For a long time, the gut was thought of as nothing more than the place food went. Important, but not really as vital as other parts of the body. But recent research has revealed otherwise. Your gut is absolutely vital to your health. It’s directly connected to your brain, which means it’s an essential component in your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health.
Your body is filled with systems and organs that must be functioning at their best for good health. The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a big part of that.
The ECS is a biological system that relies on endocannabinoids to function. It maintains the homeostasis or balance in your body, helping to maintain and regulate essential functions like sleep, appetite, memory, mood, metabolism and digestion. Obviously, when this system becomes unhealthy or unbalanced, the results can be catastrophic.
Unfortunately, stress and other factors in the modern world can upset the health of the ECS.
About the Human Gut
Your body is full of tiny bugs known as microorganisms. In fact, there are
38,000,000,000,000 (38 trillion) microorganisms in your body, most of them in your gut. This tiny universe is known as the microbiome and the microorganisms help transform nutrients so they can be digested as well as performing other duties. The balance of this bacteria is absolutely essential for good health.
Your gut and your brain are constantly communicating through the vagus nerve and through the ECS. In fact, the gut is often thought of as a second brain. So, it’s not at all surprising that your gut microbiome influences everything from your mental and emotional health to your immune system.
Obviously keeping your gut healthy is important. There are lots of ECS receptors in the gut. So, if your gut is unhealthy, then it can hamper the uptake of endocannabinoids. This can affect essential functions that are regulated by the ECS such as:
- Intestinal inflammation
- Gut permeability or the movement of food particles through the gut barrier.
- Bacterial balance
- Cancer cell growth and spread
Obviously, if the ECS receptors in your gut aren’t functioning properly because of damage or disease, it will also affect the functioning of your ECS overall.
Stress is another important factor in gut health. Reducing stress and anxiety may improve gut health and microbiome bacterial balance even further.
How to Care for Your Gut and the ECS
To be healthy, you need to learn how to improve the health of your gut by nurturing your ECS. Here are some strategies to try:
- Eat plenty of probiotics foods like natto, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh to encourage a healthy bacterial balance in your gut.
- Eat foods that are rich in cannabinoid and terpene such as black pepper, dark chocolate, cinnamon, clove, lavender, rosemary, oregano, basil, and black truffle.
- Make sure you’re getting essential fatty acids, which are the building blocks your body uses to create endocannabinoids.
- Learn to manage your stress with relaxing strategies like meditation or yoga.
What is clear at this stage is that if your gut is unhealthy, it will have a profound effect on your overall health. So, it’s vital that you look for effective strategies and remedies that work with your body and physical condition.
Current Understanding of Gut Microbiota in Mood Disorders: An Update of Human Studies: