Your stomach is also known as your SECOND BRAIN
Why does Dr. Gershon, an expert in the nascent field of neurogastroenterology, call the enteric nervous system your second brain? It is because “the enteric nervous system has more in common, both chemically and structurally, with the brain than with the remainder of the nervous system”. The stomach looks as if it were, what he calls, “the brain gone south”. As a result, it is to be anticipated that illnesses of various types that occur in the brain will also involve the enteric nervous system, or your stomach.
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.
-Harvard Medical School publication, March 2012
Stress gets you ready to fight or flight, not rest and digest. So, as part of the stress response, your body shunts blood away from the digestive system and towards your legs and arms. This is why so many people have digestive issues and are malnourished. If you eat a meal when you are stressed, how well will you absorb the nutrients and properly digest the food? Not very well. This leads to conditions like heart burn, gas, bloating, and un-digested food.
If you present to our clinic with digestive problems, we will utilize a multi-faceted approach to get to the root of the problem. A thorough brain and nervous system exam will reveal if your brain is under stress. Further, we may recommend having your cortisol and hormone levels checked by our Naturopath. Your treatment plan will be focused on reducing brain stress and restoring balance to the enteric nervous system.