A recent controlled clinical trial represented a rare attempt to use metabolic biomarkers to assess the reported health benefits of integrative medicine and holistic practices. During the study participants were kept in a six-day Ayurvedic-based well-being program that provided a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and massages experienced measurable decreases in a set of blood-based metabolites associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk and cholesterol regulation. Senior author of the study Deepak Chopra explained, “It appears that a one-week Panchakarma program can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it. As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health.” Co-author Paul J Mills noted that alternative and integrative medicine practices, such as meditation and Ayurveda, are extremely popular, but their effects on the human microbiome, genome and physiology are not fully understood. “Our program of research is dedicated to addressing these gaps in the literature,” he said. “The researchers looked at the effects of a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention on plasma metabolites in a controlled clinical trial.”

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