. Blood groups can be termed as the expressions of the gut bacteria in circulatory system.
- Leaky gut, IBS, and anxiety : The majority of gut bacteria reside in the mucous membrane that lines the gut. They create a permeable blood barrier , preventing any bad bacteria from entering blood stream. In leaky gut, the mucous membrane becomes thin or has some cracks through which bacteria enter blood stream. This invokes response from body’s immune system At times an overdriven immune system can mistake body’s own cells as foreign bodies. In IBS(irritable bowel syndrome), unpleasant, bloated feeling persists in stomach , coupled with anxiety , depressive disorders. Bad gut flora is said to be causing such symptoms, resulting in lowering of threshold between gut and brain, giving rise to uneasy feelings
- An overactive immune system triggers inflammations. The reason for high activism by immune cells may be in unhappy gur bacteria. The increasing incidence of auto immune disorders have origin in mucous membrane that lines guts , with protective layers of gut bacteria. In such cases, due to leakages from the membrane, body’s immune cells cannot differentiate between what is belonging to body’s own cells and an external thing like bacteria in blood stream.
- Antidepressant drugs treat both the enteric and other brain: One of side effects of antidepressant medicines is feeling of nausea, diarrhea followed by constipation. This is due to fact that gut brain(enteric brain) has same receptors like brain. These medicines have side effects on gut bacteria An unhappy gut may be cause of unhappy brain. New treatment possibilities for psychiatric illness could treat gut rather than the brain.
- Human brain’s main function is “Not” thinking ! The main function of human brain , as per Dr Enders , is not to think nor to acquire knowledge but to facilitate body movements! Dr Enders gives example of a species of a fish that literally switches off brain after reaching its destination goal! There are human examples like this in our world in academic world, as per Dr Enders!
- Alcohol messes up with gut bacteria . Alcoholic drinks harm good gut bacteria and results in breeding bad ones Therefore avoiding alcohol is recommended for developing good gut flora .
- Cholesterol is not all bad : Just as too much cholesterol is bad, too little can be worse for body, causing memory problems, depression and aggressive behavior. Fat sheaths nerve fibres, improved memory , makes one intelligent Fat also lubricates the mucous membrane of gut where microbes reside. No wonder, Indian processed milk fat(Ghee) is termed as the super food by Ayurveda.
- Stress is unhygienic Mental stress produces butterflies in stomach, by altering gut atmosphere Stress helps bad bacteria to survive in gut, giving rise to host of problems like diabetes, IBS, etc
- Drinking milk is not a healthy choice for adults : In 75% of worlds’ population, gene for digesting lactose is switched off by adulthood. In spite of this, it is possible to digest milk in small quantities. Curds is predigested milk It is an excellent probiotic As microbes have already acted on lactose turning it into lactic acid, it can be easily digested .
- What makes us fat? : Gut bacteria have a great role for weight gain. Obese people are found to have less diversity in gut flora. Certain group of bacteria that metabolize carbohydrates prevail. Gut bacteria are responsible for overall metabolism, likely cause not only obesity but hormone imbalances, Vitamin deficiencies (B12, D) as well.
- What makes up our character ? From experiments on mice , one can say that the nature of gut bacteria influences character of mice. If human beings too nurture good gut bacteria by practicing better nutrition, lessening use of antibiotics, then one can become healthy, stress free.
- Squatting is much natural and healthier way for passing stools : Indians of my father’s generation are used to squat while passing stools, like majority of Asians. Now it seems more civilized to have western type of commode People of my father’s generation faced difficulties, passing stools in a western toilet seat as you have to sit straight . Dr Enders, quoting many experiments concludes that squatting leads to easier and faster evacuation of feaces Squatting lessens chances of developing piles (hemorrhoids) . We dismissed my father for being old fashioned but my father was right ! It has been found that hemorrhoids, constipation are móre common in countries where people sit on commode , chair like structure to pass stools This is due to too much pressure being exerted on the end of gut.
- Avoid poultry fed with antibiotics In India, poultry industry uses antibiotics to help poultry gain weight in a short time. Such antibiotics find way into human body and give rise to drug resistance bacteria . It is better to pay more for organic (desi) variety of poultry than broiler one . Also unnecessary use of antibiotics must be avoided as it gives rise to drug resistant bacteria.
