What Ayurveda Suggests about Human Health
Some years ago I was introduced to the ancient science of Ayurveda that originates from the continent of India and dates back 5,000 years. What immediately struck me about Ayurveda was the example of the man who was teaching the course that my significant other in my life at that time was learning from. He was a Vaidya, which is a term for an Ayurvedic Doctor, though their training is in part academic and practical like in Western Medicine, and in part involves studying under a wise and experienced Vaidya, in what seems to me like a long term Rites of Passage that takes around 12 years.
What stood out about this man was that he looked to my eyes to be a man in his late fifties or early sixties. He was coy about his age, but his class did meet one of his middle sons (i.e. not his oldest) when he came to visit his father and the son was 57 at the time. The class found some evidence they believe suggested the Vaidya was more than 90 years of age. Anecdotally (and it does not seem to be an issue that googling can pull up either evidence, speculation, or debunking of) it is common for Vaidya who live the Ayurvedic lifestyle to live beyond 100 years, and still be active and practicing their profession.
The n=1 sample of the Vaidya I met made a significant impression on me. Clearly by being an adherent of Ayurvedic principles he was in good health, was very active and alert, and seemed by my observation to have aged far less than the average westerner.
Since that time I have taken the time to learn some of the principles of Ayurveda, through reading, through a two day short course, and through regular consultations with an Ayurvedic Clinician for around a 6 month period.
Please note, this is a summary of Ayurveda Teachings, not an attempt to justify these understandings. However anyone who actually engages with Ayurveda will soon discover the wisdom in it that translates to results. The key lessons that I learned about Ayurveda’s teachings are summarised below.
- The heart of human health begins with Digestion, and it is at the heart of maintaining what Ayurveda calls ‘Prakriti‘ which translates as our Essential Nature. An overlapping concept in western medicine is ‘Homeostasis‘.
- Ayurveda is built on the understanding also of Doshas, which are part of our Essential Nature. Most westerners understand little more about Ayurveda than the existence of the three Doshas, which is a shame, as it oversimplifies a science that I believe has a deeper understanding of proactive wellness than western medicine that tends to focus on disease and treating symptoms once people are sick.
- The three Doshas are:
- Vata : Creative, Quick, Slender, Tall
- Kapha : Easygoing, Slower, Solid, Strong
- Pitta : Medium physique, strong, well-built; Sharp mind, good concentration powers; Orderly, focused; Assertive, self-confident
- Every person has elements of every dosha, and generally we have a predisposition to one or two more than the others. People of different doshas benefit most from a lifestyle and diet suited to their dosha.
- Digestion creates Agni which Ayurveda refers to as ‘Digestive Fire’ which creates the fuels that support the human body’s own maintenance processes.
- There are 13 types of Agni created across 3 categories:
- Jatharagni – responsible for digestion of ingested food, and the transformation of gross food particles into smaller food particles.
- Bhutagni – The final part of digestion in the Liver, aligned with the elements, and nourishing the sense organs.
- Prithvi-agni – Separates atoms of the Earth element and uses them to support the sense of smell in the nose.
- Ap-Agni – related to the water element nourishes the sense organ of taste in the tongue.
- Tejas-Agni – related to the heat, light and energy element, nourishes the sense organ of sight in the eyes.
- Vayu-Bhutagni – related to the air element nourishes the sense organ of touch in the skin.
- Akasha-Bhutagni – related to the space element nourishes the sense organ of hearing in the ears.
- Dhatwagni – The 7 types of Tissue Metabolism
- Rasa Dhatu – Supply of absorbed nutritive material to body tissues for growth and repair
- Rakta Dhatu – Tissue nutrition, adequate haemopoeisis, which in turn gives luster to the body.
- Mamsa Dhatu – maintains muscle mass, physical strength and oilyness of the skin.
- Medo Dhatu – Unctuous skin and physical strength.
- Asthi Dhatu – Creates healthy bones, joints, body hair, nails, and physical and mental activity.
- Majja Dhatu – Creates adequate unctuousness of the body and maintains fertility.
- Sukra Dhatu – Maintains fertility and the libido
- The 13 forms of Agni are the human equivalent to the motor vehicle’s service department. When nutrition and digestion is functioning optimally, the 13 forms of Agni are able to keep the body functioning very well, and immunity is very strong.
- When the digestive functions breaks down, undigested food remains in the system and forms what Ayurveda refers to as Ama, that equates to toxicity. There are three types of Ama:
- Ama – There is the ama that is heavy and sticky, formed through poor dietary habits and low digestive fire. Over time this Ama accumulates in the body’s systems and block the channels.
- Amavisha – This type of ama mixes with the doshas or tissues or waste products of the body and causes more severe problems.
- Garvisha – This is associated with bioaccumulation of environmental toxins, which obviously is becoming a much more severe issue in the current era.
- Ama causes sluggishness in the body, blockages, and system failures. Ayurveda teaches that these imbalances erode immunity and create the conditions in which diseases can emerge and in which they can thrive.
