The brain-gut axis is a complex concept, however it makes complete sense when it is described in a simple way.The
The brain is composed of different lobes responsible for different things. The frontal lobe is responsible for movement, thoughts, behavior, and executive decision making. When it’s working well, all these things work well, but when it’s not you get depression, anxiety, inappropriate behavior, emotional instability, and improper movement patterns.
The digestive system works much in the same way because it is subconsciously controlled by the brainstem. The brainstem is the little piece that sticks out of the bottom of the brain and is where the cranial nerves come out of. There are 12 cranial nerves to be exact, but we are only going to talk about 1. The Vagus Nerve (Cranial Nerve #10)
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body that connects the bottom of the brain to everything in your torso. The vagus nerve connects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidney, stomach, small and large intestines, colon, spleen and pancreas.
Let’s talk about how it interacts with the digestive system (the stomach, small and large intestine and colon).
First off, if this Brain-gut axis is working properly, you probably won’t even notice it, because everything will be working like it should, and you shouldn’t have any symptoms.
However when it’s not working right, you start to experience symptoms as each of these systems breaks down.
Main things the vagus nerve helps the GI system do
- Make HCL and enzymes to breakdown food and kill bacteria in the food/liquids we put into our body
- Increases motility to help move food through so you can absorb food
- Increases blood flow so you can digest and absorb your foods/liquids
- Increases blood flow to your brain and extremities
We will be going further in depth on Brain-Gut Dysfunction and will expand more to help you understand why your’e experiencing your issues.
If you are having any chronic or reoccurring issues of the GI system, look for a dysfunctional Brain-Gut Axis. Give our office a call and schedule your evaluation so we can get to the bottom of your health issues.