Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Butterfly Communication


According to Dr. Gershon, author of The Second Brain, you feel like there are butterflies in your stomach when brain neurons send a message of anxiety to gut neurons. The gut neurons then send messages back up to the brain. However, it has been discovered that gut neurons can work on their own, initiating messages that go up to brain neurons when the GI system isn’t happy. When are the gut neurons unhappy? When you overeat or eat food that irritates the GI system. When you are stressed emotionally, frightened or overly anxious, or have constipation or diarrhea, etc. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is not the same as IBD or inflammatory bowel disease.)

Monday, May 16, 2022

Gut Butterflies

Have you ever felt like butterflies were flapping their wings in your stomach? Have you ever heard someone say, “I went with my gut?” Likely that referred to signals from your ENS or Enteric Nervous system, now dubbed Your Second Brain. That is because your gut is filled with neurons that try to get your attention to give you information when it is deemed you need to know.  A sense of butterflies in your stomach can result from a surge of stress hormones released during a fight-or-flight event. Another way of getting communication through to the conscious portion of your brain is through the messages sent from the gut neurons up to your brain neurons.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Gut Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and emotions. that most people associate with the human brain. However, only about 10 percent of serotonin is released in the brain. The other 90 percent—as far as is known—is released in your gut, a fact that likely contributed to adopting the term Your Second Brain. Naturally everything goes better when you have just
right amount of Serotonin. Too little and your mood may fall; too much and you run the risk of being overly anxious. In the GI System, serotonin impacts digestion, bowel movements, and appetite. It can help you realize that you are full, and that eating more food would be over-eating.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wandering Nerves

Gut neurons talk to brain neurons all the time, typically via the vagus nerves—there are two of them, a left and a right, although they are often referred to just as the vagus nerve. The word “vagus” means wandering in Latin. Indeed, the vagus nerves wander through the body, from the brainstem to the digestive tract and other body organs. It is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system in the human body. Gut neurons do not have conscious thought as do many of the neurons in your brain. However, they regularly send messages to the brain. Perhaps 90 percent of the messages traveling back and forth go from gut neurons up to brain neurons. Once the messages are in the 'brain in your head,' some of the information is thought to come to conscious awareness. Perhaps together they want to help you identify the reason that butterflies seem to be fluttering around in your stomach. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Gut-Brain-Axis


The gut-brain-axis is a term that refers to the back-and-forth communication system between the brain and the gastrointestinal or GI system. Or, as some might say, the talk that goes on between neurons in the human brain and those in the second brain in the gut. This communication occurs primarily via the vagus nerve. Studies have shown that the gut-brain-axis is becoming increasingly important as a therapeutic target for gastrointestinal and psychiatric disorders. It is thought to play an important role in the relationship between the gut, the brain, and inflammation, especially in disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Neurons in Your Gut

Gut neurons look like those in the brain in your head, eat the same neurotrophic food, and use many of the same neurotransmitters. For example, estimates are that 90 percent of all the serotonin in your entire body lives in your gut or Gastrointestinal System (GI System). The serotonin helps trigger digestion. Neurons also utilize serotonin to send signals up to the brain 'in your head from your 'second brain', information that can impact your desire to eat or not to eat. Serotonin also acts as a go-between, keeping brain neurons up to date with what is happening in gut neurons. Conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach/duodenal ulcers, and Parkinson's disease are said to have symptoms both at brain-neuron and gut-neuron levels.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Your Second Brain

I just heard a news commentator mention ‘Your Second Brain.’ What is that and where is it?

It refers to the neurons that live in the walls of your Enteric Nervous System or ENS. That’s another term for your Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract or gut. Its two-layered walls stretch from your esophagus to your rectum. Consensus used to be that neurons were relegated to the brain and spinal cord. Then researchers discovered ‘neurons’ in the ENS or GI system, counting perhaps a million or more. As equipment became more sophisticated, estimates were revised upwards to maybe 200-600 million. Recently I heard someone say that there may be as many neurons in your gut as in parts of your brain.  

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