Meet Anandamide - The Bliss Molecule
MEET ANANDAMIDE – THE BLISS MOLECULE
Anandamide, which can also be referred to as AEA for simplicity, is the main neurotransmitter used by our Endocannabinoid system. Its name comes from ‘anada’ - the Sanskrit word for bliss or happiness - but anandamide has been found to play a much wider role in our health and wellbeing.
WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
Every living creature has an endocannabinoid system. A relatively new discovery, the system was only identified in the 1990’s as part of the research into the effects of cannabis, hence the name: ‘endo’ for endogenous and ‘cannabinoid’ for cannabis.
The endocannabinoid system regulates:
• Pain and inflammation
You can read more about the endocannabinoid system in my previous blog here
WHERE IS ANANDAMIDE PRODUCED, AND WHY IS ANANDAMIDE IMPORTANT?
Anandamide is produced in the part of the brain which is important in memory, motivation, higher thought processes and movement control. It also plays a role in pain, appetite and fertility.
Additionally, it is now believed that anandamide, not endorphins, is responsible for the high people can experience after exercising – increasing focus and motivation whilst reducing the sensation of pain.
Some people are genetically predisposed to produce more anandamide than others - these people will probably find stressful situations easier to deal with. Unfortunately, even when we do produce anandamide, it is quickly broken down - thus we quickly lose our ‘runners high’.
SO, HOW TO BOOST ANADAMIDE?
It is possible to ‘boost’ your anandamide levels, and there are several ways to do this:
• CHOCOLATE – Specifically dark chocolate. Eating dark chocolate or raw cacao nibs is thought to give a quick boost of anandamide; this is possibly one of the reasons why we crave chocolate.
• TRUFFLES – For those who are feeling particularly wealthy, black truffles are also known to be a natural source of our bliss molecule.
• CBD OIL – CBD (cannabidiol) oil sourced from Cannabis sativa - also known as industrial hemp - could also help to boost anandamide levels.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.)