5 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve For Better Digestion!

The vagus nerve, which is the longest cranial nerve in the body, plays a significant role in controlling various bodily functions, including the speed of digestion. This is achieved through the transmission of signals from the brain to the digestive organs. 

The stomach is signalled to excrete hydrochloric acid and churn food.

The liver is instructed to produce bile that is transported to the gallbladder and released into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats. 

The pancreas is also signalled to release important digestive enzymes, such as protease, lipase, and amylase, which are crucial for breaking down protein, fat, and carbohydrates. 

Additionally, the vagus nerve stimulates the motility complex in the intestine, which aids in pushing food through the gut and interacts with your microbiome.

Given the vital role that the vagus nerve plays in digestion, it is not surprising that stimulating this nerve can help with various digestion-related illnesses, including irritable bowel syndrome.

5 ways to stimulate your vagus nerve

1. Deep Breathing Exercises - Taking deep, slow breaths can activate the vagus nerve and improve its function. Try inhaling slowly through your nose, filling up your lungs, and exhaling slowly through your mouth

2. Meditation & Yoga - Both meditation and yoga have been found to activate the vagus neve, reduce stress, and improve overall health. Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can be an effective way to stimulate your vagus nerve. 

3. Cold Exposure - Exposure to cold temperatures, such as taking cold showers or swimming in cold water, can stimulate the vagus nerve and improve its function. However, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend in cold water.

4. Humming, chanting or singing - Because your vagus nerve runs through both your larynx and pharynx in your throat, humming, chanting or singing creates a vibration that stimulates your vagus nerve and can increase your vagal tone (aka health of your vagus nerve).

5. Herbal bitters - Did you know you have bitter receptors throughout your entire gastrointestinal tract. Research has shown that bitter tasting herbs like ginger, gentian and wormwood act on these receptors, stimulating GI motility, secretion of gastric acids and facilitate all digestive processes. This taste stimulation accelerates the activation of the gastric branch of the vagus nerve, further supporting your digestive function. Research has shown that herbal liquid extracts are the most effective at doing this. 

Book in a herbal medicine consult today!

By trying these tips, you can stimulate your vagus nerve and improve your digestion!

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