I want to help you invest in yourself, restore and effectively maintain balance through food, mind, and body connection.
First things first, what is the VAGUS NERVE?
The vagus nerve is our bodies information highway, it is the 10th cranial nerve we have and the tallest cranial nerve that connects our brain stem to every single organ in our body through to the colon, essentially hugging with its nerve fibers each of our organs.
*Vagus originates from “to wander” in Latin. I must side bar and share here that when I was 18 and fun, I had “to wander” tattooed on me, which speaks in high volume to my connection later in life to learning that the Vagus nerve, originates from to wander.*
Emphasizing, that our information highway, the vagus nerve, is responsible for transporting information throughout our body. If we breakdown information signaling in our body and the direction in which information is signaled; about 90% comes from our gut, as afferent signals, towards our brain and 10% of information on the vagus nerve stems from the brain to our organs. An example of an afferent signal, that the gut may send to the brain, is when the body is exposed to warmth (an outside stimuli). Our natural bodily response is to signal the brain, our hypothalamus, to release E2 (PGE2) and trigger perspiration, through water evaporation our body will release heat and cool down. Also, E2 (PGE2) presence can serve to induce fever when the hypothalamus is triggered, as a natural defense to fight off bacteria.
So, what is the correlation between our Vagus Nerve and brain function?
The hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the structure in our brain that controls the information coming to and from the autonomic nervous system, via our vagus nerve, thus responsible for so many of our bodily processes through our neurotransmitters.
When you think of the hypothalamus you must think of it as a country with many different sub-cultures, whereas each sub-culture is self-managed and has it owns set of rules and day to day operations, yet all these different sub-cultures work together in harmony to form a beautifully functioning country.
When I studied emotional intelligence in Barcelona, I learned that our emotional center resides in the hypothalamus and our cognitive thinking resides in our neocortex, two different sides of the brain. So, quickly I have highlighted the breakdown of both:
I am so fortunate to have learned through my own challenges and difficulty the importance and correlation between our emotions, our gut, the hypothalamus and most importantly our serotonin level, as, I am certain I can save you time and help you in your own transformation and healing.
So, what is the correlation between the Vagus Nerve, Brain function and our dietary choices?
The truth is when an emotional encounter takes place, our conscious thought and priorities are thrown off. So, we block our conscious thought, allow the feeling or emotion generated by such encounter to take over and give into the motion of survival. What happens next is a domino effect of unconsciously, poor, decisions, many of which become related to food and or cravings.
Now, when serotonin level is low.. this motion of survival becomes overwhelming, and difficult to reset from.
The first two things I tend to ask my clients:
1. Are you happy?
2. Are you sleeping?
Still with me? Wunderbar!
Serotonin is released from our Raphe nuclei into the brain stem and projects to the rest of the body, how? Via the information highway, our vagus nerve, that touches each of our organs and connects our brain stem all the way through to our colon.
Along with many other important neurotransmitters and hormones such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and oxytocin our hypothalamus is responsible for triggering this feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.
To produce serotonin, you need essential amino acid tryptophan, which our body only receives through dietary intake. The body then requires Magnesium, B6 + B3 to convert tryptophan into 5HTP (serotonin), and as you subscribe to the s(o)ul digest I get more into this, however it is important to highlight that serotonin is the precursor for melatonin production. Here is where you need to pay attention… tryptophan is absorbed in the intestines and 95% of Serotonin is first synthesized in the gut, emphasizing the importance of a high performing healthy gut. Concluding, if you have poor gut function, you are not absorbing tryptophan (among a slew of other nutrients required for brain function) and in turn you not producing serotonin. If you have low levels of serotonin, chances are you are not converting enough melatonin for adequate amounts of sleep.
*Mg, B3, B6 & Tryptophan can all be found in Bananas! *
*Amino acid tryptophan plays a role in B3 production in the body, however the required amount of tryptophan for enough B3 to be produced is extremely high, suggesting niacin be obtained through dietary food intake*