ScienceHealth & Wellness

Why The Vagus Nerve Is So Important For Weight Loss – 3 Easy Ways to Start


Recent breakthrough studies have discovered that the Vagus nerve plays an important role in body weight management and various disorders ranging from inflammation in the bowel to depression.

In 2010 a startling scientific revelation was made by Diego Bohorque of Duke University in North Carolina.

enteroendocrine cells | Why The Vagus Nerve Is So Important For Weight Loss - 3 Easy Ways to Start

What he found was that the enteroendocrine cells (cells which line the gut and is responsbile for producing digestion and hunger hormones) had synapses neurons that could communicate directly to the brain via the vagal nerve pathway[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32101483/.

They have also shown that proper stimulation of the Vagus nerve results in cessation of excess hunger cravings and significant weight loss in the treatment of obesity[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5063945/.

The vagus nerve has also shown to have extensive effects on both our physical and mental health. Not only does it aid in fat loss, it also forces the body away from undue stress and allows it to relax much faster than before resulting in an overall improvement of mood.

What’s The Vagus Nerve and How Does it Help With Weight Loss?

The Vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body and it connects the brain directly to the gastrointestinal tract. It is directly responsible for the gut-brain connection allowing the gut to directly communicate signals to the brain in mere seconds.

vagus nerve | Why The Vagus Nerve Is So Important For Weight Loss - 3 Easy Ways to Start

Vagus afferent neurons epress two different neuorchemical signals that inhibit or stimulate food intake[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5063945/.

Guillaume de Lartigue, Yale University School of Medicine

Any disruptions in the vagus nerve pathways has been shown to have significant impact in driving extreme hunger and obesity. That’s why it has also been coined as the “hunger nerve”.

Because of its importance in the gut-brain connection, proper stimulation of the vagus parasympathetic system will also activate the body’s “Rest & Digest” cycle which is crucial not only for effective weight loss, but also other body functions.

The regulation of Leptin & Ghrelin (“satiety” and “hunger” hormones) have also been attributed to vagus activation[4]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17355316/ to regulate food intake.

How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve to Crush Food Cravings

Here are some simple things you can do to naturally stimulate the Vagus nerve to block excessive “hunger signals”.

1. Take a Cold Shower Every Morning

The Vagus nerve responds very positively to cold stimulation which activates neurons throughout the vagus pathway and increases parasympathetic activity.

In fact, Emory interventional radiologist David Prologo even developed a procedure for freezing a part of the vagus nerve using CT scanner guidance which influences the appetite[5]https://news.emory.edu/features/2019/02/fantastic-mind-hunger-nerve/index.html.

It’s a great habit to take a cold shower every morning which will provide the cold exposure needed for effective vagus stimulation.

2. Deep Breathing Exercises

Another easy to practice technique that has been shown to have profound impact on the vagus network is by slowing down your breathing or meditating. There are nerves in the throat muscles that form part of the vagus parasympathetic network which can be activated by slow humming or singing with a steady tempo.

Doing a combination of box-breathing techniques, meditation, or humming low tones will help tremendously. Our Metabolic Breathwork program works great for proper vagus stimulation!

3. Eat Foods Rich In Tryptophan

Tryptophan that is consumed through your diet is metabolized in the gut and helps the astrocytes (cells that live in the brain and spinal cord).

It helps to improve the communication from the gut to the brain via the Vagus messenger pathway & controls inflammation.

Some great food sources are Glucomannan (Elephant Foot Yam), spinach, seeds, nuts, bananas.

References

References
1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32101483/
2, 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5063945/
4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17355316/
5 https://news.emory.edu/features/2019/02/fantastic-mind-hunger-nerve/index.html

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