- Medicines, any illness takes huge toll on gut flora : A medicine is considered ineffective if it does not have side effects ! As per Dr Malati Karvarkar, renowned dietitian and nutritionist, our body loses lot of vitamins, minerals when we take any medicines for illnesses such as common fever, flue, malaria, hypertension, asthma, etc. Patients needs to have special diet to compensate for such loss of nutrients. The side effects of medicines cause severe nutritional deficiency caused due to loss of intestinal flora Rarely doctors fully brief patients on ways to compensate such loss of intestinal flora through nutrition, probiotic doses or vitamin pills
- Futility of taking a hostile approach to bacteria : Medical science is realizing futility of taking a hostile approach to germs through antibiotics Medical science seems to have come full circle. Treatments like FMT(Fecal Microbial Treatment) would have been termed outlandish, just few years ago. (FMT involves transfer of healthy persons’ stools to sick person’s gut by enema or orally by capsule.) FMT restores gut flora, harmed due to use of antibiotics. Few years ago, such practices would have been dismissed as pseudoscience. As per Dr. Deepak Chopra, the wellness Guru, boundaries between what is science and pseudoscience are always changing. as we get deeper understanding about inseparability of body and mind. The gut microbiome, can prevent chronic inflammation and associated brain activity. Alternatively, brain problems can potentially be caused by not taking care of the health of your microbiome. As per Yoga, any physical disease first starts in mind (Manomaya kosha) and then manifests in body (Annamay kosha) This theory is now accepted by medical world as cause of most disease is termed as psychosomatic(ie originating in mind, later manifesting in physical body)
Live and Let Live : Symbiotic way of living with one and all is the hallmark of mother nature . The father of modern medicine Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the Gut” The cause of all diseases is due to accumulated excretory matter which later becomes toxic says Ayurveada (सर्वेषामेव रोगणाम निदानम कुपिता मलाः ) (sarveshanam Roganam Nidanam kupita malah) meaning the root cause of all diseases is accumulated waste matter Modern medicine believes in fighting diseases with antibiotics (literally meaning anti-life) that adversely affect gut flora. Also overuse of antibiotics is giving rise to multi drug resistant strains of bacteria Intuitively we understand that if we create good conditions in gut , good bacteria will prevail and if we create bad conditions, bad bacteria will come up . Both good and bad bacteria (ie health and disease) exist simultaneously within us As Gautama Buddha said, we are creating our health or disease destiny through intuitive or informed choices, we are making each moment. Patanjali Yoga Sutra says, हेंयम दुखः अनुगतं (Heyam Dukhanugatam ) means that One can avoid coming grief , diseases by taking proactive measures) .
To fix my delicate gut, I learned Mudra Pranayama, Yoga, gave up alcohol, improved nutrition, avoided wrong food choices; I started practicing biofeedback nature cure since youth. Existence showed me that it is possible to repair, restore gut. Thanks to all this today I am in better health than in my youth ! My quest to fix my gut led me to holy grail of wellness , beyond factory manufactured allopathy medicines, vitamin pills and supplements. Now my gut is gloriously fixed and I am reaping benefits of good health, as described by this Sanskrit shloka that defines good health.
|सम दोषा सम आग्निश्च सम धातु मला क्रिया ,प्रसन्न आत्मेन मनाः इंद्रीय स्वस्थ इति भि धियाते
sama dosha sama agnishcha samadhatu mala kriyaaha,|Prasanna atma mana indriyaha swastha iti abhidheeyate ||Adequate digestive fire (acid) , the three dosha,(Vaat, Pitta and Kapha) and the seven elements in your body namely Ras(chyme), Rakta(blood), Mansa(Muscle), Meda(Fat), Asthi(Bones), Majja(Nerve fibres), Shukra(reproductive semen/egg) are in orderly balance, You have also good ablutions /excretion, All sensory organs, including mind , soul are in a happy state
|I have made peace with all bacteria in my gut I know that if I create better conditions , the good bacteria will thrive and protect me without over reacting through overreaching immune system By giving me delicate tummy in my early youth, existence did me great favor, as I ended up knowing Yoga, Pranayama and nature cure techniques ! Spiritual folks with delicate tummy, are indeed blessed ones for they explore hidden truths and unknown areas of conscientiousness|
|सर्वे सुखिनः संतू , सर्वे संतू निरामयाः सर्वे भद्रानी पश्यन्तु ,माँ निश्चित दुःखं य्याप नु यात
(sarve sukhinah santu,sarve santu niramaya,sarve bhadrani pashyantu,ma nishchit dukham vyap nu yat)
Let everyone be happy and healthy Let everyone make good choices. Let no one undergo painful consequences of wrong choices
I want to end with a prayer from Upanishad for everyone’s health which is birth right, granted to us by mother nature , if we understand and follow laws of natural world.
, Let all be happy,
Notes. 1. Women are advised against practicing certain Asanas like MayurAsana, Padma Mayurasana which put undue pressure on uterus
- Excerpted with permission from Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ by Giulia Enders, Speaking Tiger.