When your digestion is weak or defective (usually due to improper diet choices over an extended period of time), food sits in your stomach and starts to rot due to fermentation by bacteria. This rotten food is a poison to your whole system because it contains endotoxins produced by the bacteria. Ayurveda calls this poison “ama”.
The connection between the brain and the belly is a two-way street. In fact, the gut sends more information to the brain than vice-versa. Many of these messages travel “upstream” along the vagus nerve. The microbes in your digestive system have a direct effect on the brain because they produce certain neurotransmitters. Special cells in the gut also produce hormones and neurochemicals (including serotonin and endorphins) that directly affect mood.
Metabolic Toxin irritates your gut and when it is absorbed into the bloodstream, it irritates your nervous system and makes you feel emotional. When bacteria digest your food instead of your body, they get the nutrients and you don’t. This can leave you feeling depleted and fatigued.
Toxins come from many sources: your body, food, bacteria, and the environment.
Most often, the biggest source of toxins from food is indigestion. Undigested food lingers and rots in your intestines due to fermentation by bacteria and gut flora such as clostridia.
Ayurveda focuses on handling imbalances while they are in their infancy, and eliminating them with mild but effective non-obtrusive methods.
Three Types Of Ama
Maharishi Ayurveda recognizes three types of ama;
First, there is the ama that is heavy and sticky; it is formed through poor dietary habits and low digestive fire. Over time ama tends to accumulate in the system and block the channels of the body, causing a variety of conditions.
The second type of ama, which is more toxic, is called amavisha. This type of ama mixes with the doshas or tissues or waste products of the body and causes more chronic problems.
A third type of ama is called garvisha; this is associated with bioaccumulation of environmental toxins. The human body has hundreds of different cell types and 50 to 75 trillion cells. Each one of your cells knows who you are and where it has to be in order for it to be part of you and to be able to communicate that to all the other cells. This is what is called inner intelligence. In the world of cells information must flow, and ama blocks the flow of this information.
Factors Causing Ama
- Improper food combining
- Overeating and compulsive eating (especially oily, sugary, or fried food)
- Irregular eating habits
- Sleep disturbances
- Stressful routines
- Inactivity for prolonged hours
Signs of Ama Accumulation In Body
Smelly stool, foul breath, and gas are noticeable signs of Ama in the digestive system.
When Ama impairs the digestive fire, It makes digestion and metabolism difficult. Due to this, undigested food can gather inside the gastrointestinal tract. Its accumulation may have harmful effects on the GI system.
Ama may clog the pores and block oxygenated blood from entering the affected region. It results in several skin problems that often appear, e.g., breakouts, sensitivity, zits, boils, inflammation, and dry patches.
Mentally, Ama may cause brain fog and decrease cognitive activity. Consequently, psychological changes can cause disorientation, memory lapse, and mental fatigue. Ama might also influence emotional wellbeing.
5 Ways To Eliminate Ama Toxins From Your Body
Panchakarma is a specialized branch of Ayurveda which detoxifies and strengthens the natural process of the body. Vamana and Virechana are processes of Panchakarma that your doctor may recommend based on your health status. Abhyanga (whole body massage) stimulates the lymph glands which will help in removing toxins through sweat.
Mindful Eating Habits
Strengthening the digestive fire and maintaining gut health can reduce the Ama. Consciously eating ensures that nothing terrible enters the gastrointestinal system. When that happens, one can minimize the risk of dealing with metabolic toxins.
Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables as they may counter environmental triggers that prompt Ama formation. Avoid oily and fried food. Refrain from taking caffeinated drinks or eating heavy food before bedtime.
Along with proper diet, occasional fasting is also helpful in eliminating Ama.
When fasting, the digestive system is at rest and the body uses up the energy to
eliminate impurities and repair the system. It also improves appetite and
revitalizes digestion and clears up the channels of the body.
Ayurveda techniques form a connection between spiritual and mental wellbeing. Fasting is an excellent way to control toxin levels and eliminate them from the system. One consciously provides the body with a short break from unhealthy eating.
When that happens, the body may utilize stored fat and nutrients. That, in turn, can accelerate healthy elimination and natural detoxification.
Ama in Ayurveda is often a sign of stagnation. Practicing natural movement can help the body avoid excessive accumulation of Ama inside the body.
Here are a few things one can do each day:
- Daily stretching
- Brisk walking
- Cardio exercises
Regular practice can shift Ama and also help boost healthy blood circulation. It may also promote natural energy levels and reduce fatigue.
Consuming herbs that can kindle the digestive fire is helpful in reducing Ama.
Most of these herbs are essentially the common household spices like cumin,
cinnamon, fennel, fresh and dried ginger, nutmeg, mustards, garlic, black
pepper and coriander.
Here are top herbal, and spice picks to boost digestive fire:
As destructive as ama is, the healing process is remarkably supported by positive ideas and attitudes. So it is also important to direct some attention toward appreciating our bodies and their natural ability (when given proper support) to digest and eliminate ama. Remember, ama cannot form in the presence of truly balanced agni. So in the long run, tending to agni is just as important as eradicating ama.