With the holidays fast approaching, you may find yourself thinking more about your stomach as you look forward to its upcoming seasonal goodies!
And, you probably aren’t thinking of your digestive system or how your gut health is managed by something called the vagus nerve. But maybe you should?
What’s the vagus nerve and did we spell that right?
Yes, we spelled it right! The vagus (not Vegas) nerve is not well known yet scientists have recently discovered it is critically important for your gut health, brain health, and overall wellness.
Keep reading to learn more about this mysterious connection and for three nutritional tips to keep your gut and vagus nerve happy and healthy this holiday and every day.
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A Happy Gut is a Happy Life
Did you know you have more bacterial cells in your body than human cells? ! It’s true! But before you panic—be aware that not all bacteria is bad bacteria. In fact, you need bacteria for a healthy digestive system!
When referencing the digestive system, it’s important to talk about one of the biggest influences on our digestion quality: gut health.
Gut health refers to the balance and amount of bacteria in your digestive tract. This bacteria has an incredibly important job to do—breaking down and processing all the food we put into our bodies so that our nutrition can be absorbed .
Good gut health plays a role in supporting our health, digestion, and lowering our likelihood of disease. In fact, without a healthy gut microbiome, it would be incredibly difficult to survive! This is because the bacteria in your digestive system protect you from infections and diseases and “talk” to your hormones, brain, and nervous system to keep you in peak health . This includes your gut microbiome communicating with your vagus nerve.
Did you know the vagus nerve is the longest and largest nerve system in your body and runs from your gut to your brain? It’s how your brain and gut communicate with each other. Interestingly, research has shown that 80% of this communication is from the gut to the brain and only 20% is from the brain to the gut. That’s why you want a healthy, happy gut! Because whatever is going on in your gut will be shared with your brain- for better or worse. So if you want to feel happier this holiday, start with making your gut happier. And we have some great tips on how to do this!
Your gut and brain are so delicately intertwined, the best way to support both of their effectiveness is through good nutrition and health habits (like consuming quality algae every day).
Vagus Nerve and the Brain-Stomach Connection
Vagus means “wandering” in Latin, and it’s true, this nerve wanders all over your body! In fact, the vagus nerve is the largest running cranial nerve, connecting from the head to the colon.
It is critical to many bodily functions, including somatic sensations, taste, carrying information to and from the heart and lungs, as well as metabolic actions and the digestive tract. The vagus nerve is responsible for inducing the contractions that move food through your body . It even is studied in connection with your mood and immune system , !
Unfortunately, when damaged, the vagus nerve cannot perform its job in regulating gut health as effectively, or in some cases, can’t perform at all. The vagus nerve can also be damaged by diseases such as diabetes, alcoholism, a tumor, or surgery .
A dysfunctional vagus nerve leads to conditions that negatively affect gut health, like gastroparesis .
Gastroparesis is a digestive issue that causes nausea, indigestion, slowed contractions of the stomach and digestive tract, unpredictable blood sugar changes, dehydration, and a general loss in quality of life . It is just one of the outcomes caused by a damaged vagus nerve but can be avoided by protecting and stimulating the vagus nerve.
Want to know the secret to a healthy vagus nerve and a healthy digestive system? Noted below are three simple nutrition tips you can adopt that easily support your vagus nerve and gut health (all of them include the power of algae!).
How To Support the Vagus Nerve and Gut Health
1. Eat Omega-3s
This fatty acid is crucial for the vagus nerve to be able to support your heart health. It helps the vagus nerve to regulate your heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure .
As we covered in a previous article, ENERGYbits® algae tablets are chock-full of bioavailable omega-3s and 6s, two incredibly vital healthy fats needed to promote vagus nerve function! And in case you have been taking fish oil for your Omega-3, we’d like to point out that fish get their Omega-3 from algae, so skip the middle man and avoid rancid fish oil by getting your Omega-3 from algae too!
2. Get Your Daily Fiber
A lot of our fiber comes from plant-based foods, and it is critical for gut health and the vagus nerve. However, those same plants with fiber also contain a protein that can be detrimental to your gut health- something called lectins. Lectins are a category of proteins found in grains and plants. Plants created lectins over millions of years as a way to protect themselves from land predators.
Lectins are not typically harmful but if you are sensitive to them, they can cause damage to your stomach lining and lead to food getting into your bloodstream, triggering autoimmune issues and producing harmful, toxic side effects for your digestive system . Lectins are found in high quantities in specific foods like spinach, legumes, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers) as well as nuts like almonds. To learn more about this, we suggest reading the book called “The Plant Paradox” by Dr. Steven Gundry.
The good news is that ENERGYbits® algae tablets do NOT contain lectins. This is because algae is not a plant – it is considered a “sea vegetable” that originated billions of years ago in the ocean, so it never had to defend itself on land as plants did. And since our algae is grown organically in triple-filtered spring mountain water, not only do you get all the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals you need for a healthy gut and brain, you get it safely and without any lectins or oxalates. High five for algae!
3. Avoid Sugar
Sugar disrupts neural pathways, making it hard for your brain to communicate via the nervous system with the rest of your body–yep, you guessed it, this includes the vagus function.
Even just reducing and not eliminating sugar completely can make a lasting positive impact. Many vitamin supplements and drinks have unnecessary amounts of sugar and artificial preservatives, along with the nutrients. All that sweetener adds up over time!
ENERGYbits® algae tablets contain NO sugar and are an excellent food-based alternative to supplements which frequently contain sugar or artificial sugar (especially if they are chewable). Our algae tablets are a better, safer, purer source of key nutrients, not just because they have ZERO sugar, but also because they are a raw, unprocessed source of nutrition and protein that is 99% bioavailable. This keeps your digestive system and vagus nerve function strong, happy, and healthy! The trifecta of great health.
Algae is a Gift for the Gut
Researchers are still connecting why physical and mental health are so closely intertwined, and there are numerous studies that confirm how the vagus nerve supports mood, appetite control, organ functions, gut health, and more .
The vagus nerve has such a critical role in supporting our health and brain-stomach connection; it is essential to ensure it has the nutritional support it needs.
Don’t accept less than the best when it comes to your vagus function and digestive health. Give your body the gift of a happy, healthy gut this holiday season with the best superfood available: ENERGYbits® algae tablets!
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Thanks for loving your body to bits!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For more information about our algae or to purchase yours, please visit www.energybits.com