Many people think the main keys to avoiding arterial plaque and heart disease are to watch cholesterol, avoid smoking, and exercise. But what is less known is how dependent your heart health is on your gut. If you have digestive problems, multiple food sensitivities, or chronic inflammation, these could be signs your gut health is putting your heart health at risk.
If you have digestive problems, chronic pain or inflammation, multiple food sensitivities, or an autoimmune condition you aren’t managing, chances are you have a leaky gut.
Leaky gut is also referred to as intestinal permeability. It means the lining of the small intestine has become inflamed, damaged, and overly porous. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, molds, and other antigens to enter into the bloodstream. Because these compounds don’t belong in the sterile environment of the bloodstream, the immune system views them as toxic and attacks them, causing inflammation. This chronic inflammation plays a role in many health conditions, which can include artery blockages and heart disease.
Inflammation from leaky gut clogs arteries
Inflammation from leaky gut can be a primary factor in causing arterial plaque and blockages. In fact, patients with heart disease show higher incidences of leaky gut compared to those who don’t have heart disease.
Inflammation creates lesions on arterial walls. The body “bandages” them up with cholesterol, which becomes plaque. This process is known as atherosclerosis.
Inflammation not only promotes plaque in the arteries, it also weakens the stability of this plaque. Plaque stability is important to prevent heart attacks. Rupturing of plaque causes it come loose and block the artery, starving the heart of blood and leading to a heart attack.
Leaky gut is recognized as a primary factor in causing chronic inflammation that not only can clog your arteries, but also inflame your joints, cause skin issues, inflame your brain with symptoms of brain fog, depression, or memory loss, or trigger autoimmunity. Inflammation affects each of us differently depending on our genetics and environment.
Pathogens from leaky gut damage arteries
Leaky gut also promotes arterial plaque and heart disease in another way — by allowing infectious bacteria and other pathogens into the bloodstream.
Our guts are home to several pounds of a diverse array of gut bacteria. New research shows how vital these gut bacteria, called the microbiome, are to all facets of our health. The microbiome produces vital nutrients, activates anti-inflammatory plant compounds, regulates metabolism and immune function, and influences brain health and function.
Unfortunately, Americans have by far the unhealthiest microbiomes of the populations studied. Many Americans not only lack diversity in their healthy gut bacteria, but they also have too much bad, inflammatory bacteria in their guts.
Gut bacteria have also been linked to obesity, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels. People with healthy blood lipid levels also showed more diversity of gut bacteria.
Many people develop leaky gut in part because of poor stomach health and infection from h. pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. H. pylori has been linked with irregular heart rhythms (atrial fibrillation), which increases the risk of heart failure.
Don’t let your gut sabotage your heart. Ask me how we can work together to shore up the health of both with proven functional nutrition strategies.
If there is one thing Americans love, it is a prescribed diet, and the internet abounds with rules for grams of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, genetic and body type diets, calorie counting, and so on. But a recent 12-month study found focusing on whole foods and ditching sugars and processed foods resulted in weight loss and improved health for the subjects.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed it didn’t matter whether the diet was low-carb, low-fat, the genetic factors, or insulin response issues.
Here is what the subjects were told to eat:
Nutrient-dense, minimally processed, whole foods cooked at home as often as possible.
Legumes and whole grains for the low-fat group
Grass-fed meats and salmon for the low-carb group
Lean meats for the low-fat group
Nuts and nut butter
Healthy fats for the low-carb group
Low-fat dairy for the low-fat group
Hard cheeses for the low-carb group
Here is what all participants were told to avoid:
Products made from refined flour: Breads, pasta, bagels, muffins, etc.
Sugary snacks and beverages
Processed foods, even if they were low-fat or low-carb
Participants were also encouraged to follow national guidelines for physical activity but generally did not change their exercise routines.
After 12 months in the study, which included nutritional counseling and support, the low-carb group lost an average of 13 pounds while the low-fat group lost an average of 11.7 pounds. Both groups also saw improvements in body fat, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
However, individually, some members of the study gained weight while some lost as much as 50 to 60 pounds. Those who lost the most weight were the ones who reported changing their relationship with food. They no longer snacked in the car or in front of the television and they cooked at home more often.
The researchers concluded it is time to shift the national focus from calories to nutrient-dense foods.
