CBD and Gut Health
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Every person has around 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. Together, they are known as your gut biome and they play a crucial role in your overall health. With that being said, there are also many kinds of bacteria that can be detrimental to your health and can cause all sorts of diseases. The gut biome is incredibly complex and connected to many other functions in your body. This is why it’s important to keep on top of it. There are links between gut health and the immune system, mental health, mood, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. There are many factors that can contribute to the types of bacteria found in the digestive tract including the kind of food you eat and the sleep you get, many people turn to supplements to help boost their gut health. There are also some claims that you can take CBD for gut health and that it can assist with some conditions that arise from poor gut health. However, are those claims valid? That’s what we’re about to find out.
Why is good gut health important?
Good gut health is essential to overall health. This is because the gut influences a wide range of other bodily functions and can seriously impact your quality of life. In fact, having poor gut health can lead to many serious issues down the line. Conversely, possessing the right amount and the right kind of bacteria can do wonders for your health. According to a 2013 study on gut bacteria, having a wide range of these kinds of “good” bacteria can enhance your immune function, improve symptoms of depression, help combat obesity, among other things.
What constitutes good/bad gut health?
There are many signs that are associated with bad gut health and many ways that you can damage your gut biome. An unhealthy gut can manifest itself in many ways but there are a handful of common signs.
An upset stomach is one of the more common signs. Now if you see this and it sounds familiar, rest assured — stomach aches are normal and they can happen from time to time. Getting a stomach ache doesn’t necessarily mean you have poor gut health, but it can be something to watch out for, especially if it’s a recurring problem. Some of the disturbances include gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn. Remember, a balanced, healthy gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.
Another sign of poorly maintained gut health is unintentional weight gain. If you notice that you are gaining weight without much change in diet and exercise, it may be due to an imbalance in your gut. That’s because an unhealthy gut can reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, regulate your blood sugar, and store your fat. Weight loss may be triggered by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. On the other hand, weight gain can result from insulin resistance or the urge to overeat because of a decrease in nutrient absorption.
Your gut health can also impact your quality of sleep. An unhealthy gut can prompt insomnia or disrupted sleep. If this persists, it can lead to chronic fatigue. Your gut health’s impact on sleep is significant. This is because the majority of the hormone serotonin (which impacts your sleep and your mood) in your body is produced in the gut. As such any damage to your gut will have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep.
Autoimmune issues can also be triggered if you are not careful to take care of your gut. One study, in particular, found that there is a strong link between the gut and the immune system. According to the research, an unhealthy gut may increase chronic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This sort of inflammatory and autoimmune response means the body signal that there is an intruder when, in reality, there is no intruder. This will cause your body to attack itself, which can cause irreversible damage.
Not taking care of your gut health can also have an effect on your skin. For instance, there are cases where skin conditions like eczema were due to an imbalance in the gut. The issue occurs when there is inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies. This inflammation will cause the leaking of certain nutrients into the rest of the body called leaky gut. Ultimately, this will cause the skin to be irritated and may prompt skin conditions like eczema.
Food intolerances, which are different than food allergies, can be linked to the mismanagement of gut health. While food allergies are caused by the immune system’s response to specific foods, food intolerances are usually the result of poor-quality bacteria in the gut. Eating food that you develop an intolerance to can lead to indigestion, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
What are the causes of bad gut health?
There are many possible causes of bad gut health, though they are all related to the balance of bacteria in your system. The bacteria in your gut can be categorized into one of four groups: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, or Proteobacteria. Each of these categories plays an important role in maintaining the health of your gut and each will require different nutrients. When the gut contains too many harmful bacteria and not enough good bacteria, an imbalance can occur. This is called dysbiosis. So, what causes an abundance of harmful bacteria? It can be any number of these reasons:
Not eating a range of food:
A diverse diet is very important for maintaining gut health because it will be rich in many different kinds of nutrients. Also, if there is a lack of diversity in the gut bacteria, your body will have difficulty recovering from harmful influences like infections and antibiotics. By including whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you will develop a more diverse gut. In fact, it has been shown that changing your diet to include more of these foods may alter your gut constitution within a few days.
