‘Supplement’, but little differently!
It’s common nowadays to go self-testing and take vitamin supplements. Well as a physician, it’s more common to have people coming ‘by self’ blood reports done and just inquire “Doctor is there any medicine for this or that deficiency in Ayurveda? Just it, I want, nothing else needed!”
At times, I look up and wonder what and how to say the ‘right’. Today I will speak up differently.
Firstly, as an Ayurveda practitioner going strictly by my science (original written period) would say there is nothing such a concept of supplements in Ayurveda!
I know of, the next big question coming from you is: “Then, how can Ayurveda manage vitamin deficiencies and substitute this biochemistry alternative need…in Ayurveda really no vitamin tablet-capsules?”
“Yes we have and can, but little differently!”
Well, friends, we all should know that wholesome food a balanced diet & proper lifestyle itself meets all the vitamin or biochemistry essentials our body needs of. When our digestion is good the body absorbs all the required nutrients from foods taken and thus there is no deficiency in body. In a disease condition when digestion is impaired and food intake is less, deficiency comes with complains. Ayurveda also mentions that one who despite taking good food but has improper digestion or assimilation will have complains. In other word when the ‘agni’ (digestive fire) is impaired, body results toxin of food indigestion (aam) which disturbs the normal balance of dosha (vata, pitta & kapha) thus resulting disease and its symptom (as certain deficiency).
Today we are ruled by laboratory reports, in earlier times the focus was more on the clinical presentations and diagnosis; this even general public should understand - Reports are not more important than your actual healthy feeling.
Coming back to the prime question, the answer is straight - proper food and good agni (digestion-assimilation) reverses the deficiency or disease process! In my practice and experience with Gurus (clinical teachers) have seen that during disturbed agni there is pitta vitiation which commonly result deficiency of vitamin D and B12. The body in disturbed stage is unable to absorb-assimilate nutrients properly from food so our report shows deficiency; and a proper treatment of digestion (agni) and vitiated dosha with pathya (proper food-regimen) automatically helps in any and every deficiency.
Still not satisfied with what you looking, okay, before mentioning direct suggestion, let’s have a modern biochemistry look at this vitamins, what and from where it is sourced.
Vitamin B12 or Cyanocobalamin is a complex compound which helps in synthesis of DNA, fatty acid & myelin factor. Its deficiency results fatigue, weakness, tingling sensation in legs, memory loss,etc. It is commonly treated by supplementing with B12 capsules or in injected form. Normal nutrient source: Strictly speaking only animal source (meat, fish, egg…). Some references you may have have read somewhere, dal (pulses), etc. but its non-vegetarian food only which are direct source. So, the question, are all Vegetarians deficit of Vit B12 in lab reports? No, actually B12 is also synthesized with the help of bacteria. The milk products and the fermented products can be little source of B12.
Well, does it rather mean that all should have non-vegetarian for good reports. If so, then why today vit B12 deficiency is common in non-vegetarian, so it doesn’t even rule out that a non-veg will not suffers of this deficiency!
Coming to Ayurveda firstly it has never asked anybody and everybody to be a veg. or a non-veg.; it has only discussed properties of every type of food be it rice or fish, and left upon individual choice and need for what one practices. Going by words, if so, a non-veg with proper agni only will get vit b12 from food source, but, if so, then why in earlier times the vegetarian were not heard of B12 deficiency! Our answer for veggies is here, in earlier Indian traditional food included many of fermented products like gruel, dahi, buttermilk, etc. regularly. In most diseases the Ayurveda pharmacy list with Asava-Arista which are actually fermented syrup and are quite common in any Ayurveda prescriptions, this actually meets the demand seek off. Correcting of Agni with regard to our liver status and pitta subsequently brings in report normalcy. In clinics medicines like Punarnavadi Mandoor, Tapyadi Lauh, Navjeevan Ras, and ghrita preparations etc. are used to bring in the result. As Ayurveda is personalized individual specific need science, the recommendations for different person in different stage will be as per condition, a proper supervision and opinion of Vaidya is good before self-prescription in case.
You perhaps, didn’t get the short answer you wanted. Well, friends, do U know, taking too much of allopath antacid can also cause you vitamin b12 deficiency? Your vitamin deficiency can be a side effect or over dosing effect of random medicine taken! So, to all my patient friends, I remind take care of your diet and lifestyle more than your lab reports & self medication options. Body has got its own self healing tendency, a physician is supposed to prescribe medicine just as supportive in healing. To add more conviction, would say, not just with experience on patients but self being patient also. When I had jaundice (a pitta vitiation) few months back my vit B12 got less as per report. It’s now improved, frankly I didn’t take/need any supplements. To admit I mention when the root cause of disease treated with required medicine, the deficiency tail itself followed in.
A Note: Do take expert helps in case you have vit B12 deficiency for prime disease and not run for supplements only. Avoid self prescription and self worries.
Coming to part 2: Vitamin D. Well, it’s another query which is common in clinic, a patient asking sachet medicine for the deficiency. I wonder this instant demand style which we have got after being used to instant junk foods & aerated drinks! In simile, it’s like a student coming on first day and says to class teacher teach me only the 20 questions which are to come in exam. Just it! Well, it’s not the 20 point answer thing; the student has to be thorough with full syllabus to answer any 20 questions. Health is not a shortcut!
Vitamin D is also called as kidney hormone or sunshine vitamin. It is actually metabolically inactive, and undergoes transformation in kidney-liver; It is synthesized in presence of adequate sunlight in body. Its forms are Vit D2 & D3. It enhances absorption of calcium & phosphorus, stimulates mineralization of bones, and helps in normal growth. It deficiency results weak bones and problem like rickets (in children), osteomalacia, symptoms are fracture tendency, general weakness, pain in bone-muscle. It sources are from milk products, but mainly from sunlight.
Being an Ayurvedist, the first thing that comes in mind is the idea of Abhyanga, daily body oil massage-sunbath which is suggested since time immemorial. This is mentioned in almost every original Ayurveda text first chapter(s). A til or sesame tail abhyanga for little children with laksh preparation in sunlight is common as traditional fight of rickets. Hope concept is taken. Though Ayurveda recommends going natural in specific clinic case, we use treatment having guggul yog and medicines having sankha, praval, moti etc. which are natural calcium as an answer. Basically it’s a proper complete (holistic) treatment; In Ayurveda world it’s never said to pop such and such pill for your xyz vitamin deficiency or disease. - Study syllabus not just instant question to excel in exam.
Hope the prime question is answered in detail.
Finally a direct question to you, if your digestion is not good, can your body even absorb the popped up supplement or meet the repeated deficiency demand in long run? To finish off this pro-answering, please have self care first, that is, a balanced diet-regimen for true healing not substitutes cap-tablet as initial medicine. Healing always comes in direct way not just short cut.