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Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 9;6:32609. doi: 10.1038/srep32609.

Identification of Altered Metabolomic Profiles Following a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic Intervention in Healthy Subjects: The Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative (SBTI).

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Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
Department of Ayurveda and Yoga Research, Chopra Foundation, Carlsbad, California, USA.
Proteomics Core Facility, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.
Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.
Chopra Center for Wellbeing, Carlsbad, California, USA.
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
Infectious &Inflammatory Disease Center, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.
Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University Health System, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


The effects of integrative medicine practices such as meditation and Ayurveda on human physiology are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to identify altered metabolomic profiles following an Ayurveda-based intervention. In the experimental group, 65 healthy male and female subjects participated in a 6-day Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention which included herbs, vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga, and massage. A set of 12 plasma phosphatidylcholines decreased (adjusted p < 0.01) post-intervention in the experimental (n = 65) compared to control group (n = 54) after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing; within these compounds, the phosphatidylcholine with the greatest decrease in abundance was PC ae C36:4 (delta = -0.34). Application of a 10% FDR revealed an additional 57 metabolites that were differentially abundant between groups. Pathway analysis suggests that the intervention results in changes in metabolites across many pathways such as phospholipid biosynthesis, choline metabolism, and lipoprotein metabolism. The observed plasma metabolomic alterations may reflect a Panchakarma-induced modulation of metabotypes. Panchakarma promoted statistically significant changes in plasma levels of phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins and others in just 6 days. Forthcoming studies that integrate metabolomics with genomic, microbiome and physiological parameters may facilitate a broader systems-level understanding and mechanistic insights into these integrative practices that are employed to promote health and well-being.


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