Introduction to the vagus nerve
The vagus nerve is always at play in people with fatigue, food sensitivities, anxiety, gut problems, brain fog, and depersonalization. The lower vagal tone means that these people have a lower ability to perform its functions.
The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, and it is not the only one, but it is by far the most important one. This nerve reaches the brain, gut, heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, ureter, spleen, lungs, fertility organs, neck, ears, and tongue.
32 ways to stimulate the vagus nerve
When your body adjusts to cold, your fight-or-flight system declines and your rest-and-digest system increases, mediated by the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve activation will be increased by any kind of acute cold exposure.
2) Singing or chanting;
Singing increases heart rate variability, but all kinds of different singing increase the heart rate variability in different ways, and it initiates the work of a vagal pump, by sending relaxing waves through the choir.
The sympathetic nervous system and vagus nerve are activated by an energetic singing, and it is found that singing increases oxytocin.
The vagus nerve activity is increased by yoga. In a 12-week yoga intervention, there were greater improvements in mood and anxiety.
Two types of meditation can stimulate the vagus nerve, the loving-kindness meditation which increases the vagal tone, and the Om chanting which stimulates the vagus nerve.
5) Positive social relationships;
During one study, participants were asked to sit and think compassionately about others by repeating phrases like “May you feel safe, may you feel happy, may you feel healthy, may you live with ease,” and whenever their minds wandered, they should return to these thoughts. With this, the meditators showed an increase in positive emotions, and these changes were correlated with a greater sense of connectedness to others and an improvement in vagal function. But the meditators who didn’t report feeling any closer to others didn’t show a change in the tone of the vagus nerve.
6) Breathe deeply and slowly;
The vagus nerve is stimulated by the deep and slow breathing. The heart and neck contain neurons that have receptors called baroreceptors which detect your blood pressure and transmit the neuronal signal to your brain, which activates your vagus nerve to connect to your heart to lower blood pressure and heart rate.
These baroreceptors can be more or less sensitive, and the more sensitive they are, they are going to fire and tell your brain that the blood pressure is too high and it is time to activate the vagus nerve to lower it. The slow breathing increases the sensitivity of baroreceptors and vagal activation and this lowers the blood pressure and reduces anxiety.
There are many health benefits of laughing because laughter stimulates the vagus nerve. There are various reports of people fainting from laughter, and this is a result of the vagus nerve being stimulated too much. When the vagus stimulation is increased, that is associated with a rare syndrome named Angelman’s, and it occurs to people who pass out from laughter. The laughter is good for the cognitive function and protects against heart disease, and it also increases beta-endorphins and nitric oxide.
Vagus activation increases when people recite the rosary prayer. That enhances cardiovascular rhythms such as diabolic blood pressure and heart rate variability.
Even magnetic fields can stimulate the vagus nerve. PEMF can increase heart rate variability and vagus stimulation.
10) Breathing exercises;
Your vagus nerve will be better stimulated by breathing in and out with resistance.
The gut nervous system is connected to the brain through the vagus nerve. Animals that are supplemented with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus experienced various positive changes in GABA receptors mediated by the vagus nerve.
Mild exercise stimulates gut flow, mediated by the vagus nerve, which means that exercise also stimulates it.
The vagus nerve can be stimulated in many different ways, but one of the simplest ones might be by massaging certain areas, like your carotid sinus, for example, which is located on your neck and helps reduce seizures. The vagus nerve can be activated by the pressure of the massage and they help infants gain weight by stimulating gut function. Vagal activity and heart rate variability can be increased by foot massages. The heart disease risk is decreased by all of these massages.
The high-frequency heart rate variability in animals is increased by intermittent fasting or reducing calories. When fasting, part of the decrease in metabolism is mediated by the vagus nerve.
The vagus specifically detects a decline in blood glucose and a decrease of mechanical and chemical stimuli from the gut which increases the vagus impulses from the liver to the brain, which slows the metabolic rate.
15) Sleep or lay on your right side;
Laying on your right side increases heart rate variability and vagal activation and laying on your back leads to the lowest vagus activation.
