The Second Brain You Didn’t Know You Had: Your Gut!
It Also Affects Your Mental Health.
“There’s no such thing as good and bad bacteria or fungi. It’s not good and bad. It’s just whether there’s too much of it or too little of it and things are out of balance, so the ‘bad things’ have an opportunity to prosper.” — Nigel Palmer
Have you ever experienced butterflies in your stomach before an important event? That’s the enteric nervous system at work!
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is often called our body’s second brain. This is because it is always in contact with the one in our head.
What Is the Enteric Nervous System?
The ENS comprises a network of neurons that line our gastrointestinal tract. This system is responsible for digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. It is also responsible for maintaining the health of our gut microbiota.
The enteric nervous system is directly linked to the brain via the vagus nerve. This connection allows the two systems to communicate with each other. For example, when stressed, the brain sends signals to the enteric nervous system that can lead to changes in gut motility and secretion of digestive juices.
The ENS is also thought to play a role in mood and emotions. This is because it contains several neurotransmitters also found in the brain.