The Brain in Your Gut

man holding his upset stomach

It surprises many to learn that they have an enteric nervous system. Have you heard of it? It controls and regulates the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon and has five times the number of neurons as your spinal cord.

You’ve probably heard the admonition “trust your gut.” Turns out it’s wise advice. If you’ve ever felt butterflies in your stomach, felt a hunch or sensed that the crab cakes were a bit “funky,” you may have heard from your “second brain.” In your gut.

Have you ever vomited?

Then you’ve experienced the wisdom of your enteric nervous system firsthand. You may not have felt well, but the intelligence of your nervous system caused those funky crab cakes to become projectiles, producing the contractions necessary to force them back up your esophagus. A healthy response even though you didn’t feel well.

The enteric nervous system is thought to play a major role in our emotional well–being, too. It connects to the brain, directly affecting feelings of sadness or stress, even influencing memory, learning and decision-making.

Many gastrointestinal disorders such as acid reflux, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome begin with the brain in our gut.

Do you know someone who should be seeing us to better balance their enteric nervous system?

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