Exercise promotes the production of ‘cannabis-like’ molecules in the body, research finds

It’s no secret that exercise is great from a health preservation standpoint, but new research has shown that it may also reduce inflammation by altering the gut microbiome and increasing levels of endocannabinoids, a ‘cannabis-like’ substance produced in the body.

As explained in a research paper (Going through ScienceDaily) Posted in Intestinal microbes in November 2021, researchers at the University of Nottingham tested 78 people with arthritis. Thirty-eight people did 15 minutes of “muscle building” exercise each day for six weeks, while the remaining 40 did nothing. “Nothing” in this case means no exercise.

The researchers found that the group who exercised not only felt less pain at the end of the experience, but also had lower cytokine levels and increased endocannabinoid levels. The former is a small protein that is secreted by immune cells and certain other types of cells that promote inflammation, while the latter are molecules produced by the body that have an effect similar to cannabinoids.

Interestingly, these beneficial effects were achieved by the body by altering the structure of the gut microbiome. As ScienceDaily explains, “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 was due to the increase in endocannabinoids. “

“As interest in CBD oil and other supplements grows, it’s important to know that simple lifestyle interventions like exercise can modulate endocannabinoids,” added Dr. Amrita Vijay, first author of the article.

Person performing a kettlebell cup squat in a gym

Exercise can improve overall health and help people sleep better

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We are only just beginning to understand what effect the gut has on our body and our mental health. A lot of research has been done in the field, and a growing body of evidence suggests that taking care of your bowels is beneficial, not just because it helps you have a bowel movement.

That said, most of the research on the subject is relatively new. Long-term studies are yet to be conducted, and without them we cannot conclusively say how important the effect of the gut microbiome is on the body.

One thing is for sure: exercise can help you lose weight and build muscle as long as you are consistent in your efforts and working out. If it also helps reduce inflammation by altering the gut microbiome, so much the better.

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