Bliss is typically defined as a perfect sense of happiness. What if I told you that you could eat your way there?
In Sanskrit, the term used for bliss is ‘ananda’,
the prefix for Anandamide.
Anandamide is the first endo-cannabinoid found by science, which coined this bliss-full name for plenty of good reasons. Because anandamide is naturally created in your body, we can make minor shifts in daily living and food choices to increase the rate of production in your body. Increasing production in you body equals increasing sensations of bliss.Before diving deep into some of those ways to increase bliss in your being, lets first understand what Anandamide truly is.
Anandamide is a remarkable polyunsaturated fatty acid that your body makes on demand.It is a naturally producing endocannabinoid, interacting with the wonderful and complex endocannabinoid system that plays a large role in balancing and regulating your internal networks. Unlike many other neuromodulators, endo-cannabinoids aren’t stored in vesicles in advance, having a limited supply. Instead, their precursors already exist in the cell membranes and are cleaved off by specific enzymes based on demand. (1)
Interestingly, although anandamide is typically produced quickly and broken down quickly, it appears that the pharmacological effects from anandamide persist for much longer. It is currently hypothesized that this may be due to the bliss substance causing a release of endogenous cannabimimetic substances as well. This is essentially telling us that downstream effects of anandamide in your system may be quite profound (7).
Exciting research is showing that anandamide has the ability to not only interact with endocannabinoid receptors, but also with vanilloid receptors, which are most commonly known for interacting with cayenne pepper. This finding expanded the potential therapeutic benefits of this compound even further, with discussion of effects on vasodilation, relaxation, sensory neuron excitation, and even cancer cell apoptosis. (4)
Anandamide is most commonly known for decreasing anxiety.
Bliss certainly seems like it would be an adequate remedy for anxious states. However, its effects do not end there.
Research is showing that anandamide mediates a negative feedback control loop in the striatum, via interactions with dopamine, that is responsible for facilitation of motor activity. (6) The implications of this finding are big for treatment of motor disorders, where a regulation of dopamine is needed. Some of the many motor disorders that may be affected include Choreas, Tourette’s, Parksinsons, and other Dystonias. (2,8)
If you think of anxiety and motor disorders in a more conceptual way, it becomes clear that there is a picture of excess that needs to be calmed. By supporting our own internal production of calm and blissful compounds, we can help restore our health.
The two major food sources of anandamide include chocolate and black truffles.
While the common black pepper and the long pepper don’t directly have significant amounts of anandamide, the compound guineensine present in these peppers helps to increase endogenous production of anandamide.
Most the other foods that are beneficial are not due to their inherent levels of anandamide, but because of their nutrient profile of flavonoids. The flavonoid kaempferol inhibits the production of the enzyme that normally breaks down anandamide, leading to this blissful compound sticking around in your body longer. Some fruits and veggies that have kaempferol include: apples, blackberries, grapes, peaches, raspberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, endives, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Washing all this down with green tea will also help to preserve bliss longer. Finally, these recommendations wouldn’t be complete without mentioning CBD oil, which is extracted from the cannabis plant, high in many endocannabinoids, including our infamous anandamide.
Find your sense of flow state, or “getting into the zone”. Our endocannabinoid system is very active during these flow-states, which can be nourishing for all sorts of imbalances in the body.
Exercise both increases anandamide in the body, as well as increasing the sensitivity of the receptors that anandamide binds to, potentiating its effects longer. (3) With anandamides proven effects on rehabilitating motor-based disorders, it makes logical sense that increasing movement and motor function would be therapeutic due to these same neurochemical pathways. It is now proposed that the ‘runners high’ is actually due to anandamide, not due to the long idolized endorphins. (5)
Taking an anandamide-challenge for a week:
Increase anandamide rich foods and those that increase its activity. Drink more green tea. Maybe try CBD oil if that feels right for you. Recognize which activities help you to stay in the most flowing and focused states and increase the presence of those activities in your life. And lastly, move move move!
- Alexander SP, Kendall DA. The complications of promiscuity: endocanna-binoid action and metabolism. Br J Pharmacol 2007;152: 602–623
- Consroe, 1998 P. ConsroeBrain cannabinoid systems as targets for the therapy of neurological disorders Neurobiol Dis, 5 (1998), pp. 534-551
- De Chiara, Valentina, et al. "Voluntary exercise and sucrose consumption enhance cannabinoid CB1 receptor sensitivity in the striatum."Neuropsychophhttps://gem-3910432.netarmacology 35.2 (2010): 374.
- Di Marzo, Vincenzo, Tiziana Bisogno, and Luciano De Petrocellis. "Anandamide: some like it hot." Trends in pharmacological sciences 22.7 (2001): 346-349.
- Fuss, Johannes, et al. "A runner’s high depends on cannabinoid receptors in mice." Proceedings 5. of the National Academy of Sciences 112.42 (2015): 13105-13108.
- Giuffrida et al., 1999 A. Giuffrida, L.H. Parsons, T.M. Kerr, F. Rodriguez de Fonseca, M. Navarro, D. PiomelliDopamine activation of endogenous cannabinoid signaling in dorsal striatum Nat Neurosci, 2 (1999), pp. 358-363
- K.A. Willoughby, S.F. Moore, B.R. Martin, E.F. EllisThe biodisposition and metabolism of anandamide in mice J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 282 (1997), pp. 243-247Muller-Vahl et al., 1998 K.R.
- Muller-Vahl, H. Kolbe, U. Schneider, H.M. EmrichCannabinoids: possible role in the patho-physiology and therapy of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome Acta Psychiatr Scand, 98 (1998), pp. 502-506