Exercise increases the body’s cannabis-like substances, which in turn helps reduce inflammation

Exercise increases the body's cannabis-like substances, which in turn helps reduce inflammation

Exercise is known to decrease chronic inflammation, which in turn causes many diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, but little is known about how it reduces inflammation .

In a new study , published in Gut Microbes , experts from the University of Nottingham found that exercise intervention in people with arthritis not only reduced pain, but also reduced levels of inflammatory substances (called cytokines).

Exercise and endocannabinoids

Exercise also increased the levels of cannabis-like substances produced by their own bodies, called endocannabinoids . Interestingly, the way exercise produced these changes was altering gut microbes.

The study examined 78 people with arthritis. Thirty-eight of them performed 15 minutes of muscle strengthening exercises every day for six weeks, and 40 did nothing.

By the end of the study, the participants who did the exercise intervention had not only reduced their pain, but also had more microbes in their intestines of the type that produce anti-inflammatory substances , lower levels of cytokines, and higher levels of endocannabinoids.

The increase in endocannabinoids was strongly related to changes in gut microbes and anti-inflammatory substances produced by gut microbes called SCFAS. In fact, at least a third of the anti-inflammatory effects on the gut microbiome were due to increased endocannabinoids .