GUT HEALTH & YOUR ECS
Food contains nutrients that nourish our bodies and give us fuel to be our brightest selves. Have you noticed how sometime after a meal you may feel energized and other times you feel like you need a nap? Your experience after eating is indicative of your bodies ability to metabolize, digest and absorb your meal.
Your endocannabinoind system (ECS) plays many important roles in sustaining your state of wellness and combating inflammation, and is also crucial for proper digestion of the food you eat. Fueling this master regulatory system with proper nutrients is vital for sustained health. The ECS play an important role in your bodies ability to stimulate hunger, metabolize, digest and absorb the nutrients from your diet.
Nourishing your body with proper nutrients can sometimes feel like a lot of work however it is important to remember every bite is an opportunity to be a brighter and better you. In functional medicine we recognize you are not just what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb. You can sit down to eat the most nutritious meal however if you aren’t able to absorb the nutrients from the food, you will simply excrete them and flush it down the toilet. There are many ways that digestion can become impaired; low stomach acid, sluggish bile, microbial overgrowth, however there are a few practices that you can incorporate to support your body in this vital process:
SLOW MINDFUL EATING - consuming food in a stressed state signals to the body it is time to “fight or flight” and the release of important digestive juices is impaired. Slowing down and taking a few moments before you take your first bites, signals to the body it is safe and time to “rest and digest”.
CHEW CHEW CHEW - The more you chew the food in your mouth, the smaller the food particles become and the easier it is for your body to continue to break down the food and then absorb the nutrients.
FUEL YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM- Your ECS regulates inflammation along the GI tract as well as the secretion of digestive fluids and motility, the movement of food along the digestive tract. Ensuring your ECS is primed can have a big impact on your ability to absorb and digest the food you eat.
FUEL YOUR ENDO CANNA SYSTEM
Your endocannabinoid system produces endocannabinoids which are messenger molecules that facilitate the communication of this system. Endocannabinoids are biosynthesized from an Omega 6 essential fatty acid, arachidonic acid. We often consume high amounts of Omega 6 and while necessary, in abundance these fats are often pro inflammatory. Studies indicate more arachidonic acid does not lead to more endocannabinoids in the brain. This is where the importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acid comes in to play and balancing your consumption of these two compounds. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two types of Omega 3 fatty acids, have been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids as well as enhance endocannabinoid receptor binding.
Follow these simple guidelines to balance your intake of pro inflammatory vs anti inflammatory fats:
Avoid : Grain fed animal products, processed canola, soy and safflower oil, deep fried foods
Enjoy: Hemp seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, wild caught fish, salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, algae omega supplement.
2. SUPPLEMENT WITH CANNABIDIOL
Cannabidiol, CBD, is a plant compound extracted from hemp or cannabis that has many beneficial properties with no psychoactive effect. CBD increases levels of endocannabinoids your body naturally produces and allows them to exhibit greater biological effect. When there is inflammation along the GI tract, your body releases endocannabinoids to help combat and regulate levels of inflammation. Research has found multiple digestive disorders including IBS and Leaky Gut Syndrome, may be linked to a deficiency in endocannabinoids. Supplementing with CBD and supporting your body to produce these molecules can have a big impact on your experience of wellness.
As the ancient greek physician Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut.” Supporting your body in this vital process will absolutely have you feeling more energy from the food you consume and have you continue along your path of wellness. Please reach out with any questions!