Not enough prebiotics in your diet:
Not including enough prebiotics in your diet can also negatively impact your gut health. Prebiotics are a kind of fibre that moves through the body without being digested and help promote the growth and activity of good bacteria. Some foods that include prebiotic fibre are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Prebiotic fibre supplements also promote the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are the main nutrient source for the cells in your colon. Research has shown that when are absorbed into your blood, they increase metabolic and digestive health and reduce inflammation.
Consuming too much alcohol:
It’s general knowledge that alcohol is addictive, very toxic, and can have harmful physical and mental effects when over-consumed. Regarding gut health, alcohol can cause serious problems. In one study, researchers examined the gut health of 41 alcoholics and compared them to 10 people who consume little to no alcohol. They found that 27% of the alcoholics has dysbiosis, while it was not present in any of the 10 people who don’t drink.
Antibiotics are extremely helpful in combating many infections and diseases. However, it is important to use antibiotics in moderation. This is because they affect both good and bad bacteria which can lead to changes in the composition of the gut biome. Antibiotics typically cause a decline in the number of good bacteria. With 1-4 weeks after taking antibiotics, most bacteria will return to their normal levels. However, their numbers often don’t return to the level they were pre-antibiotic use.
Lack of physical activity:
Physical activity is important for maintaining overall health, but it can especially improve gut health. Studies suggest that regular exercise can alter and diversify gut bacteria. Regular physical exercise can promote the growth of good gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia.
How can CBD help with gut health?
CBD can help with a number of conditions that arise from poor gut health. One of those conditions is called Ulcerative colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease. This gastrointestinal disorder is caused by an overly active immune system’s response to the gut biome. Some of the symptoms of the disorder include cramping, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fatigue. According to a study from 2011, Cannabidiol can reduce intestinal inflammation through the control of the neuroimmune axis. CBD has been shown to prevent intestinal inflammation before it begins.
Another condition that CBD has shown potential in is Crohn’s disease — a disorder that triggers the immune system to attack healthy gut bacteria instead of unhealthy bacteria. The resulting inflammation can cause intestinal injuries and ulcers. Some of the symptoms attributed to Crohn’s disease include abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, weight loss, and bloody spool. A study in 2018 found that CBD can significantly improve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Interestingly, the study also cites that CBD does not have any effect on gut inflammation. With that being said, there is much to be discovered when it comes to CBD and the available information is yet inconclusive.
There are also links between CBD and its ability to manage IBS, otherwise known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The theory is that IBS is one of the chronic health conditions that are caused by a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system — the system within which CBD chiefly operates. The symptoms of IBS include bloating, excessive gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. According to the available science, those who have IBS have elevated TRVP1 nerve fibres, which are believed to contribute to the hypersensitivity of the GI tract. CBD has been shown to increase anandamide production, which acts on TRVP1 receptors, while also preventing enzymes from breaking it down. This process desensitizes TRVP1 nerve fibres.
What are the benefits of CBD over traditional treatments?
Unlike THC, CBD provides relief that is non-psychoactive, meaning you won’t feel the “buzz” or a “high” that is typically attributed to marijuana. Because CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system or ECS, which is believed to influence a host of bodily functions, CBD can have a positive effect on overall health and wellbeing. The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, and CBD helps promote that balance. This is especially important for gut health, which is all about maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut biome. Additionally, CBD is naturally produced. This means that there is less risk associated with unknown chemicals and substances entering your body. Finally, unlike prescription medication, CBD has far fewer side effects.
How much CBD should I use for the gut health issues I want to treat?
There is no straightforward answer when it comes to how much CBD you should be taking. Dosage will be different depending on the condition, how receptive your body is to the product, and your physique. As a starting point, it’s best to start slow with a mild dosage. Be sure to keep track of the effects and if you require an increase in dosage, do so gradually.
Ultimately, the best method for maintaining good gut health is a combination of a balanced diet and exercise. However, additional treatments like supplements and CBD can be a way to boost your body’s natural processes. With that being said, if you are experiencing more severe symptoms, we recommend that you reach out to your health care practitioner as they can provide you with sound medical diagnoses and advice.
DISCLAIMER: Information and products presented by resolveCBD are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. Always consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs. Products are intended to be used as directed, by individuals who are 19 years of age or older.