Do You Have a Second Brain?
Your Digestive System and Chiropractic Care
Did you know?
- The cells in your gut outnumber the cells in the rest of your body by more than 10-1.
- 80% of your immune system is in your gut (gastrointestinal system).
- Your gut has its own nerve system called the enteric nervous system.
- There are more neurons (nerve cells) in your enteric nervous system than in your brain.
- The intelligent nerve system in your gut is often referred to as your second brain.
Your Digestive System
Your digestive system, also known as the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), has its own intelligent nerve system known as the enteric nervous system that operates independently at times and synergistically with the brain. The enteric nervous system is in constant communication with your brain, and the brain acts on the information shared by your gut. Your brain also totally trusts every piece of information it receives from your gut — and never tries to override it. So, when your gut tells your brain that you need to go to the bathroom or throw up — your brain reacts. Your brain will also react to messages of things like sugar cravings from your enteric nervous system.
As chiropractors, we know that the central nervous system is responsible for coordinating and controlling every system and organ in the body. Subluxations (or misalignments), pinched nerves, and herniated discs in the spine that hinder the communication between your brain and your gut, so we work with our patients to restore that communication to normal.
The overall health of your digestive system is very important. 80% of your immune system functions is in your gut. Since your immune system is responsible for the overall health of your body, it is extremely important to take proper care of your digestive system.
The only way we have been able to survive, as a species, is due to the ability of our digestive system to extract nutrients from the food we eat. Without this ability, we would not survive.
While digestion starts in the mouth where enzymes from our saliva glands start the process of breaking down the food, the absorption of the nutrients and minerals our bodies need takes place in the GI tract. Most proteins are decomposed to single amino acids by digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. When proteins are broken down into amino acids, they are then used as precursors to co-enzymes, cellular repair, hormones, immune response, nucleic acid, and other molecules essential for life.
Balance is a key to a healthy gut or digestive system. The stomach needs acid, but not to much or too little, and the intestines also needs balance with approximately 100 trillion microorganisms living there. There needs to be a balance between good and bad bacteria. A proper balance of bacteria should have 85% good bacteria.
Probiotics and Good Bacteria vs. Bad Bacteria and Pathogens
Probiotics have been making the news a lot lately, and I am sure we have all seen commercials promoting certain types of yogurt as being good for your digestive health — although you really have to watch out for the sugar content in a lot of yogurts. This is all about having a proper balance of friendly (good) bacteria in your gut to help break down food, strengthen your immune system, and provide a line of defense against pathogens and bad bacteria.
We have all heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” and in this case what you eat will greatly affect the balance of good-to-bad bacteria in your gut. Bacteria feeds on what you put in your body. Certain foods will stimulate the growth of bad bacteria in your body and when it does, the good bacteria in your gut will decrease and your body will develop cravings for things like sugar.
Processed foods, grains, sugars (real and artificial), alcohol, and antibiotics act like a fertilizer to the bad bacteria and yeast in your gut and will cause them to multiply rapidly. Chlorine in your water and stress can also contribution to an imbalance in your good vs. bad bacteria. It is estimated that as many as 80 million people, mainly women, are currently suffering from an overgrowth in yeast in their GI tract.
Symptoms of yeast overgrowth include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Food allergies
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Weight gain
- Yeast infections
In addition to these problems, a digestive system that has been out of balance for a long period of time can include:
- Bad breath
- Brain fog
- Candida yeast overrun
- Chronic fatigue
- Crohn’s Disease
- Impaired digestion and absorption
- Lowered immunity
- Obnoxious gas
Antibiotics deserve a special warning. Not only are they being over-prescribed affecting our probiotic population and natural immune system function, but we are also being given antibiotics without our knowledge on a regular basis. Many meat and poultry products contain antibiotics that were added to their food to promote weight gain to fatten up the animals. In 2011, 30 million pounds of antibiotics (80% of all reported antibiotic sales) were fed to animals and poultry. Additionally, antibiotics (and other medicines) have made there way into our water system due to over-medication and improper disposal. These are good reasons to have a good water filtration system and to consider eating organic, grass-fed, free-range meats, and organic pasture-raised poultry.
Eating fermented foods like black garlic, kefir, kimchi, lassi, miso, natto, sauerkraut, tempeh and yogurt will help increase the amount of good bacteria in your digestive system. For many people, a high-quality probiotic supplement will help balance out their digestive system. One of the most highly effective strains of beneficial bacteria is lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1. Most quality probiotic supplements will contain around 10 different active probiotics strains including lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1.
Benefits of Quality Probiotics
- Aid you in digesting food, particularly hard-to-digest foods
- Aid in digesting foods to which some individuals are more sensitive
- Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption
- Help you keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora (bacteria)
- Promote vaginal health in women
- Support and strengthen your immune system
- Weight Loss
How Chiropractic Care Aids Your Digestive System
As I mentioned earlier, your central nervous system coordinates and controls every system and organ in the body. Sympathetic nerves from the thoracic and lumbar regions of your spine help control the speed of digestion, as do sacral parasympathetic nerve fibers. The vagus nerve is the main means of communication from the enteric nervous system of your gut and your brain. The large vagus nerve begins in your medulla oblongata (brain stem) and connects to all of your major digestive organs. Any malfunction of these nerves, such as subluxations, pinched nerves, or a herniated disc, can cause digestive problems. Digestion may be slowed, which causes symptoms such as bloating, constipation, gas, and nausea.
As chiropractors, we can gently correct the underlying source of the problem, and strengthen and stabilize the effected area. This will provide better communication between your gut and your brain, strengthen your immune system, and allow your digestive system to function better, as well as provide relief from digestive problems and pain.
Call 757.467.5258 to arrange an appointment for a consultation with one of our doctors. If any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, better digestion, and a stronger immune system, please recommend this article to them.
- Boost Your Gut Health Naturally with these 4 Tips
- Chiropractic Care's Effect on Your Digestive System
- Your Immune System and Chiropractic Care
- Great Nutrition Maximizes Your Health and Wellness
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
Contact us at 757.467.5258 to set an appointment.