Two Brains Are Better Than One
When talking about our human body, “two brains are definitely better than one! Whether you were aware or not, your body actually has two brains: two complex nervous systems. Most of you have heard of your Central Nervous System (CNS) consisting of your brain, brain stem with its extending cord all of which is covered by bone. The CNS accesses the entire body from each spinal cord level through peripheral nerves. The CNS also has a set of ten specialized cranial nerves that extend out from your skull. One of these cranial nerves travels down the front of the spine all the way to the digestive track where it is able to influence volume in the intestines.
The second brain, much less known by the general public, is your Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The Enteric Nervous System is a complex neurological system orchestrating many of the same neurotransmitters and neuropeptides as seen in the Central Nervous System. The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is a complex double mesh system of nerves running esophagus to anus. The double mesh brain of esophagus to anus consists of some five hundred million neurons; the spinal cord about equal in length consists of some one million neurons. There is a surprising sensitivity and complexity of the ENS. While the ENS can function independently from the CNS, your CNS monitors and affects key organs and gland of digestion & elimination to support the effectiveness of processing of what travels along your Enteric Nervous System. Sounds like a good best friend!
By having a closer look into the mysteries of the Enteric Nervous System you will be surprised to find that it amasses and orchestrates some thirty plus neurotransmitters, two-dozen neuropeptides all of which are identical to neuro- messengers and activators in the Central Nervous System. The Enteric Nervous System resides & functions from the guts of every living mammal. Like the Brain and spinal cord of the CNS, the Enteric Nervous System is an endocrine as well as an exocrine system, that is to say it excretes chemicals for local effect and long distance effects in the body. Both Nervous Systems are interlinked, ceaselessly communicating to determine right protocol for you to live. Through right action peace, intellectual sharpness and a healthful life is possible.
There are five aspects included in the Enteric Nervous system, they are: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon) and anus. Collectively these five aspects make up the ENS. The Enteric Nervous System is a two-layered brain woven through your digestive tract. It is in part the interneurons that enable it to efficiently function without the input of the CNS in a worst-case scenario. The complex double mesh system of the ENS runs through the (myenteric plexus) muscle layers and the more superficial (submucosal plexus) along the digestive tract. If for some reason the Vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) coming from the brain to the internal organs of digestion is severed, the ENS continues to function without it. Remember the gut contains five hundred million neurons, four hundred million more neurons than the spinal cord.
Some of the neurotransmitters that are found in the CNS are also found in your ENS.
Up to 90% of the body’s serotonin is concentrated in the gut, regulating both motor and sensory neurons for various effects in efficient digestion. Serotonin promotes smooth muscle functions. In the CNS Serotonin is an excitatory neurotransmitter as well, regulating responses to effect signals across neurons. Theoretically if the brain has a need for more there is a reserve in the digestive system as back up; that is unless of course, you have disrupted or damaged the biodynamic environment of the digestive system through improper diet, stress and chemical assaults.
Most of us get our hackles up when we witness a person being beaten; but do we respond with the same intense concern for insults on our digestive nervous system? Do we rush in and take better action each week to ensure the well being of our brain in our gastrointestinal tract?
About 50% of the body’s dopamine sits in the gastrointestinal tract or ENS. Think of the grace of smooth body motion and powerful movements seen during professional performances such as ballet or acrobatic acts. We expect our legs, feet, arms and hands as well as abdominal and back power to back us up effortlessly and without interruption but what if 50% of dopamine sitting in the enteric nervous system just disappeared? Graceful fluid mobility would drastically be disrupted. How would the brain in the skull receive its emergency back up of dopamine? A chronic disruption of dopamine in the brain leads to Parkinson’s disease. This disease is disturbing in itself; but even more disturbing is the fact that much suffering happened in the individual before the disease state developed. What is going on, that you have ignored day after day your body and your emotional alerts that something is amiss? What can you do this week to improve your “gut” brain integrity and function? In the long run you will end up at a very different destination 5-10 years by making improvements now, than you will if you do nothing different than you’re already practicing.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter involved in the activation of many neurological functions in your digestive tract, brain and throughout your body. During times of stress and trauma the body calls norepinephrine or noradrenaline to be released to effect blood vessels, raise blood pressure and dilate the bronchi in the lungs so the body is ready to receive higher levels of oxygen to physically run or fight. There is some evidence that norepinephrine presence in the stomach increases E. coli in the intestine as well as H pylori bacteria, the bacteria responsible for ulcers.
