Gut and Me
Question for you:
Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach?
Have you ever feel nauseated before giving a presentation or right before public speaking?
Have you felt your stomach tie into knots during times of stress?
If yes, read ahead:
First, let’s categorize our super-complicated bodies for a moment.
So far, we have talked about how our big brain communicates with the rest of our body. This is part of our Central Nervous System (CNS). We have also talked about Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic Nervous System that helps us with our fight or flight response. This is part of our Peripheral Nervous System.
Another branch of the Peripheral Nervous System is the Enteric nervous system (ENS) which is located in our digestive tract.
Sounds complicated? Well, it is! Our bodies are this beautiful and complex machines therefore it is so important to take care of it. Taking care of it is so much easier when you understand how it works and can conclude what it might need to function better.
The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract. The main role of the ENS is to control your digestion. “From swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination”, your ENS system is responsible for how you digest the food that your eat.
The ENS, having such a significant amount of nerve cells may be considered your second brain. While it does not cause actual thoughts or mental impulses to occur, it does communicate back and forth with the brain to trigger some responses by your body.
When we think of something delicious, our stomach releases certain digestive juices even before we eat. A hungry stomach tells the brain it requires food and sometimes even craves certain foods.
Our two brains ‘talk’ to each other. Therefore, our brain-brain and gut-brain directly affect each other.
A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
When faced with a new situation, emotion or even thought, our ENS may trigger an emotional shift by sending signals to the CNS. “Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes.”People who face problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain, upset stomach and even chronic stress, may be primarily associated to hyper- or hyposensitivity to gut stimuli.
So, frequent or even constant constipation, diarrhea, gas and stomach pains are common and therefore no big deal right? Wrong. Guys, it’s a big deal.
“Some people with functional GI disorders perceive pain more acutely than other people do because their brains are more responsive to pain signals from the GI tract. Stress can make the existing pain seem even worse”. Because of the strong connection between your two brains, you might see the constipation, diarrhea, gas or stomach pain being one of the first symptom when your nervous system feels increased stress. That is your body telling you “hey, I’m stressed out and overwhelmed, do something about it”.
Please, do something about it.
Start by having your nervous system tested for interference and rebalancing it through proper chiropractic adjustments.
What does chiropractic have to do with my gut?
Chiropractic focuses on eliminating the stress on the nervous system caused by a subluxation in the spine. Once stress on the nervous system reduces, the brain-brain is able to communicate with the gut-brain effectively, allowing your digestive tract to function properly which will then resolve the symptoms that your body is feeling. The whole-body approach to healthcare and wellness allows us to value our bodies and enhance our quality of life. continues to show its value in our longevity, well-being, and quality of life.
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). The gut-brain connection - Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
A scientist explores the mysteries of the gut-brain connection. (2017, December 06). Retrieved from https://ideas.ted.com/a-scientist-explores-the-mysteries-of-the-gut-brain-connection/
The Brain-Gut Connection. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection