Is your fight or flight mechanism working correctly? It’s controlled by the largest nerve in your body, the vagus nerve, which serves as a switch for the nervous system.
Vagus is a Latin word meaning “to wander,” and this is true of the vagus nerve in that it has deep roots that impact multiple bodily systems from the brain throughout the body, influencing every chakra and organ in its path. This includes the brain, throat, heart, stomach and digestive tract.
The vagus nerve is entrenched in our intuition. It is part of our “check warning light” system that alerts us if something isn’t quite right. Issues with the vagus nerve may include the switch not turning on or it may be quite the opposite--where the switch can’t turn off, resulting in a chronic panic mode that doesn’t allow the body to restore and relax, therefore blocking its ability to rejuvenate and heal itself. This constant state of alert may result in illness, such as systemic inflammation, gut issues, autoimmune disease, cancer and more.
Serving as a highway between our brain and major organs (heart, lungs and gut), the vagus nerve is the longest nerve from the brain and considered the most important. It is the root of the gut-brain axis. It is the root of our health!
Aside from chronic diseases, a malfunctioning vagus nerve can also contribute to mental health issues, such as PTSD, depression and anxiety. Creating a low vibrational state in the body, a “low toned” vagus nerve may welcome some unwanted guests, attracting parasites and pathogenic bacteria, mold and fungal overgrowth.
Vagal tone index is associated with one’s immune function. Research indicates that the vagus nerve is influenced by cytokines released via the immune system. Low vagal tone may be an open door to disease. Which comes first isn’t clear, but it’s a vicious cycle in that toxic overload, mold exposure, heavy metal toxicity may result in vagus nerve dysfunction. It is all linked.
Hormones are also influenced by the vagus nerve, affecting insulin levels, thyroid hormone, even the conversion of vitamin D to its active form.
A low vagal tone means your vagus nerve needs some work. If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, overthinking, insomnia, mood swings, chronic inflammation and nothing seems to be working to alleviate these symptoms, your vagus nerve just might be the missing piece.
The body strives to achieve homeostasis, and the vagus nerve is instrumental in creating it. A high vagal tone index creates a healthy environment from head to toe, allowing the body to do the work of healing itself. In other words, your vagus nerve helps you get out of your own way in order to heal. It creates a feedback loop high in vibrational energy and positively that dissipates bad energy. As energetic beings, it is not surprising that negative trapped energy in the body can cause dysfunction, resulting in illness, depression, loneliness, better social connections and a reduction in serious diseases.
Deep breathing and meditation are one modality to increase vagal tone. Deep inhalation stretches lung fibers, which stimulates the vagus nerve and nervous system, resulting in a calming, relaxing effect. A 2017 study found that diaphragmatic breathing also called “belly breathing” or referred to as “breathing from your abdomen” also reduces cortisol levels and helps the body to relax, lowering blood pressure and heart rate and helping to reduce anxiety, depression and even mental clarity. Diaphragmatic breathing helps support optimal immune function since stress overworks the immune system, which may make you more prone to illness.
A recent review of 3 clinical trials of over 1000 participants examined the physiological and psychological impact of diaphragmatic breathing on chronic stress. Being that 350 million people worldwide are affected by chronic stress, the researchers wish to shed more light on its contribution to other health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease.
Our Just Relax can also help calm the parasympathetic nervous system. Just Relax contains a blend of ingredients that support the body’s natural synthesis of catecholamines. Catecholamines are hormones made by your adrenal glands, which are located on top of your kidneys, and are mediated by the vagus nerve. Our formulation also supports the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, hormonal balance, and healthy glucose metabolism. As a convenient drink mix, Just Relax helps provide a peaceful, calm and relaxed state of body and mind.
Do you want to learn about more natural ways to increase your vagal tone? Keep reading here.
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