25 Sep 2022 HCM Handbook
 

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Health Club Management Handbook - Exercise high

Research

Exercise high


A study has shown that exercise reduces inflammation and could potentially help treat conditions like arthritis, cancer and heart disease…

Exercise increases the natural secretion of the body’s own cannabis-type substances Photo: Shutterstock/Flamingo Images
Simple lifestyle changes can modulate endocannabinoids Photo: Shutterstock/Flamingo Images

Ateam of researchers at the UK’s University of Nottingham has found exercise increases the levels of cannabis-like substances produced by the human body, called endocannabinoids, which have numerous health benefits.

The study involved 78 people with arthritis; 38 of them carried out 15 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises every day for six weeks and 40 did nothing.

Those who exercised experienced reduced pain and had more microbes in their guts which produce anti-inflammatory substances, reduce levels of cytokines in the body and increase levels of endocannabinoid.

The increase in endocannabinoids was strongly linked to changes in the gut microbes and anti-inflammatory substances produced by gut microbes called short chain fatty acids. The study found at least one-third of the anti-inflammatory effects created by changes in the gut microbiome were due to the increase in endocannabinoids.

Cannabis-type substances
The findings were published in a report titled The anti-inflammatory effect of bacterial short chain fatty acids is partially mediated by endocannabinoids, which was published in the journal Gut Microbes.

Dr Amrita Vijay, a research fellow in the university’s School of Medicine and first author of the paper, said: “Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the natural secretion of the body’s own cannabis-type substances, which can have a positive impact on many health conditions.

“As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements increases, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions, such as exercise, can also modulate endocannabinoids.”

While the secretion of endocannabinoids by the body is a natural metabolic process, the use of medical and recreational cannabis is known to suppress the natural secretion of endocannabinoids by removing the need for the body to produce it, making people more dependent.


Originally published in HCM Handbook 2022 edition

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