Eat This: The Vagus Nerve

Despite my willingness to always be learning something new, there are times when I need to hear something, or be hit over the head with it a few times before I get into it. Well that has happened over the past few months. In speaking with someone about the mental health challenges that one of my daughters has been having over the past year, the term Polyvagal Theory came up. It was suggested to look into it, so I did my usual, Google searched it, left three tabs open on my Chrome window for at least two months and then they were closed when my browser crashed. Didn’t open those pages again, so it didn’t keep popping up, but I’d notice if I saw the term while reading or researching something.

Recently a colleague shared a video that he watched to help his anxiety and it not only eased that for him, but that helped relieve his back pain. And after seeing a chiropractor for a few months about it – and guess what it was about … the Vagus nerve, which is at the core of the Polyvagal Theory. Then I started digging … the correlation with digestion and gut health, including, heartburn, reflux, GERD, SIBO, and IBS, overall healing, mental health, sleep issues including insomnia, dizziness, vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic inflammation, and weight loss issues. Pretty much everyone who comes to me for a consultation falls into that category, so there’s more to learn here for sure. This incredible nerve sure accounts for a lot, so what do you need to know about it and of course what you can do to help yourself.

So today on EAT THIS with Lianne, an introduction to the vagus nerve, with a favourite expert, Dr Davis Brockenshire back on to help us learn more. 

You gotta know that there are nerves all over our body, but what you might need to hear again after your high school biology class, is that we have a sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic system. This is the system that supports us in chilling out. Centering. Calming ourselves. As well as digesting our food, having a healthy reproductive system, and healing. So yes, it’s a very important aspect of what keeps you in balance between stress and calm. But what happens when there’s too much stress? We’ve talked about that a lot on this podcast – in burn out in episode 72 and all the stress that life throws at you, and especially of late with a global pandemic and the rise in mental health issues. It’s not easy and my hope with digging into this topic, is that we have another angle at which to deepen our understanding of how we tick, how our body works and where the root cause of the symptoms that you experience every day, might come from. 

This might seem like a very specific topic to dig into, but stay with me and of course an expert that you’re likely familiar with – Dr Davis Brockenshire. You know that when we need a deep dive, he’s my go-to and this topic is no different. Dr B as he’s fondly known to his thousands of patients in Plymouth, Michigan and those who hear him speak all over the world – Dr B is a functional medicine expert from Innovations Health and he will likely blow our minds once again, but in starting to talk about the Vagus nerve, know that there will be a part 2 to this topic. Or more, who knows. You can let me know if it resonates for you and we can do more. Welcome Dr B. 

Mind blown? I always learn about 10 new things from our interviews with Dr B and I’m going to say that I didn’t realize that this 10th cranial nerve was that it operates on theta waves – and interestingly enough, I worked with a therapist for a couple of years who focused on theta waves. It was an interesting type of therapy and while it didn’t save my marriage, which was why I was speaking with her at the time, to try and figure myself out, it sure helped me on so many levels. But not feeling rested, I get, and he mentioned that to do with the theta waves. 

This is worthy of a listen a bunch of times – I’ll be interested to know what really stood out for you. Next up in part 2 are going to be ways to nourish this very important nerve – food and otherwise. Like I said, I know someone who is doing her PhD, so maybe we will have a chat with her too. 

Like this and other episodes? Please share, rate and let us KNOW. Your feedback is so helpful and helps drive the direction of the topics that we talk about. 

For more on the magnesium that Dr B said was so important – go to sproutright.com. We will see you again next week. Thank you to Dr B and of course my very talented producer, Chris. Couldn’t do this without you. So as always – please remember to eat this one mouthful at a time. 

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