The gut is so in fashion these days for almost everything health.
It turns out we've been looking in the wrong places for many issues.
Every week, there's a new study showing how our gut is intimately tied to some other part of the body.
Some of it is pretty amazing if not counterintuitive.
Then comes CBD or Cannabidiol.
It's everywhere now...but how does it affect the gut?
Turns out in a very big way.
Ways that affect all the other systems of our bodies.
We'll even look at brand new research as a powerful example of its effect on metabolism!
If you want to go right to safety screened CBD from some of the biggest brands:
Otherwise, let's look at CBD and the gut here:
Let's get started.
The gut is a pretty nondescript term for our entire digestive tract.
We mean the gut biome or the 1000's of species of bacteria that work with (and sometimes against) us.
This is where the fascinating research is happening these days.
They just found another 100 new species that we didn't know existed before:
Pretty much disregarded until the last few decades, these bacteria have been shown to have many powerful effects in our body and brain.
The core functions include (more is learned every day):
Let's look at each of these in a little more detail since we'll be touching base later on how CBD impacts them.
You always get more detail on how CBD supports the microbiome of gut bacteria here.
This might the gut's biggest role.
Think about it.
The minute our food is cut or an animal dies, bacteria counts beings to explode higher.
The first line of defense to most outside invaders will be in the gut.
It has to quickly decide what is a friend and what is a foe.
Our lives depend on it.
We've all had food poisoning at one point.
It really is poison in that it can kill you!
There's a complicated web of interaction between our intestinal lining and the friendly bacteria that reside there.
They form a protective film on our intestinal wall and help to decide what gets through and what doesn't!
These families of different bacteria are constantly jockeying for turf against each other and outsiders.
Here's a fascinating summary of the many different ways that gut flora (all the bacteria present) affect our immune system:
Some key takeaways:
You can read all about CBD and autoimmune disease here but the key takeaway is this...
New evidence is pointing to autoimmune and inflammatory causes all the way up to dementia and Alzheimer's.
This may be THE health focus of our foreseeable future.
The bacteria in our gut act as our mini-factories for nutrients needed throughout the body.
They are known to synthesize some important vitamins:
A study blocked biotin in rats which caused pattern hair loss. They removed the gut bacteria that create biotin and it resulted in total hair loss!
That's just the tip of the iceberg.
There's a much more complicated level below these commonly known vitamins that rely on gut bacteria.
Butyrate, propionate, and acetate are but a few.
You can learn all about this role here:
We're only starting to scratch the surface of the incredibly complicated interplay between gut bacteria and our health.
Just adding two strains of bacteria to the undernourished group improved their growth!
Finally...and maybe most importantly...
There's only one way out (aside from sweating and perspiration).
All the toxins and waste material from our bodies and brains must ultimately leave via the gut.
This is a complicated system since the lining has to be very careful not to let in bad actors.
The build-up of toxins and waste at the lining can cause inflammation which makes this passage complicated.
We'll get into that shortly but first...if the gut is so involved in many modern diseases, what's going on?
Keep in mind that our gut flora is under considerable attack from our modern world.
But the biggest culprits would be preservatives and pesticides.
Think of what a preservative really is.
It's a bacteria killer!
Fresh food whether fruit, vegetable, or meat immediately starts to break down.
The process of "breaking down" is the very definition of what bacteria do in our world.
If you can keep bacteria from breaking down food for days, weeks, months, or even years, that's a powerful weapon against bacteria.
That's a wonder of chemistry really.
Here's the issue.
The bacteria in our gut...you know the ones that help balance our immune system, make vitamins, and can even directly affect your mood???
Yea, they get hit by preservatives as well.
If the gut bacteria is intimately tied to almost aspects of our body's health, what's the impact of our food system's big experiment?
Just some quick snippets from a growing army of research:
Mice fed common preservatives showed significant effects which we're governed by gut flora.
The same preservatives fed to mice without gut bacteria did not have an effect.
This leads the researchers to believe it was a function of altering the gut bacteria mix.