What this study means for functional medicine
In functional medicine, we always emphasize the importance of a whole foods diet and avoiding processed foods and sugars.
However, people managing complex health conditions may need to go beyond a basic whole foods diet as grains and dairy are inflammatory in many people.
Dairy and gluten are common triggers in people with autoimmunity and many feel better avoiding them. Many people also find they react to other grains, such as corn. The lectins in legumes pose a problem to some as well.
This study is great because it cuts through the clutter of complex dietary recommendations — and the industries built on them — and shows the value of getting back to the basics of human nutrition.
If you suffer from a chronic inflammatory condition or autoimmune disease, that is a great first step. However, if you continue to have problems, you may need to temporarily follow an elimination diet to identify dietary triggers of inflammation. Ask me for more advice.
Scientists have proven what many of us have learned the hard way: Gluten, dairy, and processed foods trigger addictive responses in the same way commonly abused drugs do. The more processed (i.e., high carb) and fatty a food is, the more likely it is to cause addiction, and the most addictive foods contain cheese, with pizza taking top honors.
This is due in part to the high-glycemic load of these foods — processed carbs, like pizza crust or a donut, are rapidly absorbed by the body and quickly spike blood sugar before causing it to crash. This triggers areas of the brain as well as hormonal responses that stimulate cravings.
In fact, in a 2013 study, scientists used brain scans to observe brain function after subjects ate foods high in processed carbohydrates as well as foods low on the glycemic index, such as vegetables.
They observed that the subjects who ate the processed foods were hungrier and experienced surges and crashes in blood sugar in contrast to the low-glycemic eaters. They were also more prone to overeating and to choosing more high-glycemic foods compared to the low-glycemic eaters, whose blood sugar remained stable.
Brain scans showed the subjects eating the starchy foods also exhibited more blood flow to the right side of the brain in areas associated with reward, pleasure, and cravings in the high-glycemic eaters. This can drive people to overeat and indulge in yet more starchy foods, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
We also know high-carb foods cause imbalances in the hormones insulin and leptin, which increase hunger and promote fat storage over fat burning.
Gluten and dairy cause opioid responses
Gluten and dairy can be addictive for additional reasons — they trigger an opioid response in the brains of some people. In fact, these people may go through very uncomfortable withdrawls when they go cold turkey off these foods.
The opioid created by the digestion of milk protein is called casopmorphin while the gluten opioid is called gluteomorphin.
These food-derived opioids activate the same opioid receptors in the brain that respond to prescription pain pills and heroin.
The effect is compounded in processed cheese and processed gluten products.
The worst part of a food-based opioid sensitivity is that going gluten-free or dairy-free can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. These can include depression, mood swings, or worsened gut problems.
It is similar to heroin or pain pill withdrawals, only not as severe.
Because gluten and dairy are among the most common causes of food sensitivities, many people have to eliminate them from their diet. Although this is difficult for most everyone, for the person who also experiences opioid responses to them, going gluten-free and dairy-free can mean a couple of weeks of misery.
If this occurs, plan ahead and know you have to weather the withdrawal symptoms until you’ve kicked the addiction.
It’s important to further support yourself by avoiding high-glycemic processed foods so you don’t trigger your brain’s craving mechanisms.
Autoimmunity, a disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, is one of the most prevalent diseases today, affecting predominantly women. Traditionally, autoimmune disease was thought to be primarily a genetic disease, but research increasingly shows that while genetics play a role, intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, is also an important factor. This means your diet can determine whether you develop autoimmunity.
Examples of common autoimmune diseases include:
Type 1 diabetes
Leaky gut triggers autoimmunity
Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the intestines become damaged and overly porous, allowing bacteria, yeast, undigested foods, and other pathogens into the bloodstream where they trigger inflammation. Leaky gut keeps the immune system in a hyper zealous state. This eventually makes the immune system more likely to start attacking the body tissue it was designed to protect, causing an autoimmune condition.
People can develop leaky gut for a variety of reasons, but the most common is linked to inflammatory foods in the diet. These can include too much sugar, processed foods, junk foods, and fast foods. Also, many people have undiagnosed food sensitivities, such as to gluten, dairy, egg, or other foods. These can damage the gut lining if you have an inflammatory reaction to them.
