What does the vagus nerve have to do with your health?

Written by The Nutrition Academy

Time To Read: 2 minutes

October 23, 2017

If Individuals are experiencing health issues such as fatigue, allergies, anxiety, gut issues, brain fog, or depression, then the vagus nerve is affected. When the vagus nerve isn’t performing at its optimal, we can experience a myriad of health issues.  In conjunction with other aspects of your biology, increasing and stimulating the vagus nerve is an important aspect of healing.

The vagus nerve is the main nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system and often referred to as the ‘wandering nerve’. The nerve reaches the brain, gut, heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, ureter, spleen, lungs, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, ears and tongue. This communication pathway plays an important role in the regulation of these organs and when it’s not working properly we will experience negative health outcomes.

The vagus nerve can be interrupted and experience miscommunication from an organ to the brain, communication from within the brain, or communication from the brain to other areas of the body like the heart, liver, and gut.

Recent studies have found that the stimulation of the vagus nerve can restore consciousness in individuals in a vegetative state. This is promising for individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, digestive disorders and neuro-developmental disorders (Corazzol et al, 2017).

Other research has found that the vagus nerve plays a large role in the regulation of our metabolism. It has a fine-tuned regulation aiming to preserve energy and prevent weight fluctuations. Along with the Leptin hormone, supporting the vagus nerve will be key to long term successful weight loss (Pavlov and Tracey, 2014).

Healing your gut and stimulating your vagus nerve ultimately supports long term health. Below are a few simple things you can incorporate into your daily life, which help to stimulate the vagus nerve

  • Gargle
  • Massage
  • Breathing exercises
  • Prayer
  • Singing
  • Meditation
  • Address thyroid hormones

Elspeth Haswell-Smith

Founder of Food for Life Coach



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