Michelle's Health Revolution Blog
The Integration of All Things Healing = Ayurveda
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Ayurveda FAQ: Regarding Probiotics
Q: Why do you often recommend that people stop their use of probiotic supplements? What is the Ayurvedic perspective on probiotics?
A: When I see a patient in my office who has been taking probiotics for more than a month, that is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Unless that patient is on long-term antibiotic therapy under physician supervision, their physician is recommending that they take probiotics daily, or some other such health condition exists, I will often recommend that the patient discontinue probiotic use. The reason for this recommendation is that we need to see if the digestive system can function properly without the external probiotic input.
Your body should be able to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract without the input of probiotic supplements. Dietary sources of probiotics should be sufficient, and these should be eaten in moderation. I have noticed that Americans tend to hear that something is good for them and then proceed to eat it in excessive amounts. If your body is not able to maintain a healthy bacterial balance without the continual input of probiotic supplements, that is a sign that there is a serious underlying issue in the digestive system that needs to be addressed. If your body cannot digest normally without you taking probiotics, it is important to address the underlying cause of poor digestion, rather than putting a band-aid on it with supplements. Long-term use of probiotics supplements does not fix the problem, it masks the symptoms of underlying digestive illnesses.
Some signs of poor digestion include: depression; anxiety; acne; heartburn; constipation; loose stools; stools that are yellowish, orange-colored, or greenish; belching; passing gas; bloating; recurrent yeast infections; and allergies.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the human body in its natural healthy state is capable of performing all necessary functions without the long-term use of supplements. This is why Ayurvedic Practitioners use herbal medicines as a temporary input while we address underlying causes of illness by guiding our patients to implement dosha-appropriate diet and lifestyle practices. In the case of probiotics, an Ayurvedic Practitioner may recommend them as one aspect of a complete process to reset digestive function.
The Ayurvedic digestive reset protocol involves evaluation of you as an individual to determine what specific issues exist in the digestive system. We will often recommend that you undergo the Ayurvedic Detoxificaton process is called "panchakarma", which means "five actions". Read more about panchakarma here.
These five actions have been clinically proven to eliminate toxins from the body. The panchakarma process eliminates all excess doshas from the body, restoring healthy digestion. Without addressing underlying causes of the need for probiotic use, treatment is incomplete.
I hope this helps!