- Conversely when the wisdom of the body is well supported by strong Digestive fire, good nourishment and nutrition, and balance that prevents the accumulation of Ama, then the body is creating the right conditions for strong immunity, and for the body to use it’s natural intelligence to fight the emergence of disease.
I strongly commend to every living being the value of learning more about Ayurveda, working with a Vaidya or Ayurveda practitioner to understand your Doshas, and to work towards achieving Pratriki.
During the time my wife Pj and I were under the guidance of an Ayurveda practitioner we both saw enormous shifts in our health.
I will say however, the strict Ayurveda diet I found fairly challenging to a foodie, and a true lover of good wine.
As much as I understood the wisdom of the diet, for me it made meal times an exercise in functional nourishment more than enjoyment of food.
To be fair a good Ayurveda practitioner can advise you in the context of ‘what are the areas of your life style that are non-negotiables’.
For me, and my wife though we decided to discontinue strict adherence, though to take away some of the lessons we learned from Ayurveda.
The key lessons we learned from Ayurveda were these:
- Digestive fire and good nutrition are central to proactive health and the maintenance of Prakriti and Homeostasis.
- Maintaining a body with minimal Ama or toxins and imbalances is an excellent stride towards supporting the body to avoid the creation of conditions in which disease can thrive.
- Good health can be well supported by healthy nutrition and good digestion.
Proactive Health Lifestyle Supplements
Today my wife PJ and I have a direct sales business where we teach people how to embrace good health through using natural products proactively to support wellness, including Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and Natural Supplements.
Now I have to be honest here, I always thought things like supplements, just gave you a bit more zing in your step.
PJ and I have been using the products for quite a while now, and we have experienced a significant difference in how we feel. However at our Australian Convention this year we heard a presentation by one of the owners and founders of the company whose products our business is built around. This particular supplement range had been a dream of his that he had carried around with him for some years, and when he agreed to join the other founders in creating this company, his condition was that they would agree to be more than an Essential Oil Company, and produce this product that had been his vision too.
As we listened to his presentation on how the supplement range supports the body, I was taken straight back to the Ayurveda class that Pj and I had done.
He spoke about a number of processes in the body that the body seeks to keep in balance, and which with challenges in the western diet, and a world where environmental toxins are everywhere, the body goes out of balance, which create conditions in which disease can thrive. Specifically he spoke about four major areas of imbalance:
- Oxidative Stress from Free Radicals. A study I read had the following to say about this imbalance: “Free radicals and oxidants play a dual role as both toxic and beneficial compounds, since they can be either harmful or helpful to the body. They are produced either from normal cell metabolisms in situ or from external sources (pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, medication). When an overload of free radicals cannot gradually be destroyed, their accumulation in the body generates a phenomenon called oxidative stress, and requires anti-oxidants to address the imbalance.
- Mitochondria and Ageing. The most prominent roles of mitochondria are to produce the Energy currency of the cell, ATP (i.e., phosphorylation of ADP), through respiration, and to regulate cellular metabolism With ageing there are fewer Mitochondria per cell, less efficient output, and more toxic exhaust.
- Omega 6 : Omega 3 Ratio. For a healthy balance of opposing effects in Omega Fatty Acids, the Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio should ideally be 1:1, or at most should be around 3:1. Sadly the average westerners diet leads to a ratio of around 15:1, creating a severe imbalance. Omega 3s are said to play a crucial role in brain function, and support an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Nutritional Deficiencies : There are many reasons for nutritional deficiencies in the average western lifestyle including, meal skipping, less fresh food, meals with insufficient nutrients, and fast food culture with insufficient focus on balanced meals.
The supplement range that was the realised dream of the founder is a pack of 3 Supplements. His vision for this pack was that together they would support people to ‘live younger, longer’, not unlike the Ayurveda Vaidya I met who did not look his age, and was living a life supported by having a healthy functioning body.
The three products in the range and the claims that have been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Good Administration are as follows:
1. Cellular Vitality Complex
Standard Indications are : Helps maintain healthy digestive function, aids digestion, and aids, assists or helps in the maintenance of general well-being.
Specific Indications are many, but include :
- Contains Coenzyme Q10, which is an antioxidant and can therefore assist in protecting the body from the damaging effects of free radical damage.
- Coenzyme Q10 has antioxidant activity, which can assist in reducing oxidative stress throughout life and as we age.
- Coenzyme Q10 helps to regenerate vitamin E to its antioxidant form.
- Contains alpha lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant and may assist in protecting the body from the effects of free radical damage.
- Contains alpha lipoic acid, which is both a fat-soluble and water-soluble antioxidant.
- Contains alpha lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant that can regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione and coenzyme Q10.
- Contains Resveratrol which has antioxidant activity.
- Contains Resveratrol which has antioxidant properties.
- Assists energy production in the mitochondria.
- Contains alpha lipoic acid, which is a cofactor for various enzymes involved in energy production.
