Gut feeling is a term used to describe the sense of unease or apprehension one may feel in response to an unfamiliar situation, often without any logical reason. It’s also known as “gut instinct.” Gut feelings are sometimes considered more reliable than logic or intellect because they are based on non-conscious processing. And although it may seem like gut instincts have no basis in reality, research has shown that many people who report having these feelings are right about their intuitions later on – even though they don’t know why.
This is one reason why people who are good at understanding others are said to have “gut instincts” or “intuition”; they understand the patterns behind what others do and don’t need to rely on pure reasoning. When people are unclear about their gut feelings make decisions – whether it’s choosing between colleges or trying out a meal at a new restaurant – they might be using this kind of intuition unconsciously. A gut instinct can also be triggered by neurotransmitters – chemicals that send messages between neurons in your brain – giving you a physical sensation that something might be wrong.
It’s not just a digestive system, however; it is also regarded as a second brain because of its ability to send signals back to your brain about what you’re feeling in response to certain foods you eat. In fact, there are actually more neurons in the gut than there are in the spinal cord and about 100 million neurons line your GI tract. These cells send information to your brain and body through a complex system of chemical and electrical signals via the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The vagus nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves that come from the brainstem and it plays an important role in transmitting messages between your gut’s lining (epithelium) and your brain. The vagus nerve lets your brain know how well you’re digesting food by communicating with intestinal muscles, which relay feelings of fullness or bloating to the digestive centers of the brain. When things go wrong either at work or at home, you can feel it in your gut – literally.
Let’s Explore ENS!
The actual neurons located in the enteric nervous system (ENS) produce 95% of the serotonin and 50% of the dopamine found in our bodies – neurotransmitters that are associated with mood. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that act like signal relays between nerve cells allowing them to communicate. Your ENS’s neurons also control 90% of your bodily functions (digestion, for example), which means that without these neurons working properly, digestion would be impaired or entirely absent. Serotonin and dopamine are not the only neurotransmitters in your gut. Gastrointestinal (GI) peptides, acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and norepinephrine also play a role in regulating various functions that take place there.
Anxiety can disrupt the chain of events?
There is evidence to suggest that serotonin levels rise when people feel content and relaxed. Research has revealed that anxiety can disrupt this chain of events – including early research done with pregnant women who had high levels of anxiety during their pregnancy. The baby’s risk for developing autism spectrum disorder was nearly tenfold greater if the mother reported having high anxiety throughout her pregnancy compared with mothers who did not report signs of distress or stress while carrying a child. Researchers noted that previous studies have linked adult depression to low serotonin levels.
The gut and our emotions are connected through the vagus nerve, which sends information between the gut and brain … Inflammation of the GI mucosa has been linked to several diseases that are thought to be primarily of nervous system origin including autism, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
Are gut bacteria important for health?
Over 30% of people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) report anxiety or mood disorders as the main factor behind their symptoms. Other conditions associated with IBS include fibromyalgia and Epstein-Barr virus infections.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is another condition that is caused by an increase in bacteria residing within the small intestine. SIBO can be controlled with antibiotics and has been associated with anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), tachycardia (rapid heart rate), fatigue, bloating, nausea, malnutrition, and diarrhea.
Abnormalities in intestinal microbiota composition have also been linked to increased body weight and increased susceptibility to obesity-related inflammation within the adipose tissue. The gut microbiota is closely tied to metabolism because it produces short-chain fatty acids during the process of fermentation that is required for energy by cells located throughout your body – including your brain cells! So, maintaining optimal levels of gut bacteria work together with prebiotics (foods that nourish healthy bacteria) and probiotics (strains of live bacteria) can be very important to support good health.
Let’s wind up now and Yes, your gut is not just a digestive system, but also a second brain. The ENS takes up about 70% of all the neurons in your body and it contains over 500 million neurons that help to control bodily functions such as movement and digestion. In addition to neurotransmitters that send messages from the brain to the ENS and vice versa, there are also other chemicals called peptides being produced by cells located throughout the gut which have been found to regulate a wide variety of processes.