How do your emotions impact your digestive health?

Attention all IBS sufferers- this post is for you

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “gut health” floating around quite a bit over the past couple of years. Whether you keep up to date with health and wellness news or you’re simply at the beginning of your own health journey, it’s constantly being talked about. 

But what exactly does this mean, and why is it so important to our physical and mental health? 

The enteric nervous system lays within the gastrointestinal lining and connects your gut with your brain. In fact the digestive tract contains the largest amount of neural connections to the brain than any other organ in the body.

But if they are separate how can they possibly communicate with one another? This is all done via the Vagus nerve. Think of it as your body’s major highway from the brain all the way down to the gut. 

Research of the enteric nervous system (ENS) is now more studied than ever before, with researchers referring to it as the body’s “second brain”. 

This is because if our digestive system is not working as it should, it can have serious adverse effects on all other organ systems and especially our mental health. If there is inflammation in the digestive tract, there will surely be inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the brain

It’s important to understand how the ENS works so that we can think about the role it plays in disease, including depression and anxiety. The upside is that with this knowledge we can begin to reverse course and live life with better health.

Things to know about the enteric nervous system: 

  1. The enteric nervous system and the brain are in constant communication with one another working back and forth. 
  2. The microbiota (bacteria) found in your gut moves freely throughout this system and can act as a mail carrier to the brain. This is why we don’t want to have an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. 
  3. The enteric nervous system can also interact with other cells including immune cells playing a large role in their structure and functionality. 
  4. The ENS secretes serotonin and dopamine which will then travel to the brain! This is a huge deal when it comes to mental health because serotonin and dopamine increase our mood

Nourishing the body with nutrient dense foods is only one factor that contributes to the integrity of your gut microbiome and the enteric nervous system. 

Factors such as stress, physical and mental trauma, along with lack of movement are also very important to consider when addressing digestive health. However, being conscious of what we put in our body is a very effective starting point. 

When looking at digestive health issues you are going to get the greatest results when looking at it from a food perspective as well as a mental/ stress perspective.

Do you have a morning ritual? Start your day with intention and transform your life. Find out more about our morning study program here.

Are you looking to transform your health by changing what you eat- join our 10 day Rituwell reset here.

Written by Amanda Rader 

Share This



This Post Has One Comment

  1. Brenna Keogh

    Wow! Such a good read. I’m definitely considering joining the 10 day ritual reset.

Leave a Reply




Your understanding and co-operation is requested, by reading and signing the following Informed Consent and Waiver form. I!

I understand and acknowledge that Dr. Jodi Larry, N.D. is a registered naturopathic doctor and the Cleanse for Life program (the “CFL Program”) is a group supported cleanse intended for general well-being, to enhance my knowledge of health and wellness as it relates to foods, dietary supplements and lifestyle behaviors. I represent and warrant that I am healthy and do not have a medical condition that would prevent my participation in the CFL Program. In addition, I understand and acknowledge that Dr. Larry is not a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapist. Dr. Larry is no way responsible for any personal issues or anxieties that may be triggered because of my participation in the CFL Program. I understand that it can be a detriment to my health and safety to participate in the CFL Program if I am going through any of the following: · Acute trauma · Severe mental health condition that is not currently stable · Active addiction to drugs or alcohol · Eating disorder (unless stable and I have provided a letter from my treating therapist approving participation it the CFL Program). I acknowledge that if I am under the care of a health professional or currently use prescription medications, I will discuss any dietary changes or the potential use of any dietary supplements with my doctor and will not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting my medical doctor. In consideration of being permitted to participate in the CFL Program, I agree to assume full responsibility for any risks, injuries, or damages known or unknown which might incur as a result of my participation. Understanding the CFL Program – A Safe Environment and Confidentiality The CFL Program can be a powerful and valuable venue for healing and growth. It is a process of understanding more about yourself and others in a safe environment. You are welcome to share as much or as little about yourself while in the group, however, the more open you are the better experience you will have. Due to the nature of the CFL Program privacy and confidentiality are of the utmost concern. A safe environment is fostered and maintained by both Dr. Larry and the group members. Primary ingredients are mutual respect and a chance to create trust. Another primary ingredient for a safe environment has to do with confidentiality. Dr. Larry is bound by law to maintain confidentiality, as group members are bound by honor to keep what is said in the group in the group. Therefore, it is essential that any and all information presented and shared within the group, whether by Dr. Larry or another group member, is not to be discussed outside of the group setting with anyone for any reason. For clarity, you are permitted to share what you are learning about yourself in the CFL Program with a significant other, however you may not talk about how events unfold in group or in any other way compromise the confidentiality of other group members. I understand and acknowledge that confidentiality may be breached by Dr. Larry if a CFL Program participants discusses any of the following: (a) suicidal ideations or thoughts and Dr. Larry feels the person is at risk; (b) intent to harm him/herself or someone else; or (c) physical abuse. Dr. Larry is mandated by her board to give this information to appropriate persons in order to obtain the best care for you and those you may harm. In further consideration of being permitted to participate in the CFL Program, I knowingly, voluntarily, and expressly release Dr. Larry from any and all liabilities and waive any claim I may have against Dr. Jodi Larry for injury or damages that I sustain as a result of such participation. I and my heirs or legal representatives forever release, waive, discharge, and covenant not to sue Dr. Jodi Larry, for any injury or death caused by negligence or other acts. I have read the above informed consent and waiver and fully understand its contents. I voluntarily agree to the terms and conditions stated above.