Gluten, in particular, is notorious for its ability to cause leaky gut and trigger autoimmunity. In people who have a gluten intolerance, gluten triggers inflammation in the gut and elsewhere in the body every time they eat it. In gluten sensitive individuals, gluten also acts on messenger compounds in the intestinal wall to make it more permeable. This allows more inflammatory factors into the bloodstream, including more gluten, in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle.
For some people, simply going gluten-free can repair a leaky gut and dampen autoimmunity.
Other causes of leaky gut that trigger autoimmunity
Knowing why you have leaky gut is an important strategy in not only in repairing it, but also in dampening autoimmunity. Below are some known causes of leaky gut that can, in turn, trigger autoimmunity:
Inflammatory foods (sugars, junk foods, fast foods, etc.)
Medications (corticosteroids, antibiotics, antacids, some arthritis medications)
Infections (poor gut bacteria balance, H. pylori, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, yeast, parasites, and viruses)
Autoimmunity (although leaky gut triggers autoimmunity, autoimmunity can also cause leaky gut, especially if the immune attack is against tissues of the gut)
Repairing leaky gut can help dampen autoimmunity
Repairing leaky gut has been shown to help many people dampen autoimmunity and even put it into remission. This involves briefly following an elimination diet to figure out which foods are triggering inflammation in you, following guidelines to restore or maintain oral tolerance, and including some nutritional compounds to support the healing of your gut lining.
How do you know if you have leaky gut?
Many people aren’t aware they have leaky gut. The condition has only recently been accepted as valid by conventional medicine, and many doctors may still not know about it. However, some symptoms to look out for include bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, food sensitivities, and inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the joints, skin, or brain (brain fog, depression, slow thinking, fatigue, etc.)
When autoimmunity causes leaky gut
Sometimes autoimmunity itself causes leaky gut as it creates chronic inflammation that can damage the gut wall. This is particularly true in the case of autoimmunity to gut tissue, which may cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
The beauty of functional medicine is it puts your health journey in your hands. The curse of functional medicine and nutrition is that, compared to popping a pill, eating healthy takes more time, which can feel stressful. Enter the Instant Pot, a relatively new kitchen appliance that is simple to use, makes it easy to stick to a whole foods diet, and takes a lot of stress out of cooking when your schedule is hectic.
What makes the Instant Pot so great when you’re following a functional health protocol?
The Instant Pot’s success is in its multiple features and that it produces consistent results. The Instant Pot sautés, foolproof pressure cooks, slow cooks, makes yogurt, functions as a rice cooker, and quickly makes bone broths.
It is conducive to big batch meals that will create nutritious leftovers for a few days.
Here are some ways the Instant Pot can help you save time in the kitchen without sacrificing nutrition:
Cooks frozen meats. How many times have you forgotten to put the meat out to thaw for dinner? You can put your frozen meat in the Instant Pot and still have stew for dinner.
Cuts down on dishwashing. The Instant Pot allows you to do multiple things in one pot, cutting down on dirty pots and pans. For instance, you can sauté the onions and brown the meat in the same pot you cook your stew in. Additionally, you can cook in Pyrex bowls inside the Instant Pot, which can then be stored in the fridge and used as a lunch container.
Removes the stress of timing. Once you put your meal in the Instant Pot, you press a button for how long it needs to cook and then you can walk away. Not only will it shut itself off, it will also keep food warm for up to 10 hours. It makes reliable hard boiled eggs, and some people even crack their raw eggs into a bowl before cooking for a quick and easy egg salad that doesn’t require peeling egg shells.
Takes the complexity out of pressure cooking. The Instant Pot’s most popular feature is pressure cooking, which radically shortens cooking times. Best of all, it uses a foolproof design so you don’t have to worry about blowing up your kitchen.
It’s a great slow cooker. One of the most satisfying dinners is the one you make in the morning and it’s waiting hot for you in the evening. In addition to cooking quickly, the Instant Pot is a great slow cooker, and you can brown the meat in the same pot.
Makes dairy-free yogurt. Yogurt is a delicious and convenient snack that is hard to give up when you go dairy-free. Dairy-free yogurts are expensive and filled with thickening gums, which are irritating and immune reactive for many people. The Instant Pot is a great dairy-free yogurt maker, using gelatin or chia as a thickener. You will need to order a high-quality brand of coconut milk however, for a good end result.
