Gut Health and the Microbiome: The Prime | Maharishi Ayurveda Blog

Gut Health and the Microbiome: The Prime

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One of the most important medical discoveries in the 21st century is the role of the microbiome (the population of bacteria that inhabit the human body) on health and disease. This is particularly true of the population of the bacteria inhabiting the human digestive system. It is estimated that 90% of all DNA within the human body is actually bacterial DNA — bacteria effectively outnumber us 9:1. The implications of this on human health are enormous, and we are only beginning to comprehend the consequences of the microbiome on the development of a myriad of conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity, etc.

However, ayurveda, the ancient healing system present in India for over 5,000 years, understood this relationship between digestive health and disease, and therefore emphasized the gut as the key to longevity, vitality, and mental well-being. Today, medical studies are just beginning to uncover this connection between gut health, the microbiome, and chronic disease. The Prime is a program that recapitulates the fundamental principles of ayurveda for creating a healthy gut environment that supports the correct mixture of bacteria for a balanced microbiome. This in turn supports the body’s ability to spontaneously maintain balance and reverse the impact of toxic inflammation in the body. In essence, restoring the integrity of the digestive system and removing toxins from the body spontaneously restores health.

The primary claim of The Prime is the restoration of the microbiome through healing of the digestive system using the ancient principles of ayurveda, which have been upheld for over 5,000 years. As a result of the normalization of the microbiome population in the gut, participants can expect to experience improved weight maintenance, greater mental clarity, and increased energy in addition to the improvement of many chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy, migraine headaches, etc. These results occur as a natural consequence of having a healthy microbiome and reduced toxicity in the body, rather than adherence through willpower to a rigorous diet. The Prime uses biochemistry to fight biochemistry, rather than relying on transient self-motivation. It’s a permanent cellular solution to some of our most daunting challenges — not a fleeting trend that relies on a temporary surge in resolve.

The Prime involves four stages that combine foods, supplements and behaviors that target the reversal of the underlying toxic inflammatory state that undermines the gut-brain connection and results in a “dumb gut.” A participant’s score on the Gut IQ Quiz determines the length of each of the stages. The stages are as follows:

o Stage 1: Activate a Biochemical Shift. In this stage, participants begin to make the colon and lymphatic system more efficient so they can clear out the toxins along the primary detoxification pathways.

o Stage 2: Crush Cravings (No Willpower Required). In stage 2, participants reverse neuroadaptation to food naturally by breaking the addiction cycle to junk food and loading the body with the micronutrients it is actually craving.

o Stage 3: Ignite Energy and Fat. Stage 3 is the climax of The Prime as deep toxins are uprooted and incinerated. The toxic sludge that prevents a healthy gut microbiome and clogs the channels of the body is removed in this stage.

o Stage 4: Biohack Your Lifestyle Habits. Stage 4 is the culmination of The Prime, where participants are introduced to the habits that cement their newfound “smart gut” through the integration of lifestyle hacks that favor a healthy microbiome.

To learn more about The Prime program visit:

● Research:

o Stage One Research

  • Agah S, Mehdi Taleb A, Moeini R, Girji N, Nikbakht H. Cumin extract for symptom control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a case series. Middle East J Dig Dis. 2013 Oct; 5(4): 217–22.
  • Nair V, Singh S, Gupta YK. Evaluation of disease modifying activity of Coriandrum sativum in experimental models. Indian J Med Res. 2012; 135: 240–5.
  • Beliga MS, Dsouza JJ. Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.), A wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 May; 20(3): 225– 39.
  • Jose JK, Kuttan G, Kuttan R.. Antitumour activity of Emblica officinalis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 May; 75(2–3): 65–69.
  • Akhtar MS, Ramzan A, Ali A, Ahmad M. Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2001 Sep; 62(6): 609–16.
  • Maruthappan V, Sakthi Shree K. Hypolipidemic activity of haritaki (Terminalia chebula) in atherogenic diet induced hyperlipidemic rats. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2010 Apr–June; 1(2): 229–35.
  • Babita Y, Sandhya Rani K, Sulochana B, Mamta S. A perspective study of haritaki. Int J Res Ayurveda Pharm. 2011; 2(5): 1466–70.
  • Il-Suk Kim, Mi-Ra Yang,Ok-Hwan Lee, Suk-Nam Kang. Antioxidant Activities of Hot Water Extracts from Various Spices. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011; 12: 4120-4131.
  • Shaifali Gurjar, Anuradha Pal, Suman Kapur. Triphala and Its Constituents Ameliorate Visceral Adiposity from a High-fat Diet in Mice with Diet-induced Obesity. Alternative Therapies. November/December 2012; 18 (6): 38-45.
  • P. Dhanapakiam, J. Mini Joseph, V.K. Ramaswamy, M. Moorthi, A. Senthil Kumar. The cholesterol lowering property of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): Mechanism of action. J. Environ. Biol. 2008; 29(1): 53-56.
  • Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga, Sharake Meera, et al. Scientific Validation of the Ethnomedicinal Properties of the Ayurvedic Drug Triphala: A Review. Chin J Integr Med. 2012 Dec; 18(12): 946-954.
  • Kamali et al. Efficacy of ‘Itrifal Saghir’(triphala), a combination of three medicinal plants in the treatment of obesity; A randomized controlled trial. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2012; 20(33): 8 pages.
  • Roghayeh Zare, Fatemeh Heshmati, Hossein Fallahzadeh, Azadeh Nadjarzadeh. Effect of cumin powder on body composition and lipid profile in overweight and obese women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2014; 20: 297-301.
  • M. Valussi. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. March 2012; 63(S1): 82–89.

