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A Healthy Endocannabinoid System Makes for a Healthy Gut and a Happy You

Most of us have heard the term “gut health”. But what does it truly mean to have a healthy gut?

Love your Gut

Your gut microbiome (the community of microorganisms live in your gastrointestinal tract) is the foundation of your health. Good gut health occurs when you have a balance between the good (helpful) and bad (potentially harmful) bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. In fact, 80% of your immune system is in the gut. 95% of your body’s supply of serotonin is also created in the gut. This means that if your gut isn’t healthy, your immune system and hormones won’t function, increasing your risk of developing serious health issues.

Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is where you digest the foods you eat, absorb nutrients that maintain your body, and create the fuel that powers everything you do. So, if your gut is imbalanced and your immune system isn’t working properly, your body will find it more challenging to stay healthy. 

Your gut is also where your body gets rid of metabolic waste and toxins. However, if you have an unhealthy gut, your body will struggle to rid itself of those toxins. If this occurs, it can cause many issues, including chronic fatigue, chronic illnesses, and inflammation throughout the body. 

picture of stressed and anxious  man

Gut Health and Anxiety

The gut-brain connection is no joke; it can link anxiety to gut problems and vice versa. Have you ever had a "gut-wrenching" experience? Do certain situations make you "feel nauseous"? Have you ever felt "butterflies" in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason.Our gastrointestinal tract is highly sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. And it also goes the other way – people with serious digestive issues are more prone to developing depression and anxiety, according to Jay Pasricha, MD, Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology.

What factors affect the health of our gut?

While several factors can contribute to poor gut health, some of the most common can include:

  • Stress: This increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut), tipping the scales toward an imbalance of more bad than good bacteria in the gut.

  • Poor nutrition: Most people eat processed food and sugar, which can harm the beneficial bacteria in your gut and contribute to or cause inflammation throughout the body.

  • Long-term use of antibiotics and antacids: They all decrease vitamins within the gut, which is essential in cell production, brain function, and energy. They also kill the good bacteria that live in your gut. It’s important to note that there is a time and a place for these medications, but it’s best to consult with your physician before using them.

The Healthy Gut and Endocannabinoid System Connection

Recent studies have found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in the functioning and health of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. These findings support the historical use of cannabis to treat digestive disorders dating back centuries. All major components of the ECS, including cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and both synthesizing and degrading enzymes are present throughout the GI tract. Interplay between the ECS and the enteric nervous system (nervous system of the GI tract) contribute to the regulation of food intake, nausea, vomiting, gastric secretion, gastroprotection, GI motility, visceral sensation, intestinal inflammation, and cell proliferation in the gut.

Evidence suggests that dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system might play a role in intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as obesity. For example, single-nucleotide polymorphisms in genes for constituents of the endocannabinoid system—including fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the degradative enzyme for the endocannabinoid, anandamide, and cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R) — are associated with increased colonic transport and irritable bowel syndrome.

Endocannabinoid System and Gut–Brain Signaling

Endocannabinoid signaling mechanisms in the gut have been proposed to participate in the control of food intake and energy balance via indirect actions with the vagus nerve which bidirectionally transmits nerve signals between the gut and brain.

Endocannabinoids and the Gut Microbiome

Several recent studies suggest the possible interactions between the endocannabinoid system and gut bacteria, known as the microbiota. Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract is associated with increased gut lining permeability due, in part, to a dysfunction of normal intestinal epithelial barrier function, and mounting evidence suggests a role for the endocannabinoid system in these processes. A healthy endocannabinoid system helps support a healthy and happy gut.

Medical food development by dietetic management of the endocannabinoid system through dietary sources of β-caryophyllene School of Health Sciences.  University of South Australia. Traditional Medicine and Modern Medicine Vol. 3, No. 4 (2020) 213–221

A grocery bag filled with healthy food

How to Improve Your Gut Health

Restore your gut health by taking steps to rebuilding your gut’s microbiome and lining:

  • Eat fiber-rich and probiotic packed foods to support the good bacteria. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Fermented foods such as yogurt reintroduce lactobacilli, a gut-benefitting bacteria, which helps tip the balance to fewer enterobacterium, a type of bacteria linked with inflammation.

  • Get exercise. Studies show that getting regular exercise positively impacts the gut bacteria diversity outside of diet and function in relation to overall wellness.

  • Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking too much can have a negative impact on your gut microbiome. It’s also associated with intestinal inflammation. 

  • Reduce stress levels. Earlier, we mentioned how strong the brain-gut connection is. Research has proven that anxiety and depression are affected by what goes on in your gut, and vice versa. Finding healthy ways to manage your mental health and stress levels will benefit both your mind and your body. 

  • Consider adding supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking a probiotic or other supplements that support your gut health and function. Natural herbal supplements such as ginger, peppermint, L-glutamine, artichoke leaf extract and beta-caryophyllene have been proven to help relieve GI symptoms, and help the gut heal and recover its balance.

Beta-caryophyllene and Gut Health

Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural and safe food-derived compound that works with the body to enhance endocannabinoid health. Beta-Caryophyllene, or BCP, is found in medicinal and food plants such as hemp, black pepper, clove oil, hops, oregano, rosemary, and cinnamon. It has been proven to have powerful antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti- inflammatory properties. Research strongly suggests a role for the endocannabinoid system in Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are expressed in normal human colon tissue. Beta-Caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors and acts as a full agonist (a drug or medication that is highly efficient in binding to and activating receptors). This makes Beta-Caryophyllene a promising therapeutic supplement in treating chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Blair Medical Group has developed a liposomal version of BCP (BCPlus Liposomal Blend) that is readily absorbed by the body. The oral form of Liposomal BCP delivers enhanced absorption and distribution to all parts of the body including the immune system, brain, liver, fat tissue, and the gastrointestinal tract. The liposomal form does this by imitating a natural cell membrane that can be easily absorbed by the body. The BCPlus Immunity Blend capsules contain ginger and tumeric, and have an enteric coating that helps protect your GI system. Read the blog post for more information on this powerful blend!



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