Cholecystokinin is a hormone released from the small intestine when amino acids and fatty acids are present in chyme (food breaking down). Cholecystokinin influences either relaxant neurotransmitters or contractile neurotransmitters to affect the motility of the chyme in the digestive tract for optimal. This means either to speed the rate of removal if toxins are an issue or to slow it down if the size of the meal is a burden and requires more enzymatic activity. Enzymes are coiled (amino acids) proteins bonded with specific minerals to enable specialized function. Wondering where your muscle size and tone is gone to as you age? Perhaps your meals need a looking over. Too much protein in the diet is as stressing to the body as is too little.
In the CNS cholecystokinin functions as a neurotransmitter involved with anxiety expression and is implicated in several psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, panic disorders and so forth. If there are very large meals coming through the digestive tract, or toxic substances according to the body not your mind, or if there is a presence of bacteria or parasites cholecystokinin usage increases beyond normal states. This can cause diarrhea if the effect is to hurry partially broken down food out. Immediately this causes dehydration and long term this creates malnutrition. Not enough cholecystokinin has the opposite effect; extended time in the bowels leads to putrefaction rather than digestion and assimilation. Food in process of breakdown moving either two rapidly or too slowly is a state of pain in the body. Does it make sense that digestive stress might also effect anxiety and worry in the intellect as these two brains are interconnected? Your nervous systems function as one; we are one, body and mind. Your spirit‘s ability to either transcend or feel consumed by present events is directly effected by the wellness and vitality of your two brain systems.
Substance P is involved with pain sensory concerning touch pain, temperature pain, vasodilation, inflammation, slow pain sensors or chronic pain. Substance P regulates stress and anxiety as well as being responsible for alerting the brain of intensity of heat in spicy foods.
It is a myth that the Central Nervous System functions like a puppet master controlling every thing in your body. It need be recognized that both the Central Nervous System and Enteric Nervous System in their neurological diversity preserve your whole being. The Enteric Nervous System, the double mesh brain in your gut is capable of preserving your life and optimizing entire system functions in some impressive ways. For example, during liver failure ammonia in the liver can quickly reach the brain and cause seizures even death. The human gut contains receptors for benzodiazepine; the gut is able to relieve anxiety and mental panic; stores of benzodiazepine in the gut will travel to the brain and cause the person to stop convulsing and go into a coma. When this is the case, the coma can be reversed in minutes with a benzodiazepine blocker. The purpose of such a coma is to calm and preserve all reserves of neurological functions in the body, reduce the oxygen uptake in the brain and to reduce the rate of chemical reactions. This buys time until a solution can be made. If more was understood about the role of digestion and brain vitality much suffering could be eliminated. Ammonia is a buy-product of meat digestion. Too much meat in the diet creates excess ammonia in the body. Industrial chicken in soaked in an ammonia bath, as are animal remnants that are approved to make up to 15% of ground meat content. Prevention of problems in your being on all levels lives is within your power to choose every day.
Purpose of the digestive tract is to sort through a plethora of content coming through the gastrointestinal tract; to ward off harmful agents, to find and process macronutrients (carbs, fats & proteins) for extraction as useful micronutrients and positive chemical constituents for metabolic optimization. Efficiency of the Enteric Nervous system prepares fuel for the brain, spinal cord, all cells as well as delineating extraction of excessive, unnecessary or harmful components out of the body as soon as possible.
Neurotoxins are chemicals in drinks, chewing gum and food. Once ingested neurotoxins prevent nerves from firing out their messages or functions. Neurotoxins also over excite to death nerves of both the digestive tract brain (ENS) and the Central Nervous System brain (CNS). The mass of damage is directly related to frequency of neurotoxin intake and your antioxidant reserves, especially glutathione. Glutathione is a super-hero antioxidant.
