The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Immunity Regulation
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in keeping you healthy by modulating immune cells and responses by stimulating the CB2 receptors.
Cannabinoids that stimulate the CB2 receptors can help restore homeostatic function to the immune system.
A new, fully-acting endocannabinoid, known as PDC, can be created when the body metabolizes C15:0 (the only ingredient in fatty15).
We’re all looking for ways to stay healthy and live longer fuller lives. Strengthening the immune system is essential for keeping us well and helping us avoid chronic inflammation, which can underlie many age-related illnesses.
The immune system is complex, but the endocannabinoid system is an integral part of it. We’ll explain what it is, its role in your immunity, and how a new fully-acting endocannabinoid can help bolster your immune support.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system is a complex web of receptors located throughout the body. This system was discovered in the nineties, which means we’re still uncovering how it interacts with our bodily systems and helps us function properly.
Some of the things we know about it are that it plays a role in:
- Cognitive function and memory
- Neuropathic pain
The more we understand the endocannabinoid system, the more we can create therapies to help restore wellness and balance these important bodily functions.
There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
- CB1 Receptors. These receptors are located primarily in the brain and nervous system. They control functions like mood, emotions, body temperature, and fight or flight response.
- CB2 Receptors. These receptors are located in your immune system. They control gastrointestinal functions, pain, and immunity.
These receptors collect data from your environment and make adjustments to help keep your body functioning properly and in balance.
Diving Deeper Into Immunity
Immunity is more than just the ability to fend off a cold or heal a wound. Immunity protects the body from the onslaught of daily pathogens with which it comes into contact. It also helps regulate processes inside the body, keeping the body in a perfectly balanced, homeostatic state.
Your immune system is made up of a series of receptors and effectors. Receptors take in information from the external environment and send messages to the control center that lets your body know you need to change to self-regulate. The command center then sends an effector to effectuate the needed change.
With immunity, the pattern may look like this:
- Someone sneezes near you, and you inhale a cold virus.
- Receptors in your immune system recognize the virus as a foreign intruder and send a message to the control center that you need help.
- The control center sends cells called B lymphocyte cells (also called B cells) which act as the effectors to create antibodies.
- The antibodies latch onto the cold virus, signaling T lymphocytes (or T cells) to come and eradicate them.
- T cells find the antigens and destroy them, and the antibodies remain in your system, making it difficult for you to be infected with the same strain again.
The system that regulates the receipt and reply of messages is the endocannabinoid system.
How Does the Endocannabinoid System Affect Immunity?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is directly involved with your immune system, and we’re just beginning to understand the degree of interaction and the importance of regulating it.
Here’s what we know for sure.
- The ECS controls the creation of new B and T cells and regulates when these particular cells die (a process known as apoptosis).
- The ECS also controls the production of cytokines, which are substances secreted by immune cells that can cause inflammation.
- Certain cells in the body called macrophages (inflammatory cells) can be used to kill dangerous cells, like cancer cells. These cells, like T cells, use other cells to attack foreign bodies and kill them, a process called macrophage-mediated killing. The ECS also regulates the macrophage-mediated killing of sensitized cells.
- The ECS controls the feedback loops that cause immune cells to activate when an inflammatory stimulus is recognized.
- The ECS regulates cell migration and chemotaxis, how cells travel to areas of infection or injury to heal and repair. Essentially, the ECS acts as a roadmap to help the cells reach where they are most needed.
The receptors that appear to be the most heavily involved with immunity are the CB2 receptors, which, as we discussed, are found primarily in immune tissue, especially white blood cells.
Now, let’s discuss how activating these cells can help regulate immunity.
There are three different classes of cannabinoids: plant-based, synthetic, and endocannabinoids.
- Plant-based. These are chemical compounds found within the cannabis sativa plant. They can interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but some of them, like THC, have psychoactive side effects that make them difficult to use for therapeutic purposes.
- Synthetic. These are cannabinoids created in a lab and often intended for recreational or medicinal use. For instance, two synthetic cannabinoid drugs are approved for treating nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- Endocannabinoids. These are the body’s own cannabinoids that it creates to interact with its endocannabinoid system. Until recently, it was believed there were only two. Anandamide is only effective in stimulating CB1 receptors, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG, is considered fully acting because it can stimulate both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Finding more ways to activate the ECS can lead us to promising new ways to improve our immunity and live longer healthier lives. Now, a second fully-acting endocannabinoid has been discovered, which means there is another route to stimulating your ECS and improving your immunity.
This year, a new study discovered that the body can make a second, fully-acting endocannabinoid called PDC. This means that in addition to 2-AG, we now have another vehicle for ECS stimulation and immunity regulation.
How It’s Made
The body uses fatty acids to synthesize endocannabinoids. For PDC, the body combines carnitine with a fatty acid called C15:0. There’s just one small problem: most of us don’t have much C15:0 in our bodies.
The Story of C15:0
We’ve spent an entire generation avoiding fat due to dietary guidelines issued in the early 1970s that instructed us to remove fats, especially saturated fats from our diets. That means foods that naturally contain C15:0, like whole fat cows milk, probably aren’t part of our diets today.
Although we have been told that all saturated fats are bad for us, science now supports that that is not the case.
The importance of a class of fatty acids called odd-chain saturated fatty acids, including C15:0, which has recently been identified as an essential fatty acid, have recently been discovered. An essential fatty acid is one our bodies don't make and thus, we must get it through our diets.
Science supports that higher levels of odd-chain saturated fatty acids are associated with better metabolic, heart and liver health. There are now calls to action to update current dietary guidelines to differentiate between good and bad saturated fats.
In the meantime, there’s an easy way to restore your circulating levels of C15:0 and ensure your body is capable of making the PDC you need to support a healthy, balanced immune system. The solution is fatty15.
Fatty15: The C15:0 Solution
C15:0 is found in trace amounts in whole fat dairy and some fish. However, simply increasing your intake of these foods would mean increasing your caloric intake and ingesting unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats. Instead, there’s fatty15.
Fatty15 is a breakthrough supplement borne from scientific discovery, containing one pure ingredient, FA15™. The pure, vegan-friendly, sustainably-produced, award-winning version of C15:0 helps support your immunity and your cells.
In addition to immune support, fatty15:*
- Binds to receptors found throughout our bodies, called PPARs (pronounced pee-pars), that help to regulate our metabolism, including our cholesterol and glucose homeostasis.
- Integrates into your cell membranes to strengthen them and protect your cells so they live longer.
- Improves mitochondrial function by up to 45%, helping your cells make the energy your body needs to function properly.
- Is better, broader, and safer than the most effective form of omega-3, a discovery that gives you a science backed reason to get rid of those fish oil capsules in your medicine cabinet.
The benefits of adding a fatty15 capsule mean you can experience better immunity, more energy, more restful sleep, and a healthier, happier you!*
Take Immunity Into Your Own Hands
You can support your immune system by engaging the endocannabinoid system, a system that regulates your immunity and helps keep it balanced. A daily fatty15 capsule is all you need to ensure your body can make PDC, a fully-acting endocannabinoid that can help support your immunity and so much more.*
Endocannabinoids and immune regulation - PMC
What is cell migration? | MBInfo
The CB2 receptor and its role as a regulator of inflammation - PMC
Pentadecanoylcarnitine is a newly discovered endocannabinoid with pleiotropic activities relevant to supporting physical and mental health | Scientific Reports
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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