Health or disease, directly dependent on the vagus nerve

at 30.12.2021
Only when our body is in the parasympathetic state of the autonomic nervous system are the healing and maintenance processes of health triggered. It is a state of relaxation that restores balance to the nervous system and influences all aspects of our well-being. Essentially, we cannot heal unless we are in the parasympathetic state, which we should be in about 80% of the time. Almost every disease and somatic dysfunction are caused by our inability to enter the parasympathetic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system manages all bodily functions that are not under conscious control (heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration, cellular activity, and even body temperature). Its optimal function accomplishes a balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic states, which work in rhythmic alternation. For example, the sympathetic nervous system is associated with the fight or flight response and stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) release. In contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system is associated with relaxation, regeneration, and recovery.

When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it does the following:
1. Enhances digestion
Because proper digestion occurs only in a parasympathetic state, how we eat may be more important than what we eat. Therefore, it is necessary to invest in a proper diet and give ourselves enough time to eat in a calm and relaxed environment to assimilate as many nutrients from the foods we eat as possible. When we eat under stress, our organism doesn't digest and assimilate the nutrients properly in our food. It's like an ambulance getting stuck in traffic and unable to reach the sick person. The exact same thing happens in the body when we eat under stress: the nutrients simply do not reach the cells to heal us.
However, when we eat in the parasympathetic state, the brain activates all digestive functions, including saliva production and the release of gastric acid, enzymes, and bile. The parasympathetic nervous system promotes nutrient assimilation and motility. The parasympathetic nervous system also performs intestinal peristalsis or the muscular contractions required to transport food and waste. Inability to enter the parasympathetic nervous system, for example, is a significant cause of constipation. Furthermore, the parasympathetic nervous system allows the gut to communicate hunger and satiety to the brain, allowing us to recognize when we are truly hungry or full. An immune response may be triggered if the stomach does not produce gastric acid and enzymes to break down proteins.

2. Accelerates detoxification
Detoxification occurs only in the parasympathetic state, when the vagus nerve, which initiates the parasympathetic response, connects to all detoxifying organs, including the lungs, spleen, kidneys, and small intestine, liver, gallbladder, stomach, and colon.

3. It combats inflammation.
The parasympathetic nervous system reduces inflammation in the body and the brain. The vagus nerve detects and soothes inflammation by alerting the brain to release the anti-inflammatory neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which acts as an anti-inflammatory brake in the body. These anti-inflammatory signals are not transmitted when the vagus nerve is not functioning correctly, resulting in chronic inflammatory problems such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recent studies have linked vagus nerve stimulation to a significant reduction in inflammatory symptoms.

4. Improves immunity
The parasympathetic nervous system stimulates the immune system, allowing the body to combat pathogens, bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and chronic infections such as:

Helicobacter pylori (an intestinal bacterium that contributes to acid reflux and gastric ulcer),
Candidiasis and fungi are two examples of fungal infections,
Infections caused by fungi,
Infections of the gums (parasympathetic condition triggers the production of saliva in the mouth, which helps protect the mouth from infections),
Infections of the sinuses, lungs, intestines, or urinary tract.

5. It alleviates depressive symptoms.
Vague nerve stimulation significantly reduces the symptoms of depression, such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and a lack of motivation. According to a growing body of research, stress and inflammation cause cognitive, emotional, and even biological processes that increase the risk of depression. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system reduces inflammation and improves connectivity in brain regions involved in depression and mood regulation.

6. Reduces anxiety
Anxiety is a recurring fearful experience that occurs when the survival mechanisms of fight or flight are activated. When the fear response is activated, everything else must be blocked so that the body can maintain the alertness required to combat the potential or imminent danger. The nervous system controls anxiety, prepares muscles for it, increases heart rate and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and maintains motivation during the sympathetic function of fighting or running. "Move, act, fight, or run!" commands the sympathetic nervous system to the body. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system creates a sense of security, slows the heart rate, and regulates breathing. As a result, entering the parasympathetic nervous system assists us in overcoming anxiety.

7. It alleviates pain.
The parasympathetic nervous system aids in the reduction of pain perception. Pain is a signal sent by the brain to our bodies. The pain also relaxes when the brain relaxes, entering the parasympathetic state. According to research, the perception of pain decreased significantly when subjects with high anxiety entered the parasympathetic state. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, athletes recover faster after strenuous exercise.

8. Enhances intestinal health
The vagus nerve connects the intestine and the brain directly, acting as a two-way radio communication system. The vagus nerve connects 90 percent of the intestinal nerve fibers, also known as the enteric brain or "stomach brain," to the brain. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which aids the body in modulating, regulating, and integrating intestinal functions such as motility, enzyme secretion, and nutrient absorption.
Increased blood flow to the small intestine is also caused by the parasympathetic condition, allowing the intestinal wall to heal and reducing intestinal inflammation. The parasympathetic nervous system also keeps mucous secretion going, which activates the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria and other nutrients in the intestine.

9. It alleviates stress.
The sympathetic nervous system's fight or flight response is the body's first line of defense against stress. Stress activates the sympathetic survival response, inhibiting everything other than immediate survival, such as digestion, detoxification, and immune function. In the sympathetic state, blood flow is directed from the digestive organs to the muscles of the arms and legs in preparation for fighting or fleeing. The sympathetic nervous system also raises the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. Humans are designed to return to a sympathetic state to deal with danger, but we must then return to a parasympathetic state of balance, rest, and digestion to recover and heal.

