Anandamide, better known as the “joy molecule” is a very important cannabinoid that interacts with your endocannabinoid system to make you feel happy, blissful, and uplifted.
It is a body’s own version of cannabis. This chemical might have never been discovered if it was not for THC, the psychoactive molecule in cannabis. Scientists have found that THC fits perfectly into some special receptors in the central nervous system and the brain.
They assumed that our body produces some endogenous chemicals that act as keys to the receptor’s mechanism. With time and some conducted studies, they discovered anandamide, a neurotransmitter that actives the cannabinoid receptors in our brain cells, and gave it a name derived from the Sanskrit word “Ananda” which means bliss or happiness. Let’s find out some more details about its function and health benefits for your health and well-being.
What Is Anandamide And What Is Its Function?
Anandamide is a brain chemical that is synthesized in the areas of your brain that are related to your well–being, including your motivation, movement control, and memory. This chemical acts as a neurotransmitter that attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and stimulates a sense of mental wellbeing and happiness. It is derived from arachidonic acid. When it comes to anandamide structure, it is an essential fatty acid and an N-acylethanolamine 20:4. It is one of the most important endocannabinoids. (1)
Anandamide Feels Like Good Mood
Endocannabinoids are compounds that are produced within the body and attach to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and in the whole body to increase your mood.
Its discovery, as already mentioned, traces back to the detection of receptors for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive component of marijuana (Cannabis sativa).
Anandamide Health Benefits
Anandamide helps in the activation of the cannabinoid receptors that can be found in the whole body, like in the spleen, the kidneys, the liver, white blood cells, reproductive organs, urinary tracts, and the central nervous system, so the amandine effects are widespread and refer to the whole body.
Anandamide is part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system that can be found in all vertebrates and is classed as a homeostatic regulator, which means that it helps in creating the balance between our mind and body. The amandine levels can be related to everything, starting from schizophrenia to depression.
So, it can protect you from all psychiatric disorders caused by stress and researchers say that the prevention of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme that breaks down the amandine can be useful for treating many disorders like anxiety, traumatic disorders, drug addiction, and cognitive dysfunction.
It can help your brain detox from all irrelevant information and bad memories that are stored in the area of your brain known as the hippocampus. (2)
It can also boost your immune system and reduce inflammation and pain and slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
One study has even found that it can prevent breast cancer cell formation. (3)
How To Activate And Increase Anandamide Level Naturally With Foods?
So, what shall we do to boost this blissful molecule naturally and feel happier? Is there any food or supplements that are rich in amandine that can boost your intake and stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and your endocannabinoid system in general?
7 Foods To Boost Naturally Your Anandamide Level
Here is a list of several foods and supplements that can naturally boost the level of amandine in your brain.
1. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are rich in kaempherol, which is a type of flavonoid that inhibits the production of the enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which is proven to break down the anandamide and prevents its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. So you can try adding the following fruits and vegetables to your diet:
- Green beans
2. Take natural probiotics
To have a healthy endocannabinoid system is essential to have a healthy gut. You can boost your gut health by improving the intake of probiotics on a daily basis. Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that stimulate ingestion and live in the gut. There are some natural ways to boost probiotics intake, such as drinking kefir daily or eating organic yogurt that contains live bacteria.
3. Sprinkle your favorite meals with black pepper
The black pepper contains an alkaloid called Guineensine. Maybe it sounds strange, but it is a scientific term and serves to slow down the reabsorption of the amandine. In addition, another compound of the black pepper, called piperine, can stimulate the synthesis and release of anandamide.
4. Eat more dark chocolate and drink cacao
This is the main food source of this chemical. There are around 1500 different biochemicals found in chocolate that can boost your mood and make you feel happier.
If you eat a lot of chocolate, you should blame Anandamide for it, because it can provoke addiction. It is the cacao that inhibits the separation of the amandine and triggers the endocannabinoid system’s receptors in the brain. But, it is advisable to eat it raw or consume dark, bitter chocolate that is more healthy and avoid all the sugar and other essences to avoid intake of additional calories, meaning chocolate that is 70 % or above rich in cacao content.
5. Food rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 are important as dietary fats. They need to be provided by foods, and some studies have found that their consumption may increase the level of anandamide in our bodies. (4)
Foods rich in these fatty acids are:
- Olive and fish oil (fish oil can be taken as a supplement as well)
- Whole grains
6. Black truffles
Besides chocolate, black truffles are the only food that contains large amounts of anandamide. However, few people will include them in their diet to boost their mood because they are one of the most expensive delicacies in the world.
7. Consume more greens
Most varieties of green vegetables contain a compound called Diindolylmethane (DIM), which reduces inflammation and can inhibit cancer cell formation. Besides this, it can boost your anandamide level and stimulate the cannabinoid receptors within your endocannabinoid system.
You can find it in vegetables like Brussel sprouts, but in case you do not like their taste, you can always include in your diet other green veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, or kale.
Cannabidiol is a bioactive component, one of the 113 active compounds found in the marijuana plant (Cannabis sativa).
This compound is not psychoactive and can be purchased as a supplement to increase your anandamide level by inhibiting the action of the FAAH enzyme. (5)
This supplement must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0,3 percent THC (the main psychoactive component of marijuana) to be legal in the United States.
Some recent studies have found that Echinacea can have similar effects as anandamide, although it doesn’t increase the level of anandamide in the brain. The root of this plant contains alkamides that can modulate endocannabinoid system (ECS) activity and it is very effective in boosting immunity, treating common colds, fatigue, and chronic inflammatory pain. (6)
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a compound that can be naturally found in our bodies, and it is called a “love drug” because it can imitate brain chemistry when we are in love.
It can be made as a supplement when extracted from foods such as egg yolks, soybean lecithin, and peanuts. It is primarily used for treating pain because it has analgesic properties and is very well tolerated by humans.
Beware Of “Anandamide” Powder
If you search online for anandamide supplements, you may find a powder supplement called “Anandamide” containing cacao powder and some other compounds. This product doesn’t have an increased anandamide level and contains the same anandamide level as the ordinary cacao powder. So you can be misled easily.
Other Ways To Boost Anandamide Level
Emotional stress can downregulate the CB1 receptors and reduce the cannabinoid binding to CB1 receptors and decrease your mood instantly.
You can also use supplements to reduce stress like magnesium and zinc or use some meditation techniques like acupuncture, emotional freedom techniques, heart-rate variability (HRV) training, and others.
Get Physical Exercise
Exercising can increase the level of anandamide in the blood and improve the sensitivity of the anandamide receptors. One recent study has shown that moderate exercising may increase the anandamide level in the blood plasma, so you should make at least 30 minutes of walking per day to feel happier and healthier. (7)
Increase the Oxytocine Level
The most effective way of raising the oxytocin level is by physical touch, so start cuddling, hugging, stroking a pet, and getting a massage. Some other ways include listening to music, yoga, and meditation.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.