Good gut health is the secret to balance in the body. Far from just supporting healthy digestion, the gut is responsible for the functioning of a number of physiological processes – regulating hormones; eliminating toxic material; regulating oxidative stress; reducing inflammation; regulating metabolism and boosting immunity. A healthy gut means a healthy body and what is more important to an athlete?
The gut microbiome is like your body’s very own eco-system and is made up of microbes (bacteria). A balanced eco-system is a healthy eco-system and so it’s important that the good bacteria in our gut outweighs the bad bacteria to ensure the optimal functioning of our body – and our brain.
While research is ongoing, growing evidence points to the importance of the gut-brain connection. Linked through the endocannabinoid system, the gut and brain communicate with each other to support our overall wellbeing. With its ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, CBD helps to support this connection.
Unsurprisingly, the gut’s connection to the brain means it is affected by stress and anxiety. An adrenal response that is triggered by our brain, stress is often felt in our gut. “My stomach is in a knot” is more than just a saying – it’s an acknowledgement that we feel stress in this part of our body.
Stress can affect digestion, which results in either constipation or diarrhea, and in some cases it can even trigger muscle spasms in the bowel, causing pain. CBD has earned a reputation as an effective natural anti-anxiety because of its ability to boost the production of serotonin – our body’s feel-good chemical. Unlike selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), CBD delivers these benefits without the negative side-effects.
While CBD helps to elevate levels of serotonin in the brain, about 70% of your body’s serotonin actually lives in your gut, so supporting gut health not only improves your physical wellbeing, but has an impact on your emotional wellbeing too.
CBD works to support gut health by acting on the CB1 receptors in the brain. Stimulating these receptors is believed to help improve nutrient absorption, reduce stomach acid, regulate inflammation and protect the gut lining.
Being a natural medicine, CBD is safe to take regularly and many athletes choose to include it as part of their daily supplement routine. Whether you prefer a CBD oil, tincture or edible, tapping into the healing benefits of cannabidiol will undoubtedly help to boost your athletic performance.