Easy squash and root veggie cooking. Peeling and chopping squash and root veggies can be a real deterrent to including them in your diet. No worries, just toss them in the Instant Pot whole and then peel, seed, and chop them after they’re cooked. Cooking more fragile vegetables such as broccoli, however, is best left to the stove top steam basket to avoid overcooking.
These are just a few of the ways the Instant Pot can be a great tool to help you manage a chronic health disorder. Don’t be intimidated by it — the learning curve is quick and you’ll soon be able to intuit how to use it. The internet abounds with tips, recipes, and general enthusiasm to get you up to speed.
As we continue to learn how important healthy gut bacteria is for the brain and immune system, interest in cultivating a rich and diverse “gut microbiome” grows. One important tool in this quest are spore-based probiotic supplements. “Spore” is derived from the word “seed,” and spore-based probiotics are a hardy delivery system that germinate in the small intestine and help you colonize your gut with more healthy bacteria.
Modern humans face many challenges to developing and maintaining healthy gut bacteria. In fact, studies of primitive people who live much like our hunter gatherer ancestors did show their guts have about 50 percent more diversity in gut bacteria than the average American. Researchers are finding this lack of microbiome diversity plays a role in many chronic health and brain disorders, including depression and autoimmunity.
Low-fiber, junk food diets, antibiotic overuse, chlorinated water, heavy environmental toxin and pollution loads, chronic stress, alcohol, and various medications all play a role in reducing the diversity and amount of beneficial gut bacteria. As a result, opportunistic and infectious “bad” gut bacteria are able to more easily conquer the gut. This weakens the gut lining, increases inflammation, and promotes brain and mood disorders.
There are many ways we can build a healthy and diverse population of gut bacteria. The most important is to eat a whole foods diet that is predominantly vegetables and fruits. It’s important to vary the kind of produce you eat regularly. It’s also helpful to include cultured and fermented foods and take probiotics. Also, avoid drugs such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and heartburn medication as much as possible.
Given the challenges the modern gut faces, it’s not a bad idea to make probiotics a part of your routine. This is where spore-based probiotics come in. What makes spore-based probiotics special?
They survive the acidic environment of the stomach on their way to the intestines.
They resist breakdown by digestive enzymes.
They are heat stable and don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Some spores are antibiotic-resistant, which means they’re equally beneficial while taking antibiotics.
Once in the small intestine, spore-based probiotics can germinate if you provide the right environment with plenty of plant fiber.
Spore probiotics, and healthy gut bacteria in general, can help improve your health in several ways. They improve the health and integrity of the lining of the small intestine. This lining contains not only bacteria but also plenty of immune cells to defend against bad bacteria, yeast, toxins, undigested foods, and other pathogens that can trigger inflammation if they make their way through the gut lining into the bloodstream.
One strain of spore-based probiotic, bacillus coagulans, has been well studied for its beneficial effect on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. Bacillus coagulans produces lactic acid, which has been shown to help protect the gut and boost immune resistance to viruses. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Ask me for more information on how to support healthy gut bacteria and help eradicate bad bacteria to improve immune health.
A new investigation reveals the sugar industry successfully blamed fat for heart disease using skewed science, when sugar is the main culprit. This corporate deceit triggered more than 50 years of a nutritional “low-fat” policy that helped make Americans the fattest and most chronically ill population on the planet, thanks to diets high in sugars and processed carbohydrates. Sadly, it’s an ideology still touted today in many doctors’ offices.
Using tactics similar to those of the tobacco industry, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the role of sugar consumption in raising levels of fat in the blood and did not disclose findings that linked sugar with heart disease.
The industry’s own animal studies showed high-sugar diets increased triglyceride levels, thus raising the risk of heart attack and stroke, and also increased the risk of bladder cancer. They pulled the plug on the study before it could be completed.
The Washington DC-based Sugar Association said the study was stopped because it was over budget and coincided with restructuring of the Sugar Research Foundation. It also said scientific recommendations to limit sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories are “out of bounds.”
