The Vagus nerve is that nerve that gives your brain that gut feeling. While it used to be just a metaphor, it turns out that gut feeling you have is actually real. Your brain receives a whole lot of signals from the bacteria in your gut telling it what is going on. These bacteria in our gut help us to be human, to digest our food. They also have their own agenda’s which is basically to survive. Their DNA communicate with our DNA via RNA that actually become a part of our genome. Billions of cells all with their own little agenda’s need to be coordinated and that occurs at the top, our brains, which eventually put us at the top of the food chain. This communication is taking place on the super highway known as the vagal nerve that leaves our brain and heads south to control all of our organs.
From the other end, it leaves our mesentery, taking information about the body’s organs to the brain via “afferent fibers” (sensory nerves), and is considered the reason why we have a gut-brain connection. Lately, a lot of doctors have been interested in this key connector in treating gastrointestinal and psychiatric disorders. Promising evidence that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) (and meditation techniques) could be adjunct therapies to support a number of conditions, such as treatment for refractory mood disorders, stress disorders, inflammatory diseases, and mood and anxiety issues.
The vagus nerve, represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for a number of bodily functions including mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate. This long bundle of motor and sensory fibers links the brain stem to most of the body’s organs. Because of its influence on the parasympathetic nervous system, it assists in the regulation of blood pressure and blood glucose balance, promotes general kidney function, helps release bile and testosterone, stimulates salivary secretion, assists in controlling taste and releasing tears, and plays a key role in women’s fertility issues.
When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it leads to the release of acetylcholine forever known in this article as ACH. ACH helps mediate parasympathetic effects, and also stimulates muscle contractions in the parasympathetic nervous system. So, in addition to being the gut-brain connector, it is also functions as part of the neuro endocrine-immune axis, which is the first line of defense against inflammation. Chronic exposure to elevated inflammatory markers, such as cytokines, can lead to depression.
This is the reason for why VNS therapy has been shown to have a positive affect on depression. Vagal nerve stimulation also leads to an enhanced firing of norepinephrine neurons. This in turn increases firing of serotonin neurons. Like other neurotransmitters, vagal nerve stimulation has also been reported to effect chemical changes in monoamine metabolism, resulting in changes of monoamine metabolites in the hippocampus, which is part of the emotional center of your brain. Additionally, vagal nerve stimulation has been reported to influence hippocampal neurogenesis, a process necessary for the maintenance of a normal mood.
Another recent study showed that vagal nerve stimulation helped with stroke recovery by doubling the benefits of rehabilitative training, and enhancing structural plasticity in motor networks.
Not surprisingly, nutrition support including probiotics and antioxidants impact vagus nerve activity via their role in the gut microbiota. The gut microbiotia’s communication with the brain involves the vagus nerve, and this interaction effects the brain and subsequent behavior. .
Currently approved by the FDA for depression and seizure preventions, vagal nerve stimulation is a promising adjunct therapy, for severe anxiety disorders.
I’m not exactly sure about all their methods for vagal nerve stimulation, but some include implanting electrodes inside of your neck. As a chiropractor I find that kind of foolish, because the best way to stimulate the vagal nerve is to get a simple chiropractic adjustment. No, there are no connections in the spinal joints that are directly connected to the vagal nerve and fortunately for you and unfortunately for many medical doctors that I have encountered over the years, that is not necessary because the nervous system works via connections. A high school student knows this and yet I’ve had Ph.D anatomists mock my treatment when I explained to them that I could affect the vagal nerve.
The most powerful nerves in your body are 1A’s and 1B’s. They are called proprioceptors. There are 200 more times these powerful nerves in the upper two neck joints than anywhere else in your body. When a chiropractor adjusts your upper neck, they have a 200 times better chance of driving your other nerve systems in your body, including the vagus, into reaching threshold. This is the most powerful and safest form of treatment known to medical science. You just don’t hear about it because the drug companies are busy selling chemicals that will affect your nerve synapses. But a long time ago, before corporate profits evolved, we evolved with nervous systems that were quite capable of making their own synapses work. They work better with chiropractic and without side effects that make taking the drug that you are being sold very undesirable. But, the drug companies are sure you’ll buy it anyway, even though they are forced to tell you at the end of the commercial all the different ways it is going to harm you including severe harm also known as death.