Our guts are a bigger deal than you might think. Did you know the human gut is responsible for 70% of the body’s immune system? It’s where 90% of our serotonin is produced and it is home to trillions of bacteria cells. In fact, two thirds of these cells are unique to each person – making our guts a powerful contributor to our individual identity and personal wellbeing.
Gut health is a hot topic in the wellness world at the moment and rightfully so, with recent research revealing fundamental links between the mind and the digestive system. Ever feel like your emotions are playing out in your stomach? Those knot and butterfly sensations you feel when you’re stressed or nervous are down to the conversations taking place between your gut and your brain. The gut-brain axis describes a network of neurons connecting the human enteric nervous system (located in the gastrointestinal tract) and the central nervous system.
When we feel an emotion like stress, the body releases cortisol and we enter a fight-flight mode. This neuron release characterises a change in the gut’s ENS, which alters the normal speed of digestion and leads to physiological discomfort and tension that feels knot-like. This connection also explains why IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a gastrointestinal condition, is often associated with psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.
So, taking care of our gut is more than just aiding digestion – it impacts illness and infection, and helps our heads feel a little happier too. A major way that the brain and gut link with one another is down to a third system: the body’s ECS. Our endocannabinoid system plays an integral part in healthy gut function due to its effects on the CB1 and CB2 receptors – located in both the CNS and ENS. The ECS is designed to regulate all bodily functions, from mood to appetite, stress and digestion. Keeping this system as balanced as possible is key to a healthy gut.
‘Leaky gut syndrome’ is a commonly known digestive condition whereby bacteria and toxins are able to leak through the intestinal wall, which can lead to symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, skin problems and all-round digestive issues. It is recognised that overstimulation of the CB1 receptor can increase gut permeability, which means the tight junctions on the intestinal barrier can loosen to create a leaky gut. CBD’s ability to behave as a CB1 antagonist can help patch these holes since permeability is reduced. Through regulating tight juncture function, CBD may help prevent food particles, infections, and other inflammatory products negatively affecting the body.
To add, CBD’s highly recognised anti-inflammatory properties can play a crucial role in keeping our guts clean and healthy. These qualities are particularly helpful to those who suffer from IBS; a disorder that can be triggered by poor diet, stress and hormonal changes. Current treatments for IBS include probiotics (live microorganisms found in natural ingredients like yoghurt, miso and fermented vegetables), but research is starting to suggest that taking CBD alongside probiotics can help better manage the pain and discomfort associated with IBS, as well as promote the upkeep of healthy bacteria.
There is a lot of truth to the ‘you are what you eat’ mantra, since what we put in our bodies can directly affect the emotions we feel inside of them, and vice versa. It is CBD’s holistic range of qualities, from stress releaser to bacteria protector that makes it a powerful ally to gut health, and therefore the human body. Why not see how it makes you feel?