The Brain and Gut Health Connection – The Vagus Nerve.

The vagus nerve is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system – and the longest cranial nerve in the body.

It stretches from your brainstem to your digestive system and is made up of thousands of fibres that constantly give your brain updates about your organs.

Calm Down, Rest And Digest


The vagus nerve functions by counteracting activity of the sympathetic nervous system, helping us combat stress and nullify our physiologic state of alarm by moving us into a state of calm.

What Governs The Digestive System?


The Enteric Nervous System (ENS), often called the “second brain,” hidden within our digestive system. This complex network of millions of nerve cells stretches from the esophagus to the anus and plays a vital role in maintaining gut health and influencing our overall well-being and mood.

The Enteric Nervous System (ENS)

The ENS is a web of neurons embedded in the gastrointestinal tract, controlling digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste elimination. It’s as significant as the spinal cord, governing gut activities independently of the brain.

How Does The ENS Associate With the Central Nervous System (CNS)?

The ENS and CNS communicate bidirectionally through the gut-brain axis. This connection influences emotions, mood, and gut function. Stress can affect the gut, leading to digestive issues, while the ENS can send signals to the brain, impacting our emotions.

The Importance of Gut Health For Overall Wellbeing

A healthy ENS is crucial for overall well-being because it-

Improves Digestion– Efficient digestion and nutrient absorption depend on a well-functioning ENS.

Enhances the Immune System– A healthy ENS supports a robust immune response, protecting against infections.

Regulates Mood The gut-brain axis influences mood, and a balanced ENS may reduce anxiety and depression.

Supports Nutritional Status A properly functioning ENS aids nutrient absorption, providing essential elements for optimal health.

“Osteopathy Can Help Improve Gut Health and Thus The General Function Of The ENS”

Mental Health and Breathing

If you are struggling mentally or physically, your Osteopath may also advise on breathing exercises to potentially stimulate the vagus nerve and in turn – reduce stress

The 4-7-8

The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This technique will help with stress and is a useful tool to manage anxiety. Through regular practice, this exercise can help to reduce anxiety and even help those who struggle to sleep at night.

In the captivating world of gut health, lies the enigmatic Enteric Nervous System (ENS), our “second brain.”

This hidden network controls digestion, emotions, and the gut-brain axis. Nurturing our ENS means nurturing our overall well-being. Let’s embrace gut health for a happier, healthier life!

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