Had the study been completed, it could have led to further research and policies that put the welfare of American citizens — not the sugar and processed food industries — first. This could have saved millions of Americans and their families from the heartbreak and devastation of sugar-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
We can see another telling example in a 2018 European study that shows a significant correlation between the amount of processed foods people keep in their homes and obesity and related diseases. Though Americans and Europeans have, surprisingly, eaten roughly the same number of calories over the decades, significantly more Americans than Europeans are obese and ill thanks to corrupt marketing and nutritional policy.
While the policies of the last several decades have steadily made Americans fatter and sicker, they have also been fuel for the multi-billion-dollar weight loss industry that arose in response to the collective weight gain. Sugar content simply replaced fat calories in fat-free foods dominating the shelves.
The trouble with foods high in sugar and processed carbs (which are essentially sugar once ingested) is not only do they make people fatter, but they also trigger a hormonal cascade that increases sugar cravings while turning off the satiety hormones so that one feels constantly hungry. Diets have been shown to fail most people in sustained weight loss and even trigger eating disorders.
The low-fat, high-carb diet sends you on a downward spiral that ends with a foundation for chronic disease based on high inflammation, accelerated brain degeneration, and metabolic imbalances.
In functional medicine, we see myriad chronic disorders that can be significantly ameliorated or even reversed simply by stabilizing blood sugar and saying goodbye to the Standard American Diet (SAD) in favor of a whole foods diet.
Ask me for advice on the best diet for your chronic health condition.
We’ve long been pitched canola’s health benefits. After all, Whole Foods uses it in all their prepared foods and many vegetarian and vegan products proudly promote it as a feature ingredient. But when scientists, who had shown the brain benefits of olive oil in mice, decided to run the same studies with canola oil, they uncovered a darker truth: Canola oil worsens memory and promotes amyloid plaques, a hallmark Alzheimer’s symptom.
In the olive oil study, researchers gave mice with Alzheimer’s Disease a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil and found that compared to the control group, the mice experienced improvements in memory as well as a reduction in amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau, which creates the neurofibrillary tangles that degenerate the brain in Alzheimer’s.
They replicated the study with canola oil, one of the cheapest and most widely used oils in the world, to see what effects it might have on the brain.
The control group ate a normal diet while the study group was fed the equivalent of two tablespoons a day of canola oil.
After 12 months, researchers observed the following in the canola oil mice:
They weighed significantly more than the control group.
They suffered impairments in working memory.
They had greatly reduced levels of a beneficial form of amyloid beta (amyloid beta 1-40). Amyloid beta 1-40 acts as a buffer to the damaging amyloid beta 1-42. When amyloid beta 1-40 goes down, it leaves the 1-42 form unchecked to degenerate the brain.
They showed reduced connectivity between neurons in the brain. Synapses are areas of neurons through which they communicate with one another, playing a vital role in memory formation and retrieval. The drop in amyloid beta 1-40 caused extensive synapse injury.
The scientists plan to conduct a follow-up study to determine how soon neuron damage begins to happen after regular consumption of canola oil, whether it impacts tau phosphorylation, and whether canola oil promotes other neurodegenerative diseases in addition to Alzheimer’s.
What to eat instead of canola oil
When you eat out or buy processed and packaged foods, it’s difficult to find foods that don’t contain canola oil, soybean oil, or processed vegetable oils, none of which are healthy for the brain. It’s especially important to avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, which have also been linked with memory loss.
The brain is made up primarily of fat, which means the fats you eat help determine the structure of your neurons and how well they are able to communicate with one another. For instance, hydrogenated fats have been shown to make cell membranes more rigid and less able to function properly.
Instead of industrially processed vegetable oils, use extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and ghee.
Because women make up about 75 percent of autoimmune disease diagnoses, this means many sufferers of chronic illness are also raising children. It’s common for women to feel disappointed or inferior because they are not the kind of mom they had envisioned. But the perfect mom is an unattainable myth, and it’s possible your illness is even cultivating good qualities in your children. In fact, some of the world’s greatest functional medicine researchers and innovators who have helped countless numbers of people discovered their passion because of their mother’s autoimmune illnesses.
A chronic autoimmune illness means days when energy is low or non-existent, or when brain fog, pain, anxiety, or depression rule. Regular life may include long treks to other cities or states to see a doctor who understands your condition and can help. Your diet is restricted and the house is void of junk food and sodas. Weekends may be devoted to batch cooking meals for the week and your autoimmune disease may require you to delegate chores to your kids. But none of this has to stand in the way of loving your kids and it may even make them better people.