o Stage Two Research

  • Andallu B, Radhika B. Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of Winter Cherry (Withania somnifera , Dunal) root. Indian J Exp Biol. 2000; 38: 607–9.
  • Mishra LC, Singh BB, Dagenais S. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Aug; 5(4): 334–46.
  • Bhattacharya SK, Muruganandam AV. Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress. Pharmacol Biochem Be. 2003; 75(3): 547–55.
  • Jain S, Shukla SD, Sharma K, Bhatnagar M. Neuroprotective effects of Withania somnifera Dunn. in hippocampal sub-regions of female albino rat. Phytother Res. 2001 Sep; 15(6): 544–8.
  • Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri ) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Aug; 27(2): 279–81.
  • Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct; 118(4): 1150–7.
  • Daniel KT. Why broth is beautiful: essential roles for proline, glycine, and gelatin. Weston A. Price Foundation post: h7 p://www.westona topics/why-broth-is-beautiful-essential-roles-for-proline-glycine-and-gelatin/ (this article contains extensive relevant references).
  • Dnyanraj Choudhary, MD, Sauvik Bhattacharyya, MPharm, PhD, Kedar Joshi, MD. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. March 2016.
  • Tomoharu Kuboyama, Chihiro Tohda, Katsuko Komatsu. Effects of Ashwagandha (Roots of Withania somnifera) on Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biol Pharm Bull. 2014; 37(6): 892–897.
  • K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, Sridhar Anishetty. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262.
  • Tamara Simpson, Matthew Pase, Con Stough. Bacopa monnieri as an Antioxidant Therapy to Reduce Oxidative Stress in the Aging Brain. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015; Article ID 615384: 9 pages.
  • Carlo Calabrese, N.D., M.P.H., William L. Gregory, Ph.D., et al. Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2008; 14(6): 707–713.
  • Inin Taznin, Mohsina Mukti, Mohammed Rahmatullah. Bacopa monnieri: An evaluation of antihyperglycemic and antinociceptive potential of methanolic extract of whole plants. Pak J Pharm Sci. November 2015; 28(6): 2135-2139.

o Stage Three Research

  • Den R. Therapeutic effects of guggul and its constituent guggulsterone: cardiovascular benefits. Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2007 Winter; 25(4): 375–90. Shields KM, Moranville MP. Guggul for hypocholesterolemia. Am J Health-Syst Ph. 2005; 62(10): 1012–4.
  • Urizar, Nancy L, Moore, David D. Gugulipid: A natural cholesterol-lowering agent. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2003; 23: 303-313.
  • Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Brit J Anaesth. 2000; 84(3): 367–71.
  • Das, Ankur Datta, et al. A Comparative Study of Lipid-Lowering Effects of Guggul and Atorvastatin Monotherapy in Comparison to Their Combination in High Cholesterol Diet-Induced Hyperlipidemia in Rabbits. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2016; 13(5): 495-504.
  • SM, Turgeon DK, Vareed SK, et al. Phase II study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colon mucosa in people at normal risk for colorectal cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011; 4(11): 1929–37.
  • Zick SM, Djuric Z, Ruffin MT, et al. Pharmacokinetics of 6- , 8- , 10- gingerols and 6-shagaol and conjugate metabolites in healthy human subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Aug; 17(8): 1930–6.
  • Srinivasan M. Effect of curcumin on blood sugar as seen in a diabetic subject. Indian J Med Sci. 1972; 26(4): 269–70.
  • G, El- Menshawy O. Protective effects of ginger-turmeric rhizomes mixtures on joint inflammation, atherogenesis, kidney dysfunction and other complications in a rat model of human rheumatoid arthritis. Int J Rheum Dis. 2013 Apr; 16(2): 219–29.
  • Srivastava KC, Bordia A, Verma SK. Curcumin, a major component of food spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) inhibits aggregation and alters eicosanoid metabolism in human blood platelets. Prostaglandins Leuk of Essent Fatty Acids. 1995; 52(4): 223–7.
  • Oetari S, Sudibyo M, Commandeur JNM, Samhoedi R, Vermeulen NPE. Effects of curcumin on cytochrome P450 and glutathione S-transferase activities in rat liver. Biochem Pharmacol. 996; 51(1): 39–45.
  • Bush JA, Cheung KJ Jr, Li G. Curcumin induces apoptosis in human melanoma cells through a Fas receptor/caspase-8 pathway independent of p53. Exp Cell Res. 2001 Dec 10; 271(2): 305–14.
  • Su CC, Lin JG, Li TM, et al. Curcumin- induced apoptosis of human colon cancer colo 205 cells through the production of ROS, Ca2+ and the activation of caspase- 3. Anticancer Res. 2006 Nov–Dec; 26(6B): 4379–89.
  • Baum L, Ng A. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2004 Aug; 6(4): 367–77.
  • Muhammad S. Mansour1, Yu-Ming Ni1, Amy L. Roberts, et al. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study. Metabolism. 2012 October; 61(10): 1347–1352
  • Hossein Imani Ph.D., Hadi Tabibi Ph.D, Iraj Najafi M.D., et al. Effects of ginger on serum glucose, advanced glycation end products, and inflammation in peritoneal dialysis patients. Nutrition. 2015; 31: 703–707

