The Importance of Gut Health
and How Neachai Ayurvedic Medicine Can Help
By: Theresa Gilligan
In Ayurvedic medicine, wellness starts with gut health. It is considered to be the “golden egg” of wellness. The combination of treating the gut, as well as the mind, is a symbiotic relationship and has been at the forefront of treatment protocols in Ayurvedic medicine since its inception 6000 years ago. Interestingly, this relationship has only recently been discovered over the last decade in modern medicine. After significant research had been conducted, modern medicine was finally able to back up what Ayurvedic Doctors and Surgeons have been practicing for years.
So, what does that really mean? It means that virtually ALL dis-ease originates with digestive dysfunction. In Ayurveda, the term Ama, is used to describe the toxic remnants of undigested food. This undigested food is the root cause of illness and dosha imbalance (Vata, Pitta, Kapha).
Gross. What is even worse is how the “Ama” effects gut permeability. Undigested food becomes toxic particles that break down the porous lining of the gut and then filter into the bloodstream. This dis-ease is called “leaky gut” (no real scientific phenom there). The result of this is adrenal fatigue, food allergies, thyroiditis, arthritis, skin conditions, depression and anxiety and 99.9% of AUTO IMMUNE DISORDERS! Now, I am explaining this in ‘human’ terms to demonstrate the relative connection, but these conditions also plague your animals in the exact same manor. Let's back up to a VERY simple explanation of the biology of the gut.
Did you know 80% of your immune cells are produced in your gut?
This means your protection against infectious diseases, toxins, bad bacteria and all pathogens are in your gut! So, when your horse continuously consumes NSAIDS (Previcox, Banamine, Bute etc.) the gut is firing out T-cells and B-cells to protect the mucosal lining and intestinal walls of the stomach. The longer your horse stays on antibiotics and consumes NSAIDS, the more the pathogens kill off the important army of lymphocyte cells in the gut. Leaving the gut wide open for the damaging effects they cause; ulcers, bleeding, respiratory related issues, endotoxemia, behavioural issues etc.
I am definitely NOT saying you shouldn’t use them, however I am saying you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS need to support the gut while administering these medicines. My recommendation for a supplement to feed while administering these medicines to your horse is Dileacha.
Please keep in mind this does not include PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) like Omeprazole as PPI’s are only helpful in the case of excess gastric acid production and are actually harmful to the protection of the mucosal lining.
Moreover, unless weaned very slowly off them, they create an adverse effect when stopped and may trigger a dependency.
Next Up On ‘Why The Gut Is So Amazing’: The Digestive System!
The digestive system actually produces over 30 neurotransmitters and is responsible for 90% of the serotonin production in the entire body! Crazy, right? You know the feeling when you are nervous and you feel sick to your stomach? You get that feeling because your digestive system communicates to your body through the vagus nerve. Those neurotransmitters are talking to the rest of your body, creating that sick feeling when you are stressed or nervous.
The Central Nervous System is comprised of Sympathetic (fight or flight), Parasympathetic (rest and digest) and Enteric Nervous systems (gut-brain axis). So, how you feel is directly connected to what you eat and subsequently what is happening in your gut.
Feeding your horses good quality hay, drug-free commercial feeds, limit commercial supplements and use natural alternatives for dewormers and NSAIDS are all good ways to reduce the toxicity in your horses' gut. By doing so, you are creating a powerhouse immune response to pathogens and the ability to fight off infections. Moreover, you are supporting a healthy mind, reducing anxiety and behavioural issues and allowing your equine partner to thrive in a learning environment. Whether you are showing, riding for pleasure or have horses as pets, improving their gut health is important to their overall wellbeing.
If you are already my client, you have heard me preach the need to support both systems simultaneously. The two products we at Neachai Equine Ayurveda have created to support them are Sympath-R for Mares and Geldings and Dileacha, they both come respective to your horses dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha).
If you are already feeding a probiotic, that is great! However, you may need to shelf it temporarily until you have dealt with the issue at hand. Probiotics help repopulate a healthy gut, they can’t and don’t fight off the abundance of bad bacteria. It's like throwing a fish into a highly toxic pond and expecting it to survive.
In Ayurvedic medicine, we have several excellent herbs to help facilitate the changes. One of them is called Triphala Churna, a combination 3 herbs amla, baheda and haritaki. This powerful ally has the ability to heal nerves in the gut, support gut mucosa and clean the colon, eradicating toxins (Ama). You will find this and many scientifically proven effective herbs in our Dileacha gut blend.
No “issue” should be treated in isolation. The body is a complicated network of connections that are intertwined and feed each other, and it should ALWAYS start with the gut.