A recent New York Times article explored the ways in which having a chronic autoimmune illness can benefit your children:
Patience. Everything moves more slowly when you’re chronically ill. Gratifications are delayed and trips to the doctor’s office long. When your kids are in tow, this can teach them patience, something most kids struggle with.
Flexibility. Having an autoimmune disease sometimes means canceling well laid plans because you are having a flare. Though disappointing, this prepares children for the inevitable snafus of life.
Self-sufficiency. Children who have everything done for them suffer when they strike out on their own. The child of an autoimmune mom has long been learning how to do their laundry, make their meals, walk the dog, clean the house, and so on. Adulthood won’t seem like such an ugly shock as a result. Though they may complain, this self-sufficiency is also a wonderful confidence builder.
Consideration. Children are egocentric by design. Having a mom with a chronic illness teaches them about the universality of human suffering and that sometimes we are all weaker than we’d like to be and need help.
Self-care. Autoimmunity means seizing the day when you feel good and retreating and resting when you feel bad. This teaches children the importance of a healthy diet, sleep, and other often ignored facets of good health. If you have a partner who helps and supports you, they also benefit from seeing that partnership in action.
Compassion. By seeing someone they love suffer, your children learn compassion for suffering in all people, including themselves. They may also be more likely to see grumpiness or impatience in others as symptoms of a possible illness.
Emotions. Living with a chronic illness is hard work. Sometimes the fatigue, pain, or disappointment can send us into an emotional tailspin, making it impossible to put on a happy face. Seeing a parent express their emotions around suffering can help children be more ok with their own bouts of emotional turmoil.
If medical marijuana has done anything, it has been to educate us about our own endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a system of receptors on cells that play a role in inflammation, appetite, pain, mood, memory, and even cancer prevention. These receptors have come to light because they respond to compounds in cannabis, or marijuana.
A functioning ECS, which is vital to good health, produces its own cannabinoids and doesn’t need them from cannabis. For instance, the cannabinoid anandamide is so powerful researchers call it the “bliss molecule” because of its role in happiness and higher thought processes.
However, researchers have discovered some people have a endocannabinoid deficiency in compounds such as anandamide. This can lead to chronic pain disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and more serious disorders. Some suggest this deficiency may be genetic.
It’s believed an ECS deficiency explains why cannabis is medicinal for some people. Cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, including THC, which produces the psychoactive effect cannabis is most known for. Cannabis also contains cannabidiol (CBD) and terpenes. These compounds are not psychoactive.
CBD has come to be recognized as the compound responsible for many of the medicinal effects of cannabis. Terpenes are the compounds that give cannabis its distinctive aroma are also medicinal.
Controversy exists around whether CBD and terpenes are therapeutic individually, or whether these compounds work better synergistically in a whole plant form. There is also controversy over whether CBD from industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive form of cannabis, is as effective as CBD from marijuana, which has higher THC levels.
Boosting your endocannabinoid system naturally
Psychoactive cannabis and its constituents, such as CBD, is legal in only about half of the states in the US. CBD from industrial help is more widely available. Outside of the US it is legal in a few countries, decriminalized in a number, and strictly illegal in others.
Because the ECS produces its own cannabinoids, it is possible to boost the activity of this system without using cannabis. Following are some suggestions on how to do this:
Avoid alcohol. The stress and inflammation caused by regularly drinking alcohol can exhaust the ECS. Preserve its integrity by avoiding this health-sapping spirit.
Get bodywork. Research shows that bodywork such as a chiropractic adjustment, massage, or acupuncture can more than double anandamide, the “bliss” cannabinoid.
Eat lots of leafy greens. Leafy greens contain a terpene that activate cannabinoid receptors and can help combat inflammation and autoimmunity.
Eat more omega-3 essential fatty acids. Some researchers say an omega-3 deficiency will cause the ECS to not function properly. Make sure you get plenty of omega 3 in your diet (and not too much omega 6), or supplement with fish, algae, emu, or hemp oils.
Exercise. Some researchers believe the “high” from exercise is caused by increased ECS activity. Just be careful not to overdo it or make it stressful, which can deplete the ECS.
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