Hari Sharma, PhD
Ohio State Integrative Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio USA
Robert Keith Wallace, PhD
Department of Physiology and Health, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa, USA
Ayurveda is a comprehensive, natural health care system that originated in the ancient Vedic times of India. Epigenetics refers to the external modification of DNA that turns genes on and off, affecting gene expression. This occurs without changes in the basic structure of the DNA.
This gene expression can have transgenerational effects. The major factors that cause epigenetic changes are lifestyle and behavior, diet and digestion, stress, and environmental factors. Ayurveda addresses these factors, thereby affecting the Deha (body), Prakriti (psychophysiological Ayurvedic constitution), which corresponds to the phenotype, and indirectly the Janma (birth) Prakriti, which corresponds to the genotype. Thus, it is proposed that epigenetics is an important mechanism of Ayurveda. This article suggests a correlation of the ancient Ayurvedic concepts and terminology with the current understanding of cellular physiology.
In Ayurvedic terms, it is the psychophysiological constitution or Deha Prakriti (body Prakriti), which changes and is dynamic.
The genotype corresponds to Ayurvedic birth Prakriti, and the phenotype corresponds to Ayurvedic Deha Prakriti. Disturbance in the Deha Prakriti is known as Vikriti in Ayurveda, which correlates with disorders and diseases in the current medical system.
This paper proposes that in the expression of DNA, the Messenger RNA (mRNA), Transfer RNA (tRNA), and protein have features and properties that correlate with the three Doshas of Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Messenger RNA (mRNA) corresponds with Vata (transmission of information), Transfer RNA (tRNA) corresponds with Pitta (transformation), and protein corresponds with Kapha (structure).
This correlation and understanding will lead to better communication and understanding with the current medical system, and lead to better integration of both sciences in the management of optimal health.
In addition, research on Ayurvedic modalities affecting gene expression will further increase correlation and understanding between the current medical system and Ayurveda.
Drs Sharma & Wallace published this paper on 11 December 2020, in Medicina, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences issued in collaboration with the Lithuanian Medical Association, Vilnius University, Rīga Stradiņš University, the University of Latvia, and the University of Tartu.
To read the full text of the article please click:
Sharma Wallace Ayurveda and Epigenetics Medicina 12-2020.pdf.