16) Tai Chi
Tai chi increases heart rate variability and vagus activation.
The muscles in the back of the throat are activated by the vagus nerve and this allows you to gargle. These muscles are contracted by the gargling, which activates the vagus nerve and stimulates the gastrointestinal tract.
18) Seafood (EPA and DHA);
EPA and DHA increase heart rate variability and lower heart rate which indicates that they stimulate the vagus nerve. Fish oil does lower the heart rate, and that is mediated by the vagus nerve.
The vagal nerve activity from the brain to the gut is increased by the oxytocin, which induces relaxation and decreases appetite.
The zinc is a common mineral that increases vagus stimulation in rats that are fed a zinc-deficient diet for 3 days.
21) Tongue depressors;
The gag reflex is stimulated by the tongue depressors.
The vagus nerve is stimulated by the traditional acupuncture points, and in particular, the vagus nerve is stimulated by the acupuncture to the ear.
23) 5-HTP (Serotonin);
The vagus nerve is activated through various receptors by the serotonin. Serotonin has some mixed effects, but the vagus nerve should be stimulated by it. And if you want to increase serotonin, you can take 5-htp.
24) Chew Gum (CCK);
The vagal impulses are directly activated to the brain by the chewing gum. The ability of chew gum to reduce food intake and appetite is dependent on the vagus nerve impulse to and from the brain.
25) Eat Fiber (GLP-1);
GLP-1 is a satiating hormone and it stimulates vagus impulses to the brain. They slow the emptying of your stomach and make you feel fuller. And the best way to increase GLP-1 is the fiber.
26) Coffee enemas;
For the vagus nerve enemas are like sprints and expanding the bowel increases the vagus nerve activation.
27) Coughing or tensing the stomach muscles;
If you feel relaxed after a bowel movement that is because when you bear down as if to make the movement, you stimulate your vagus nerve.
28) Thyroid Hormones/T3 Are Normal;
The thyroid hormones in rats increase the appetite through activating the vagus nerve, which increases ghrelin.
29) Sun (MSH);
The vagus nerve is activated by the Alpha-MSH and it is capable of preventing damage from a stroke via activating the vagus nerve, which suppresses inflammation.
30) Carbohydrates (insulin);
The vagus nerve is activated by insulin through intermediaries.
There are orexin neurons found in centers which control vagus nerve activation from the brain. The vagus nerve from the brain is stimulated by the orexin, and it promotes gut flow. The pancreas from the brain is stimulated by the orexin A. Orexin can increase the glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity via the liver vagus nerve.
The growth of hormone and hunger is increased by the ghrelin by stimulating the vagus nerve signal from the brain to the gut, abolished by capsaicin. The pancreas from the brain via the vagus is stimulated by the ghrelin.
Leptin activates the vagal impulses to the brain. The CCK-induced activation of the vagus nerve is potentiated by the leptin. Animals that were bred to be leptin resistant were hungrier because the vagus nerve became less sensitive to CCK.
The vagus nerve decreases its activity from the brain to the heart and the activation of the vagus nerve will slow the heart rate, but CRH inhibits this and increases the heart rate.
The gut flow in dogs is increased by Monosodium Glutamate, mediated by the vagus nerve.
There are three ways that can mess up the vagus nerve system and those are: Communication from an organ to the brain, communication within the brain, or communication from the brain to other areas of the body.
The circadian control center has signals that are transmitted by the vagus nerve. If you have a broken circadian rhythm, then your vagus nerve will be also broken to some degree.
The way to inhibit the vagus nerve is the capsaicin. Nausea and vomiting can be prevented by ginger by inhibiting the vagus nerve serotonin function in the digestive tract.
The vagus nerve can be stimulated or inhibited in two ways: the first way is that the vagus nerve impulse can flow from the brain to the rest of the body and the second way is from the body to the brain. If it flows from the brain it’s called a vagal efferent, and if it is from other parts of the body to the brain it is called a vagal afferent.
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