Interesting facts about the microbiota
- The human microbiota consists of trillions of cells, including innumerable bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Scientists estimate that more than a thousand bacteria live in the human gut.
- Our relationship with the microbiota is symbiotic – a mutually beneficial relationship, which vital for the survival of both.
- The vast majority of microbes live in the gut, with vast populations also found on the skin.
- As unique as humans are, so are the microbes we live with – we all have a different mix of them.
- We get our first batch of bacteria as we pass through the birth canal. Babies born via C-section don’t get these bacteria, which may have detrimental effects.
- The microorganisms living in the gut weigh about 4 pounds.
- The microbiota plays an important role in immunity, nutrition, behavior, and brain function.
- The various bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms must be in perfect balance for optimal health.
Why is a healthy microbiome important?
Beneficial bacteria in the gut build a strong immune system that can combat disease and infection. A healthy immune system can effectively defend against viruses and bacteria. A healthy immune response is one that can distinguish between harmful and beneficial microbes.
Gut bacteria is essential for humans to take in nutrients – they break down complex molecules in our food so we can absorb the nutrients. Without them, eating is pointless. The more varied your diet is, the larger the variety of microbes live in your gut.
Disturbances of bacteria in the gut have been associated with health conditions like obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and type 2 diabetes.
Gut microbes are part of the unconscious system that regulates behavior. Scientists have found that these microbes play a major role in healthy brain function and mental health, including social interaction and stress management.
Microbiota and the endocannabinoid system
The promise of cannabis-based treatment for intestinal disorders
What can I do to support my ECS and have a healthy gut?
- Reduce stress levels, especially chronic stress.
- Take a probiotic supplement – do research to make sure you buy a top-quality product.
- Eat a diet rich in essential fats. Include fatty fish, nuts and seeds in your diet. Also include foods rich in endocannabinoids like herbs and spices, dark chocolate and cruciferous vegetables (those in the cabbage family).
- Consider taking a phytocannabinoid supplement, like CBD, THC, CBG or others. Many phytocannabinoids possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Do your due diligence before you buy, though. There are many products on the market that don’t contain what they claim to.
Should I fortify my microbiome and ECS with CBD?
The recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system and its importance for our general health, plus the deregulation of cannabis, means there is a whole new range of treatments for many difficult-to-treat ailments. However, the science is still very young on CBD and cannabis medicine in general. There isn’t enough scientific evidence proving the efficacy of these compounds to treat problems associated to gut health. As a result, the FDA has not approved CBD to treat any ailments related to gut health.
That being said, there is little-to-no harm in trying CBD as it is relatively affordable, non-toxic, non-addictive, side effects are mild and rare, and there is no risk of overdose. With this kind of safety profile, CBD is a natural remedy that is generally safe to try.
If you decide to try CBD, consult your medical professional first, especially if you are currently on medication. CBD, THC and other cannabinoids can interfere with certain medications.
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