We can all get upset stomachs, or have digestive issues from time to time. These can come on quickly, and possibly go on to be long-standing.
We can also experience our moods changing constantly and quickly, from major highs to depressing lows. Mood shifts can be hard to predict in ourselves, and others.
One of the best strategies for dealing with both these erratic states is realizing that our gut health and emotions can be linked and that there is a lot we can do to support both.
Gut Health And Emotions
Scientific studies are providing answers to gut-related turmoil, and it seems that people who are less lonely may be able to stay in control of their gut health easier. It also appears that being wise (or by having more wisdom in life), can give us more control over any potential loneliness that may be headed our way. (1)
The “microbiota-gut-brain axis” is a bidirectional signaling mechanism that connects the gastrointestinal and central nervous systems and is influenced by neural, hormonal, and immunological factors. (19) Disruptions in stress response and behavior, ranging from emotional arousal, affective behavior, and motivation to higher-order cognitive functions like decision-making, may be caused by changes in these processes. (1,14)
Tanya Nguyen, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego has been studying the gut-brain axis, and how the gut microbiome's interaction with the brain affects healthy aging.
Nguyen and her colleagues’ study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, is the first to show loneliness and wisdom related to gut microbial diversity and composition, sparking potential to study new treatments for the mind and body. (1)
The study included 184 community-dwelling adults (28–97 years). Participants completed a 25-min structured interview that included questions about general health, depression, and anxiety, and cognitive functioning.
For the clinical assessment they completed self-validated scales of the following:
- Social support
- Social engagement
- Physical well-being (1)
Fecal samples were obtained using at-home self-collection kits, and samples were immediately frozen and stored at −80°C. (1)
After analysis, higher levels of loneliness and lower levels of compassion, wisdom, social support, and social engagement were associated with decreased phylogenetic richness and diversity of the gut microbiome, especially in older adults. (1,2)
Loneliness may result in decreased stability of the gut microbiome and, consequently, reduced resistance and resilience to stress-related disruptions, leading to downstream physiological effects on the body. (1,3,5)
More Words To The Wise
Wisdom is a multifaceted human characteristic with affective (or compassionate), reflective, and cognitive dimensions:
- The affective dimension refers to the presence of positive emotions and behaviors toward others, such as empathy and acts of compassion.
- The reflective dimension is the ability to engage in reflective thinking and the development of self-awareness.
- The cognitive dimension refers to one's knowledge about the world and comprehension of the deeper meaning of life events (15)
Wisdom comes with age, but also with maturity, and hindsight can make life so much clearer.
Only The Lonely
We should feel a sense of belonging to our neighborhood, our families, and in our workplaces and we should all have rich experiences and feel love and creativity in our lives.
Loneliness and social isolation are important public health risks, linked to worse emotional, cognitive, and physical health, and functional decline. (4)
Feelings of inadequacy are heightened when we feel alone and lonely. Paranoia can grip us as a result of our isolation from others.
Wanting or needing approval from others on our efforts, our appearance, or our aspirations can be deemed normal, but needing this constantly can also lead to loneliness, as we give away our power to the whims of others.
CBDa Can Help Gut Health In A Number Of Ways
Everything passes, yet to get us through times of anxiety, loneliness, or stress, we can all need something extra. For gut health and emotions, as the precursor to CBD, CBDa can help in many ways:
- Help handle our moods and calm our nerves
- Makes us confident, patient, strong, and calming to ourselves
- Helps resilience by getting through difficult times, in turn possibly making us wiser (16,17)
CBDa may be even better than CBD because of its better affinity and bioavailability, making it 100 times more effective.
How To Look After Gut Health
The microorganisms that reside in our intestines are referred to as the "gut microbiome." In the digestive tract, an individual has between 300 and 500 different species of bacteria. Although some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many others are extremely beneficial and even necessary for a healthy body to function properly. (6)
To look after gut health, it is wise to:
- Lower stress levels
- Get more sleep, 7-8 hours
- Stay hydrated to optimize the mucosal lining of the intestines
- Eat slower to absorb nutrients better
- Take a prebiotic, to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria or a probiotic that has good live bacteria
- Check for food intolerances
- Optimize diet, by eating plenty of plant-based foods and lean protein
- Cut out large amounts of processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods
- Reduce usage of antibiotics
- Support the gut with a CBD product (6,12)
Gut Health Through CBD
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally produced within the body. CBD is also a cannabinoid.
The endocannabinoid system is intertwined throughout the digestive system and the gut. It plays a role in supporting gut motility, aiding in the uptake of food, and encouraging healthy and regulated metabolism. (8,9,17)
CBD shows great promise in improving gut function by:
- Promoting the growth of good bacteria (7)
- Regulating the endocannabinoid system (7)
- Enhancing gut barrier function (7)
- Reducing gut hyper-motility (10)
- Reducing nausea and bloating (11)
- Strengthening gut barrier function (12)
- Helping to prevent damage of intestinal lining (13)
It's an instinct to want to do nice things for our health by looking after our brains, our emotions, and our physical bodies. By understanding the links between the gut microbiome and some psychosocial factors that have significant health and well-being implications, we can cross a big health hurdle, possibly using CBDa in the process. (1,17)