Your gut is a key part of optimal health, not only does it operate your digestive health, but it works to help regulate your hormonal, mental and immune system too! Your gut is also known as your second brain and is linked to your endocannabinoid system. The two, are vital in the regulation of the body; by taking care of them and understanding how they work you can improve your overall health and wellbeing.
The Endocannabinoid System
Your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) contains three components, each with its own responsibilities:
- Cannabinoid Receptors line the surface of cells that are spread throughout your body. There are at least two types of receptors that work as part of your endocannabinoid system: CB1 receptors are most abundant in your central nervous system (CNS) whereas the majority of CB2 receptors are found outside of the CNS, including in your white blood cells and in the cells of your immune system.
- Endogenous Cannabinoids also known as endocannabinoids, are specialized fatty-acid-based, and are signalling chemical compounds that interact/bind with cannabinoid receptors to activate them.
- Metabolic Enzymes breakdown endocannabinoids after your body has used them.
All of the components of the ECS are present in almost every system in your body. They work together as a homeostatic regulator; this means they help maintain the optimal conditions in which your body will work in balance.
This system helps your body to respond to and address a range of conditions, many of which are linked to gut health, these include appetite, inflammation, energy, metabolism, sleep, stress, hormones and mood.
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Inside Your Gut
Your gut is lined with trillions of bacteria known as gut microbiota, and are often also referred to as gut flora. The genetic makeup of these bacterias are known as the microbiome. Prebiotics and probiotics are one of the many influencing factors that affect the makeup of your gut lining; to understand more about prebiotics and probiotics head to our article Gut Health: Prebiotics, Probiotics & Postbiotics.
These biotic terms are often used interchangeably when discussing the bacteria, viruses and fungi living in your gut, but the key difference in your microbiome are the genes that make up your microbiota.
The microbiome has effects on your body beyond your digestive system; 70 percent of your immune system health is related to your gut. The bacteria living here has a huge impact on your immunity and is also linked to inflammation, metabolism, obesity and mental health conditions, specifically anxiety and depression. Baring all this in mind can help you understand why having a healthy gut can have benefits that reach far beyond just your gut and intestines.
How your Gut and Endocannabinoid System are Linked
The ECS is identified as key to maintaining homeostasis, specifically in the gut because this is one of the places where ECS receptors are located. With the science community embracing research into both gut health and the ECS, there has been recent research into the connection between the two with a focus on how they function together.
This research described the interaction between gut microbiota and ECS as creating a ‘gut barrier function.’ This means that the microbiota-endocannabinoid system can work together to become either ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘gate openers,’ with the results improving fat tissue metabolism and inflammatory responses.
Overlaps between the two are clear in regards to how the results of a healthy ECS can affect components of your digestive system and gut health. The endocannabinoids that your body produces contribute to energy balance, metabolism and body weight, and research shows that they also appear to have control over gastric emptying, gastrointestinal motility, satiety, appetite, regulation of fat intake, and blood sugar response.
Metabolism & Obesity
The gut microbiome and ECS affect a number of similar conditions to do with metabolism, so when they work together it helps them stay in tune with your body and maintain your metabolic health.
Metabolism can affect your susceptibility to disorders like obesity. This is an area where research has identified that your gut microbiome and ECS are key factors in its development.
The ECS’s CB1 receptor specifically has been the focus of research relating to glucose metabolism and weight loss. By manipulating the function of the CB1 receptor, research has identified that the ECS is a regulator of your glucose metabolism.
CBD for a Healthy Gut
CBD stimulates your ECS, therefore adding it to your diet could make a great addition to your health regime. Improving your gut health could potentially promote a healthier immune system and metabolism. Including CBD it in your diet could help improve your digestion, reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
In order to target your gut health specifically, edibles and capsules are a recommended method of consumption. If you suffer from chronic health conditions, such as autoimmune or inflammatory bowel diseases, some benefits include longer-lasting effects and localized absorption in the intestines and digestive system.
Getting creative with your own CBD Edible recipes means that you can select ingredients that your gut will love and combine them with CBD to make your own edibles. Making your own DIYs means you can target your nutrient and vitamin deficiency and make a personalized edible recipe that works for you. Need inspiration or don't know where to start? Our article Top CBD Recipes for a Healthy Gut highlight some of our favourites!