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Gut Feeling: The Gut-Brain Axis

The digestive process doesn’t begin when you put food in your mouth and start chewing. Digestion actually begins from the moment you think about eating something. Just the thought of eating, let’s say a delicious slice of pizza, triggers your stomach’s juices to be released before the food gets there. But how does this happen?

What is the Gut-Brain Axis?

The pathway from which your brain communicates with your gut is known as the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional signaling network made up of neurons, hormones, immune cells, and microbial molecules. This connection goes both ways. Your brain can send signals to your gut, just as your gut can send signals to your brain.

The Vagus nerve is the main communication highway between the brain and gut. Through this pathway, trillions of microbes in your gut are constantly sending messages to the brain. As we speak, there are over 500 million nerves in your intestines sending feedback to your brain through the Vagus nerve. That's 5x more nerves than you'll find in your spinal cord!

These messages can influence cognition, stress response, mood, emotional regulation, pain, and even social behavior. Your brain and gastrointestinal (GI) system are so intimately connected that a troubled stomach can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.

The gut-brain connection also explains why a stressful life experience such as giving a presentation at work, may make you feel nauseous or trigger intestinal pain. Psychosocial factors have an enormous effect on the physiology of the gut, for better or worse. In other words, stress and depression can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract.

We truly believe a healthy gut leads to a happy life. In understanding how the gut-brain axis works, we also know that a happy life maintains a healthy gut. In addition to adding sylly to your fiber supplement routine, finding your own healthy rituals to manage anxiety and stress (exercise, meditation, yoga, etc.) will help you maintain optimal digestive health. Practicing mindful eating, deep breathing, chewing slowly, drinking water throughout the day and remembering your body is your temple will help you maintain a positive gut-brain connection.

Sylly Tip: Take 6 breaths per minute to calm down your nervous system. Try breathing in for 4 seconds, out exhale for 6. Aaahhhh :)

keep calm and live sylly