10. Beneficial to the health of the adrenal glands
Although the autonomic nervous system does not directly control the adrenal glands, a chronic sympathetic response to fighting or running can cause stress. In a state of chronic stress, the stress response mechanism known as the HPA axis causes the adrenal glands to produce large amounts of the stress hormone (cortisol), resulting in adrenal fatigue. Conversely, the parasympathetic nervous system normalizes the HPA axis, lowering cortisol levels and promoting adrenal healing.

11. Boosts energy
Healing your body and mind requires energy and vitality. Energy helps the body's internal functions and restoration by forming and maintaining cells and tissues and facilitating chemical reactions that allow healing. When we are in a sympathetic state of fighting or fleeing, our ability to regenerate, digest, detoxify, and heal slows dramatically, resulting in the accumulation of toxins, which contributes to fatigue. When you assist your body in entering the parasympathetic state of healing, the body can begin to eliminate toxins and regain energy and vitality. Furthermore, the parasympathetic state of rest and digestion allows the mind and body to relax, reducing cortisol production and allowing for an optimal flow of energy.

12. Enhances heart health
The parasympathetic nervous system is critical for heart health. The heart rate is controlled by the balance of the nervous system's two states. The sympathetic nervous system ("Fight or flight!") raises the heart rate to pump more blood to the muscles and help us escape danger. In contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system ("Rest and digest!") lowers the heart rate for us to rest and recover. The vagus nerve acts as a temperature sensor to control the heart rate via electrical impulses sent to specialized muscle tissue (heart pacemaker) in the right atrium. In addition, the vagus nerve releases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which lengthens the interval between heartbeats and slows the pulse.
Heart disease frequently occurs when we are unable to enter the parasympathetic state. Heart health necessitates daily regeneration of the heart, which we can only do in the parasympathetic state.

13. Improves muscle strength
The vagus nerve releases acetylcholine, which signals nerve-muscle communication and causes muscles to contract so that we can move. Low acetylcholine levels can exacerbate muscle weakness, fatigue, and stress. Muscles can work for a while, but eventually, they run out of acetylcholine and become extremely tired.

14. Enhances sexual health
Sexual arousal is a parasympathetic reaction. The genitals, like the vagus nerve, connect to the digestive organs to increase blood flow and intensify pleasure. In addition, the vagus nerve innervates the female cervix and uterus, sending sexual and orgasmic energy signals from the genitals to the brain. Because erectile dysfunction is frequently associated with a lack of blood flow to the genitals, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system can increase blood flow to the genital area.

15. Maintains blood sugar balance
A sympathetic state (stress) causes an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. The stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system resulted in a significant decrease in blood sugar levels in guinea pigs. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated in response to a drop in blood sugar, the autonomic nervous system plays an essential role in releasing insulin because the body perceives this as an emergency. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, blood sugar levels fall.
16. Helps to alleviate trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder
Trauma occurs when the nervous system switches to "Fight or Run!" mode in response to perceived danger. Survival mode is available. However, if the trauma is not processed, the nervous system can become stuck in survival mode, reliving the initial trauma experience even in a safe environment. The nervous system must be switched from survival mode to parasympathetic healing and regeneration mode for healing trauma.

17. It alleviates insomnia.
The ability to enter a parasympathetic state determines relaxation and allows us to sleep well. The sympathetic nervous system relaxes during sleep, lowering blood pressure, relaxing muscles, and dilating skin vessels, which warms the body. Conversely, the activation of the sympathetic nervous system will disrupt sleep.

18. Adjusts appetite and weight
The vagus nerve controls communication between the gut and the brain, including messages of hunger and satiety, which are best transmitted in the parasympathetic state. However, if this communication is poor, it will lead to over-feeding or under-feeding and may contribute to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. On the other hand, when the vagus nerve activates the parasympathetic state and can communicate to your brain the correct signals of hunger or satiety, you feel hunger or satiety correctly and reach a healthy body weight.

Recent research has confirmed that people suffering from anorexia nervosa respond differently to hunger signals because anorexics' brain circuit differences make them less sensitive to reward and the motivational impulse of hunger. Maintaining the parasympathetic nervous system and optimal vagus nerve function aids in the improvement of the brain's mechanisms that maintain appetite-regulating procedures.

19. Improves memory
According to new research, vagus nerve stimulation can improve memory. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, the neurotransmitter norepinephrine is released into the amygdala, a memory-storing brain area.
The events in our lives with emotional and meaningful impacts reinforce memories stimulating sentimental pleasure or avoiding future dangers. Here's how it works: A high-energy event stimulates the vagus nerve, causing a release of chemical messengers into the brain structures that process memory, namely the amygdala and hippocampus. These brain regions work hard to store long-term emotional experiences by activating themselves. In an area of the brain involved in memory storage, vagus nerve stimulation causes significant increases in norepinephrine.

20. Controls breathing
When it is time to breathe, the vagus nerve signals the lungs and communicates with the diaphragm to produce deep breaths. Deep, soothing diaphragmatic breathing is essential for healing. This relaxing breathing requires proper vagus nerve stimulation.
As a result, we have every reason to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which we can accomplish through a balanced and stress-free lifestyle or various artificial vagus nerve activation methods.

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