What is Leaky Gut Syndrome & how can CBD affect it?
It is said that all disease begins in the gut. Nonetheless, science struggles to understand the relationship between gut health and many malaises. In addition, studies show that almost every second person visiting the doctors due to gut issues has very vague complaints.
They may complain about mild abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, fatigues, sleep issues, and yet these individuals might be relatively healthy.
Experts now call these difficult to diagnose conditions as functional gastrointestinal disorders. The most common diagnostic tests would be close to normal in these conditions. Yet, a person would have multiple and difficult to explain complaints.
A leaky gut syndrome is a term more frequently used by traditional medicine practitioners than doctors. Nevertheless, in recent years, many doctors are also accepting that leaky gut syndrome exists.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
A leaky gut syndrome is a term to describe altered gut permeability. Many medical experts believe that it is a widely prevalent condition. It is present in almost all gastrointestinal disorders, particularly in functional gastric diseases.
There are many reasons why gut permeability changes. It could be due to a damaged upper protective layer of the gut. However, that is not all, and leaky gut syndrome may also occur due to changes in gut mucous production, which plays a vital role in intestinal barrier function.
Additionally, researchers think that there are many other causes for the leaky gut syndrome, like altered local immune responses, inflammation, and even changes in the gut microbiota.
It means that leaky gut syndrome is present in almost all gastrointestinal disorders. These changes in gut permeability have many health consequences like poor absorption of nutrients, greater absorption of toxins, penetration of pathogens through the gut wall, and much more.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Researchers are still struggling to understand what causes the conditions like leaky gut syndrome. However, they are sure that it occurs due to many reasons, and thus the challenges in managing such health disorders. In fact, science still does not fully understand its underlying mechanism, though there are many hypotheses.
One reason for a leaky gut could be a gastrointestinal infection. However, it is not among the most significant causes. It appears that in most cases, leaky gut syndrome occurs due to non-infectious reasons.
Thus, for example, changes in gut microbiota and local immune responses could be among the most significant cause of the leaky gut syndrome. This is also proven by the fact that normalizing gut microflora has a beneficial effect on chronic gastrointestinal disorders.
However, there are many other poorly understood causes like autoimmune reactions. It appears that autoimmune diseases are also emerging as one of the most significant causes of gut disorders.
Another emerging understanding in medical science is the role of brain health in maintaining gut permeability. It means that mental stress, mood disorders may also lead to leaky gut syndrome.
Is Leaky Gut Syndrome related to Brain Health?
Mechanisms underlying the “gut feeling” are now more or less understood. It appears that emotional swings, anxiety, fear, and stress cause changes in gut mobility through increased sympathetic nervous system activity.
Generally, the gut can recover quickly from gastrointestinal issues caused by acute stress. However, chronic stress is altogether a different thing. Chronic stress causes changes in gut motility and gut defenses, thus leading to leaky gut syndrome.
A leaky gut syndrome caused by chronic stress is challenging to identify due to the subtle nature of signs and symptoms. Although signs of such a disorder tend to be less severe, they are chronic. It means that a person continues to live with altered gut function, bloating, fatigue, abdominal pain, etc.
It is unwise to think that only stress or anxiety causes the leaky gut syndrome. Even other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even psychotic conditions may alter gut function considerably.
What is more worrisome is a discovery that there is a bidirectional relationship between the brain health gut – something researchers now call “the gut-brain axis.” It means that gut health influences brain health and vice-versa.
Studies show that the vagal nerve innervating the gut carries more information from the gut to the brain than the other way, as thought earlier. Similarly, studies show that one of the most vital neurotransmitters in controlling mood that is serotonin is primarily produced in the gut. Studies estimate that almost 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut.
That is not all; the gut produces many neuroactive compounds, peptides, and much more. Similarly, the brain exerts significant control over gut health.
It means that altered gut function has an ill effect on brain health, and brain issues cause changes in gut health, thus forming a vicious circle. It means that to manage the leaky gut syndrome, one needs to break this vicious cycle.
How to use CBD for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Both the local intestinal changes and altered brain function may lead to a chronic health issue like leady gut syndrome, and CBD may help in multiple ways in the condition.
CBD can influence local endocannabinoid receptors in the gut and the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. Studies show that CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain and CB2 in peripheral tissues, including the gut. CBD oil acts on both receptors.
Thus, by acting on CB1 receptors in the brain, CBD can help counter anxiety, reduce stress, improve sleep, help regularize gut motility, and therefore positively impact gut health.
Similarly, CBD’s action on CB2 receptors improves gut function and reduces gut permeability, thus helping overcome leaky gut syndrome.
Can CBD help with Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Yes, CBD can help with the leaky gut syndrome. However, lots would depend on the cause of the condition. In some cases, the benefit could be dramatic.
CBD will not help if the cause of the leaky gut syndrome is an infectious disease or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
However, it would be pretty beneficial when it is secondary to prolonged stress and anxiety. It may be especially good for irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and functional diarrhea or constipation.
It may help both due to its calming effect on the brain and also due to its ability to alter immune responses.
Since functional gastrointestinal disorders tend to be chronic, one can expect more significant benefits on prolonged use for 8 to 12 weeks.
If you are into the CBD business and want to learn more about the role of CBD products in gastrointestinal health, you can contact us.