Exercise increases the body’s own ‘cannabis-like’ substance, which reduces chronic inflammation
Exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-like substances, which in turn helps reduce inflammation and could potentially help treat conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
In a new study, Experts at the University of Nottingham found that the exercise intervention in people with arthritis not only reduced their pain, but also the levels of inflammatory substances (called cytokines).
It also increased the levels of cannabis-like substances produced by their own bodies called endocannabinoids. Interestingly, exercise brought about these changes by altering the microbes in the gut.
Exercise is known to reduce chronic inflammation, which in turn causes many illnesses, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, but little is known about how it reduces inflammation.
A group of scientists, led by Professor Ana Valdes of the university’s medical school, tested 78 people with arthritis. Thirty-eight of them did 15 minutes of muscle-building exercises a day for six weeks, and 40 did nothing.
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By the end of the study, the participants who did the exercise intervention had not only reduced their pain, but they also had more microbes in their guts of the type that produce anti-inflammatory substances, lower levels of cytokines and higher levels of endocannabinoids.
The increase in endocannabinoids was strongly linked to changes in gut microbes and anti-inflammatory substances produced by gut microbes called SCFAS.
In fact, at least a third of the anti-inflammatory effects of the gut microbiome were due to increased endocannabinoids.
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Doctor Amrita Vijay, researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and first author of the article, published in Intestinal microbes, said: “Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-like substances. Which can have a positive impact on many conditions.
“As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements grows, it’s important to know that simple lifestyle interventions like exercise can modulate endocannabinoids. “