Anandamide’s name derived from Sanskrit word ‘ananda’, meaning bliss or joy. Discovered in the early 1990s, its name reflects its association with feelings of happiness and relaxation, adding a poetic touch to the science of neurotransmitters. And thus, anandamide is now so aptly known as ‘The Bliss Molecule’.
Also known as ‘The Bliss Molecule’, anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid that is produced naturally in the body.
It supports the release of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are key factors in mood regulation and our sense of wellbeing.
When healthcare professionals prescribe medication for anxiety and depression, they often prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which increase serotonin levels in the brain. By inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, SSRIs enhance its availability.
Anandamide is also a precursor to homeostasis, or the ‘state of balance’ for the body.
Homeostasis is critical to maintaining an optimal internal environment that allows for achieving our peak performance, therefore any supplements that support the body coming back to homeostasis are beneficial.
We talk often of adaptogens which bring the body back to a state of homeostasis, these include:
The awareness of anandamide supplements is growing as a potential to promote emotional balance, manage stress, and lessen anxiety.
It is also being explored for its potential to module pain with anandamide operating in the endocannabinoid system which supports a role in pain perception and inflammation. It’s therefore being taken within biohacking communities as a natural source of pain relief.
Anandamide helps regulate mood through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system and modulation of neurotransmitter activity. It does this in several ways:
Anandamide’s key function in the endocannabinoid system has a direct influence on neurotransmitter activity in the brain. The combined effect helps manage anxiety and limits our stress response when our fight or flight is activated.
Anandamide supports stress and anxiety management in several ways:
While research is emerging on anandamide’s role in reducing stress and anxiety, factors such as genetics, environmental influences, and the overall balance of the endocannabinoid system will contribute to variations in response.
Anandamide’s impact on stress and anxiety is multifaceted, involving intricate interactions within the endocannabinoid system and its influence on neurotransmitter activity. As research progresses, a clearer understanding of anandamide’s role in emotional wellbeing will emerge.
Individuals considering anandamide supplements for chronic stress or anxiety should continue to consult with healthcare professionals, as prescribed medication may be the safest option for you.
Neural plasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is the brain’s ability to restructure its neural pathways throughout our entire lives.
Neural pathways are the connections between neurons which neurotransmitters, or chemical signals, travel across to enable communication between neurons.
These chemical signs transmit sensory information, coordinate motor functions, and facilitating complex cognitive processes including learning, memory, and adaptation to new experiences.
Throughout our lives the neural pathways change based on the on the demands of the individual’s experiences and activities; the concept ‘use it or lose it’ very much applies to our neural pathways, meaning that pathways that do not frequently fire are repurposed by the brain to build connections for new experiences. This process allows the brain to allocate resources efficiently to current demands.
Neural pathways can change in several ways, such as synaptic pruning which can involve the death, digestion, or repurposing of synapses, the forming of new connections which involves the growth of new pathways to establish connections for new experiences, and the adaption and reorganising of existing pathways based on experiences, learning, and changes in the environment.
It’s a dynamic process that leaves the brain continually adapting based on every experience we have. This remarkable malleability, fuelled by the brain’s activities, accounts for approximately 20% of our daily calorie intake, demonstrating the intensity of the functions continuously happening in the brain.
It is neural plasticity that helps us learn new things, but it is also neural plasticity that leaves us forgetting things we used to be perfectly competent with.
However, and most importantly, for those looking to achieve peak performance, understanding neural plasticity and what the mind is capable of is key to recognising the endless opportunities available to you.
When we understand that we can physically rewire our brain to learn new skills, change our thought processes, habits, and behaviours, we become aware of our ability to change the direction of our lives at any age.
With neural plasticity, whatever you have wanted to master is available to you.
So, for the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, this isn’t exactly true.
You can teach old dogs new tricks, the issue is that most old dogs don’t have the desire to change.
The direct mechanisms through which anandamide promotes neural plasticity are still being studied. However, researchers indicate several ways in which anandamide contributes to this critical aspect of brain function:
Anandamide’s potential to enhance neural plasticity underscores its importance in maintaining optimal brain function. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, modulating neurotransmitters, and promoting factors like BDNF release, anandamide may contribute to the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize itself in response to experiences and learning.
However it’s important to still know that the field of endocannabinoid research is still evolving. The specific molecular mechanisms and pathways through which anandamide impacts neural plasticity needs continued research.
Preliminary research indicates that anandamide may contribute to pain relief through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system and modulation of pain pathways.
This is achieved in several ways:
Biohacking isn’t only about supplements; it is about using all options at your disposal to prime your body for a state of peak performance. You should focus on also stimulating the endocannabinoid system naturally, through the various options available to you:
While anandamide supplements are generally considered safe for most people, it’s important to know the potential risks with anandamide supplementation:
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Anandamide supplements hold promise in contributing to mood regulation through their interactions with the endocannabinoid system and modulation of neurotransmitters.
By influencing serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, as well as regulating the stress response and supporting neural plasticity, anandamide can have a multifaceted role in promoting emotional balance within us.
This is particularly exciting for those of us who struggle with common mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
And with common medications like SSRIs and Xanax having side effects that most of us would prefer not to have, looking to natural sources of mood regulation offers us opportunities to avoid the dependency of formally prescribed medication.
However, while anandamide supplements may offer potential benefits for mood regulation, individual responses can vary. Factors such as genetics, overall health, and the balance of the endocannabinoid system all contribute to how an individual may respond to supplementation.
Additionally, the regulatory mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system and its relationship with mood are complex and continue to be explored by researchers. More studies are needed to fully understand the nuances of anandamide’s impact on mood and emotional wellbeing.
As research progresses in this area, we are excited to see the development of anandamide supplements as a consumer product. This is likely just the beginning for the product, and we expect to see it become more widely used in the coming years.
I personally will be incorporating anandamide into one of my biohacking options, taking it cyclically throughout the year as a little ‘top me up’ once a month.
Having been biohacking my mind and body long before it became fashionable, I’ve always lived by the benefits of nature’s resources to improve cognitive and physiological performance. Using my years of experience, products, and wellness practices, I’m now helping others elevate their cognitive performance to help build the life they want. I save you the time I’ve spent learning, so you can focus your time on building.
I proudly use AI to support development of my articles. As a heavily dyslexic person, writing can be a time consuming process with words often jumbled up and sentences the wrong way round. AI has become my crutch; allowing me to share the immense interest in my mind, while making content creation quicker and more accurate. AI is my benefit.
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