Sulfites were shown to negatively affect 4 beneficial gut bacteria,
More importantly, they used levels that were considered "safe" for human consumption.
Looking at all the research on preservatives, gut bacteria, and inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, it may help explain why we've seen a surge over the last 40 years of allergies and autoimmune diseases.
The net net...
We won't even get into antibiotics, pesticides, and various chemicals.
Getting closer. Bear with us.
We all have a naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system in our bodies.
We share with it with most living things (even sea urchins).
Here's a quick picture:
The signature of the endocannabinoid system is written all over the process in our gut!
In fact, many of the issues that occur in the gut these days may be tied to its regulatory boss:
Maybe most importantly, the endocannabinoid system is being shown to play a crucial role in the bi-directional communication between the brain and gut.
Some researchers call our gut the "second brain" since large amounts of neurotransmitters are actually created there.
Furthermore, we're finding that the tail may wag the dog.
There's even interaction between the endocannabinoid system and the gut bacteria (of course!).
Simply put, the endocannabinoid system is intimately tied into many aspects of gut health:
You can read all about the endocannabinoid system and the immune system here.
A brand new piece of research found that the presence of certain cells in the gut slows metabolism and increases risk for related disease.
When that cell type wasn't as prevalent...
Wow! Their assessment...
What does that have to do with CBD?
Oh, just this:
Let's look at CBD and the gut now.
That is why we're here.
There is a lot of research in terms of CBD and gut health and issues.
As we discussed in much detail on our CBD and inflammation page, excess inflammation keeps popping up across many different diseases.
The current theory is that low level (bordering on a high level) inflammation, if long term, can translate into a host of issues across the body and brain.
This figures into the whole "leaky gut" mechanism where constant inflammation in the gut allows breaches in the intestinal wall where bad bacteria can enter the body and cause havoc.
CBD is showing a great deal of promise here.
Let's start with actual inflammation in the gut:
To break this down, CBD acted to reduce gut inflammation via the PPAR pathway.
The effects of CBD were positive across a range of immune inflammation actors including macrophages, mast cells, and more.
The mast cell is interesting since that is where histamine and allergic responses are generated.
Back to our "leaky gut" mechanism.
Between the cells of our intestinal lining, there are gaps called "junctions".
This is where bad things can get through under inflammation or damage to our intestinal walls.
CBD is showing promise in helping
CBD was actually increasing the genetic production of gut proteins needed for these junctions and the cells that form the lining (first defense) of the intestinal wall!
CBD is even showing promise in repairing gut damage and regulating cell creation/destruction which is critical for specific diseases:
Apoptotic is a fancy word for cell death.
We're seeing CBD's effect on this process when needed throughout the body (psoriasis in the skin for example) so it's no surprising CBD helps to balance that process in the gut.
If you want to see a full range of interaction between CBD and gut, go here:
We'll write extensive articles on all various gut issues and CBD with links to be added here.
The gut is now becoming the axis of immune health, inflammatory response, and even nervous system balance.
What's a typical dosage of CBD for gut health and issues?
This depends on what we're trying to accomplish of course.
For general gut health and wellness, the standard dose is between 25-30 mgs of CBD.
There's even been research up to 1500mgs with a strong safety profile.
Our recommendation is to start slow and test your system.
Build up from there to get relief from the specific issue.
You can learn all about CBD dosage here.
Also, check out the CBD safety page here for information on how and when to take it.
What type of CBD works for gut wellness and issues?
We strongly recommend CBD isolate to start.
This is CBD without the other plant material in hemp.
For one, it is THC free which is important.
As we mentioned above, CBD's effect on calming the histamine pathway is part of its effectiveness in the gut.
We don't want to counter this with botanicals found naturally in hemp.
The research is mainly based on CBD by itself.
We don't have enough information yet for other cannabinoids used in conjunction.
That's the so-called "full-spectrum".
We want to start to clean for that reason.
Especially in the gut!
Otherwise, we want 3rd-party tested CBD free of:
We're trying to heal the gut after all!