Over-exciting the nerves is the equivalent to being burned alive in an electric chair. Dead nerves cells are not repaired and become dead cellular matter. Dead matter depletes energy, and drains immunity power to clean it up and out; this leaves you more susceptible to premature aging, stress and infection. Unnecessary neurological death of nerves from neurotoxins results in inflammation, energy depletion, loss of neurological efficiency and immune burdening. You as a person will not function at your best possible level. Some of us as children did not know full vitality. This experience may still be possible with proper diet. One might say purposeful ingestion of neurotoxins is an act of violence against the self, as is staying ignorant or neglectful of what is entering your own body regularly.
Neuropeptide Trefoil is found in the mucosal lining of the gut protecting the first and most superficial mesh brain of the digestive tract by repairing damage to the skin cells beneath the protective mucus barrier as well as signaling new cell growth. Trefoil protects the gastrointestinal tract from various toxic substances and medication. Concentrations of Trefoil neuropeptides in the CNS are found in the pituitary gland, amygdala, and hypothalamus as protection agents for mucosal cell integrity and renewal. A low level of Trefoil in the cerebral spinal fluid is considered a precursor to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Protecting and repairing the ENS and the CNS can be gained through small wins every day, week after week. Here are some basic guidelines designed to be helpful for acquiring and sustaining your well-being.
- To support mucosal cell integrity drink fenugreek seeds as a tea, as a supplement or add seeds to main dishes. Marshmallow tea is an option as well; both Fenugreek and Marshmallow leaves are accessible, inexpensive and are all natural agents for helping to reduce inflammation, to soothe the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, and to improve gut stability and function. There are mucosal types of cells throughout your body.
- When looking at neurotransmitters, most bonds are bisulfide based. Eating cruciferous fruits & vegetables rich in sulphur, provide the basic building blocks for neurotransmitter production. Also cruciferous vegetables provide some precursors for antioxidant Glutathione and detoxification processes crucial in the liver.
- Include essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your supplement routine or add to recipes. Use organic cold pressed and pure vegetable oils. If your meals include animal products you can use pure fish sources. EFAs provide the nerves with building blocks for myelinated sheath production and repair; most nerve axons in both the CNS and ENS are wrapped with a fatty white covering to speed transmission. Essential fatty acids are necessary for hormone production as well as cellular wall integrity throughout your body.
- Eat lots of leafy greens every day. There is no need to worry about calories; leafy green vegetables are nutrient dense and great for maintaining a lean and alert body. By consuming more vegetable proteins you will attain all your protein needs. If you’re still not sure try Master Amino Pattern or MAP. The Physician’s Desk Reference for the U.S.A. reveals approximately 30 different clinical applications for ingesting this predigested non-GMO vegan sourced complete protein supplement. MAP can completely replace animal based protein sources. One of the most interesting facts on MAP is the nitrogen waste ratio of MAP to animal flesh which 1:68-84%. Nitrogen is a key factor in cancer tumor growth. If this is not cost effective a company called Purium offers the same MAP product for less
- Drink plenty of water from pure sources. Filter water if necessary. Drink infused water for improved flavor. Before bed add herbs like mint and basil and fruit such as lemons, apple, oranges to a pitcher of water, place in the fridge overnight and start the next day with cold refreshing nutrient flavorful water. Kids or the kids in you can have fun changing it up with pineapple, berries, watermelon and so on.
- Eat more raw fresh organic fruits and vegetables. You can even make no and low fat salad dressings from fruit, vegetables, raw seed/nuts and herbs. Eating more fruits and vegetables provide much needed antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenoids to keep toxins and disease at a distance.
- Breaking away from negative people, habits and running to positive places and successful people in all walks of life is essential. It is the first step to affirming yourself and making sure you feel good, that your day feels worthwhile. Read positive and profound quotes from famous people. Learn facts from fiction by watching free videos from your local library on the human body. They are talking about you, about your loved ones. Get to know you. Demand to exit from ignorance, fear and worry. Trade up for grace, knowledge and move in positively assured direction.
There are many ways to improve wellness of both your Central Nervous System and Enteric Nervous System. Truly no part of your being is neglected, anything positive that you do will enhance all aspects of you. Begin where you are able today. Make a new healthful choice each week. Simplify your lifestyle and in a short time you will see how much room you truly have for vitality and freedom.
May all beings everywhere be at peace and prosper.