WHAT DOES ACTIVATING YOUR VAGUS NERVE DO?
When you activate your vagus nerve (to improve your vagal tone), you activate a part of your autonomic nervous system, which functions without your conscious awareness, called the parasympathetic system – aka – the relaxation response, or rest and digest state.
To heal your gut, you want to be in a rest and digest state as much as you possibly can.
Better vagal tone has been shown to:
- Increase gut flow/gut motility (aka peristalsis and migrating motor complex), which is great news if you have or have had SIBO.
- Stimulate digestive juices and bile release (hence killer digestion!)
- Keep your immune system in check (less cold and flu, and potentially less auto-immunity).
- Reduce inflammation throughout your body, via the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway
- Have a positive impact on many ‘happy’ hormones and enzymes such as endorphins, acetylcholine and oxytocin, which bring about positive feelings in the body and reduce the sensation of pain and depression.
- Research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is vital in experiencing empathy and fostering social bonding, and it is crucial to our ability to observe, perceive, and make complex decisions. So, people with high vagal tone are not just healthier, they’re also socially and psychologically stronger – better able to concentrate and remember things, happier and less likely to be depressed, more empathetic and more likely to have close friendships.