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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Know Your ‘Gut Feeling’

Jun 29, 2020 05:30PM ● By Jennifer Phillips

Dr Jen Phillips

As we carefully and cautiously emerge from our purposeful seclusion, it is as important as ever to support immunity, gut function as well as reducing stress. Viruses are still around us as natural inhabitants of our planet. Gut health, stress management and immune support continue to be  priorities. Immunity starts in the gut and ends with stress.

Chronic stress can affect the delicate endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our gut. The ECS is a widely distributed transmitter system that controls gut functions peripherally and centrally. This, in turn, can affect the appetite or cause IBS to flare.

Those experiencing changes in digestion during the pandemic are not alone. Many folks are talking about certain unpleasant changes in regularity and even episodes of stomach pain and indigestion.

Supporting the ECS supports the gut-brain connection. Cannabinoids provide natural support to the system, giving us the “gut feeling” or mood support we associate with a healthy digestive system. Neurotransmitters and immune cells are produced in the gut, making it extremely important to support during times of stress.

Here are a few things you can do to support your own ECS for healthy gut function (and thereby support your mood and immunity):

1. Regulate stress as much as possible

Take a walk, meditate for 15 minutes daily and get adequate sleep.

2. Take a probiotic supplement

One of the best-known probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus, modulates the ECS in the gut. 

3. Eat dietary cannabinoids and other foods that support a healthy ECS

Fatty fish, nuts and seeds provide the essential fats that are the building blocks of endocannabinoids. Also, choose foods that contain phytocannabinoids, such as dark chocolate and black truffle.

Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage) contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that is transformed in your gut into diindolylmethane (DIM), which acts positively on the CB2 receptors. Many herbs and spices, including black pepper, clove, cinnamon, oregano, basil, lavender and rosemary, are rich in the phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene.

 4. Take a phytocannabinoid supplement

A supplement that includes phytocannabinoids from sources such as hemp, clove, black pepper and hops can help balance the endocannabinoid system.

 Dr. Jennifer Phillips practices naturopathic medicine at the Merchantville Medical Wellness Center, in Merchantville. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 856-488-7067 or visit

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