o Stage Four Research

  • Shi S, Ansari T, McGuinness OP, Wasserman DH, Johnson CH. Circadian disruption leads to insulin resistance and obesity. Curr Biol. 2013; 23(5): 372–81.
  • Kahleova H, Belinova L, Malinska H, et al. Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover study. Diabetologia. 2015; 58(1): 205.
  • Miglio C, Chiavaro E, Visconti A, Fogliano V, Pellegrin N. Effects of different cooking methods on nutritional and physiochemical characteristics of selected vegetables. J Agr Food Chem. 2008; 56(1): 139–47.
  • Sudsuang R, Chentanez V, Velluvan K. Effect of Buddhist meditation on serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, lung volume, and reaction time. Physiol Behav. 1991; 50(3): 543–8.
  • Davidson RJ, Kabat- Zinn J, Schumacher J, et al. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med. 2003; 65(4): 564–70.
  • Morone N, Greco C, Weiner D. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: a randomized controlled pilot study. Pain. 2008; 134(3): 310–9.
  • Shannahoff-Khalsa D. Complementary healthcare practices. Stress management for gastrointestinal disorders: the use of kundalini yoga meditation techniques. Gastroenterol Nurs. 2002 May–Jun; 25(3): 126–9.
  • Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011; 106: 1678–88.
  • Tang YY, Ma Y, Wang J, et al. Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. P Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104(43): 17152–6.
  • Kabat-Zinn J, Massion AO, Kristeller J, et al. Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 1992 Jul; 149(7): 936–43.
  • Zylowska L, Ackerman DL, Yang MH, et al. Mindfulness meditation training in adults and adolescents with ADHD: a feasibility study. J Atten Disord. 2008 May; 11(6): 737– 46.
  • Simpson TL, Kaysen D, Bowen S, et al. PTSD symptoms, substance use, and vipassana meditation among incarcerated individuals. J Trauma Stress. 2007; 20(3): 239–49.
  • Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Medicine. 2004; e62. Epub: h7 p://

o General Research for Microbiome, Gut Health, and Gut-Brain Connection

  • Alcock J, Maley, CC, Atktipis CA. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. Bioessays. 2014 Oct; 36(10): 940–9.
  • Fasano A. Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan; 91(1): 151–75.
  • Fasano A, Shea- Donohue T. Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases. Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005; 2: 416–22.
  • Chang CL, Jones MK, Kingham JGC. Celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease. Clin Med Res. 2007; 5(3): 184–92.
  • Visser J, Rozing J, Sapone A, Lammers K, Fasano A. Tight junctions, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity celiac disease and type 1 diabetes paradigms. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2009; 1165: 195–205.
  • Camilleri M. Serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2009; 16(1): 53–9.
  • Collins SM, Sure7 e M, Bercik P. The interplay between the intestinal microbiota and the brain. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Nov; 10(11): 735–42.
  • Holmqvist S, Chutna O, Bousset L, et al. Direct evidence of Parkinson pathology spread from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain in rats. Acta Neuropathol. 2014; 128(6): 805–20.
  • Lyte M. Microbial endocrinology in the microbiome-gut-brain axis: How bacterial production and utilization of neurochemicals influence behavior. PLoS Pathog. 2013; 9(11).
  • Bercik P, Denou E, Collins J, et al. The intestinal microbiota affect central levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor and behavior in mice. Gastroenterology. 2011 Aug; 14(2): 599–609.
  • Rapid and unexpected weight gain after fecal transplant, Science-Daily. February 4, 2015: h7 p://
  • Bredesen DE. Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program. Aging (Albany NY). 2014 Sep; 6(9): 707–17.

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