Brain Gut Connection
Hello, how’s it going everybody? Dr. Kaci here at the Specific Chiropractic Center. We get asked all the time by our patients, What is this thing called brain gut access, or what is the brain-gut connection? We get asked that all the time because we focus our upper cervical chiropractic clinic here on the nervous system.
The nervous system consists of various components, such as the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Through chiropractic adjustments, we focus on the upper cervical area to address the effects of stress and trauma on the nervous system. These factors often trigger a fight-or-flight response, also known as sympathetic activation.
That’s more of an emergency. There’s a threat. There’s your sensing danger. Those kinds of things when we’re under stress, and so what can happen is through various mechanisms, but through what can happen is the brain will actually begin to start to perceive everything through that kind of stress window where the sympathetic fight or flight part of our brainstem and nervous system begins to override everything.
Researchers estimate that the brainstem, where the brain connects to the spinal cord, receives and transmits around 10 to 11 trillion bits of information per second. This vast amount of information allows our brain to coordinate and regulate the body’s functions without our conscious awareness.
The gut, also known as the enteric nervous system (ENS), plays a significant role in this process. From our mouth down to the esophagus, stomach, intestine, colon, and then out the other end it’s all lined with very sensitive nerve endings that have to give the brain instant information on what’s going on.
Considering that the gut is connected to the external environment through the intake of food, it’s crucial for the brain to receive accurate and timely information. Pancreas, I want you to do this, liver. I need you to do that, colon, and so on. So it’s a tremendous amount of information coming up into the brain. What makes the gut so special is the sheer density of neurological tissue that’s involved.
The gut-brain connection is intimate and influential. The gut communicates with the brain, and the brain affects the gut. This bidirectional communication can significantly impact our overall well-being.
Let’s briefly explore how the gut functions. It consists of interconnected tubes, including the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon. As food travels through these tubes, it undergoes a process of digestion and absorption.
The esophagus carries food to the stomach, where it is broken down further with the help of enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The resulting liquefied food then passes into the intestines, where absorption takes place. The intestine has specialized areas for absorbing specific nutrients into the bloodstream.
Maintaining the integrity of the intestinal wall is crucial. However, factors such as a poor diet or certain medications can weaken the integrity, allowing undesired particles to leach into the bloodstream. This can trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation.
To optimize health, it’s essential to harmonize the functioning of the central nervous system (brain) and the enteric nervous system (gut). Our chiropractic care focuses on the nervous system, while we collaborate with other doctors who specialize in gut health. Together, we address issues related to the intestinal wall, restore its integrity, and enhance communication between these two vital systems.
By restoring this connection, the body can function optimally as intended. If you’re experiencing any challenges in these areas, we offer a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your concerns and guide you in the right direction.
Dr. Kaci Madden