- Contains alpha lipoic acid, which plays a vital role in the production of energy.
- Contains Coenzyme Q10, which plays an essential role in the production of ATP and therefore energy production.
- Contains Coenzyme Q10, which supports normal/healthy immune function.
You can recognise a theme in the Cellular Vitality Complex, it is addressing two of the imbalances explored above, namely Oxidative Stress from Free Radicals, and support for the Mitochondria and Energy Production.
2. Essential Oil Omega Complex
Standard Indications are : Aids, assists or helps in the maintenance of general well-being; Vitamin D helps calcium absorption (or words of like intent) and a diet deficient in calcium can lead to osteoporosis in later life; May assist in the prevention of vitamin deficiency when dietary intake is inadequate; Maintain/support eye health.
Specific Indications are many, but include :
- Contains Fish oil, which supports the health and function of the brain.
- Contains DHA, which is required for normal/healthy brain function
- Contains Fish oil, which helps support the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children up to 12 years of age
- Contains DHA, which plays an important role in the growth and development of the brain during the third trimester
- Contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for normal growth and development.
- Contains Fish oil, which supports the health and function of the cardiovascular system
- Contains Vitamin D, which is important for cardiovascular health
- Contains Fish oil, a natural source of marine omega 3 fatty acids
- Contains Fish oil, a source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the maintenance of good health
- Contains Fish oil, which supports normal/healthy nervous system function
- Contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which support the health and function of the myelin sheath
- Contains Beta-carotene, which supports the health and function of the eyes.
- Contains Lutein, which may help to protect ocular tissues from photodamage.
Again there is a theme, and this time, the Essential Oil Omega Complex is supporting the addressing of the Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio imbalance.
3. Food Nutrient Complex
Standard Indications are : Aids, assists or helps in the maintenance of general well-being; May assist in the prevention of mineral deficiency when dietary intake is inadequate; May assist in the prevention of vitamin deficiency when dietary intake is inadequate; Provides a minimum daily dose of 290mg of elemental calcium which may assist in the prevention of osteoporosis when dietary intake is inadequate; Helps maintain normal blood/blood tonic; Maintain/support healthy/normal eyesight/vision; Beneficial during times of stress; Source of iron. Iron is necessary for the formation of haemoglobin which transports oxygen to the tissues
Specific Indications run for three pages, but include :
- Contains Riboflavin, which contributes to the normal metabolism of iron, and which is involved in the maintenance of normal red blood cells.
- Contains Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), which is involved in the formation of haemoglobin and the growth of red blood cells
- Contains Folinic acid, a form of Folate, which is involved in the formation and healthy maturation of red blood cells.
- Contains Vitamin B12, which is required for red blood cell formation
- Contains Vitamin C, which assists in maintaining a normal/healthy cardiovascular system
- Contains Iron, which helps to form and support the function of red blood cells, and which is involved in the transport of oxygen around the body by haemoglobin.
- Contains Niacin, which is a component of Glucose tolerance factor.
- Contains ingredients that play a role in healthy blood sugar regulation.
- Vitamin C plays a role in collagen formation, supports the development and maintenance of bones, teeth, cartilage, and supports connective tissue formation.
- Contains Vitamin D, which is important for bone health, helps to maintain serum calcium and phosphorus levels, which is critical for the normal development of bones and teeth, supports/ helps maintain bone mineral density.
- Contains Magnesium, which is important for normal bone structure.
- Contains Thiamine, which contributes to the normal function of the heart.
- Contains Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), which supports normal/healthy cardiovascular function.
- Contains Vitamin E, which supports the health and function of the immune system.
- Contains Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3), which is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Pantothenic acid supports healthy metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the body.
- Contains Biotin, which is involved in fatty acid synthesis
I say again, I have taken excerpts from the indications of each product, but this one all the more so. Once more there is a theme and it is the support of the body in deficiencies of a diet that is inadequate.
Living a Life of Proactive Health
I am a man of 55 years of age, and at my time of life statistics would suggest that I am at increasing risk of disease.
My wife PJ and I take our Supplement Range daily, morning and night. I feel very grateful that Pj and I have both found not only an amazing business with products that make a difference to people’s quality of life, but we can use them in our own lives, and they are supporting our body to right the imbalances that are so prevalent in our Western Lives.
I am grateful to the man who’s vision this Supplement Range was, and that he made it a condition of joining the business he co-founded. I am grateful for the good health we enjoy, and I am in awe of the changes in people’s lives around us every day by sharing the products the way we do.
I invite anyone who is interested in finding out more about this supplement range to reach out to my wife Pj and myself, we have a truly global business and can support you wherever you are
I hope my passion for the wisdom that lies in this product has rubbed off a little, and that I have been successful in conveying how cleverly it has been designed to truly support our bodies in a manner that is so necessary in this western world where our bodies are under greater stresses of many kinds.
Ura P Auckland
Writer, Blogger, Public Speaker
Diamond Leader & Wellness Advocate
Earth Spirit Pathways