Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Brain in Our Belly

I have always had a deep interest in biology & anatomy. The more I learn about living systems, the more I am utterly amazed.

Recently, I have been particularly curious about our digestive system & the details of its workings on a microscopic level. I have been posting about the connection between the microorganisms in the gut and how they affect us, without us even being aware of its influence. The microbes in our digestive tract can affect our metabolism, food cravings, and even our mood or personality traits.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I saw this informative post about another important aspect of our gut that we don't think a lot about, even though it is our "second brain". I'm referring to the complex array of 500 million nerve cells that line our digestive organs, called the enteric nervous system, or ENS.


This system of nerve cells in our gut are not only responsible for controlling digestion. It is also being found to have complex effects on our overall physical health & mental states.

The ENS is a part of our unimaginably complex feedback loop of physical & chemical stimuli that regulates body function. The chemical processes controlled by these neurons in our gut include the creation of hormones & neurotransmitters.

This is important because the creation of neurochemicals such as serotonin (the "feel good" molecule) & dopamine (the "pleasure & reward" molecule) by these cells could affect our physical sensations & perhaps even our personality or mood.

As we gain more knowledge about the intricately interconnected nature of all these subtle systems in the human body, we will also gain better insight into all aspects of the human being. Disease, mental disorders, physical ailments, and the keys to healthy & happy living will all be understood better.

This will lead to an ever-improving quality of life for people who are willing to take steps to improve their interaction with their own body. This can be done through better diet and healthier lifestyle, as a result of more conscious attention to the workings of our wonderfully complex biological systems.

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