The vagus nerve and your health by Sun Chlorella
Holistic therapists have long been interested in the vagus nerve, also known as the 'wandering nerve' - so named because it "wanders" like a vagabond. It is the longest cranial nerve extending from the brain to the abdomen, connecting with the visceral organs along the way.
The vagus nerve initiates the relaxation response in the body and helps regulate all of our major bodily functions, from our breath to our brain. It responds to inflammation by alerting the brain to release anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters. It is a key player in the gut-brain axis and some studies have shown that increasing vagal tone could be helpful in treating addiction and increasing memory.
This nerve can become underdeveloped/deactivated if the body is in a constant state of fight-or-flight due to stress and anxiety. This leads to shallow and rapid breathing, increased heart rate and impaired digestion. In the long term, these can lead to chronic diseases.
Strengthening the vagus nerve can be done through deep diaphragmatic breathing which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation. Exercise, acupuncture, massage and yoga can also be beneficial in a similar way.
Interestingly, gut microbes talk to your brain along the vagus nerve. They have a crucial role in the state of your mental health and when they are imbalanced, they can contribute to anxiety and depression. On the other side of the coin, a healthy gut microbiome can contribute to mental strength.
Prebiotics such as chlorella which is high in fibre together with probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome. Herbs that support the nervous system and adrenals such as chamomile and Siberian ginseng can also be beneficial.
Spring clean with chlorophyll
Spring is nature's time of cleansing and renewal and in Ayurveda, merging your personal routine with the cycles of nature is a simple tool to increase health and wellbeing.
As animals in nature start to slim down to lose their winter coat in spring, the same effect naturally begins to happen in our own body to decrease the accumulation of toxins and excess weight gained during the winter period.
Eating lighter foods and increasing herbal teas can align the body with this natural cycle. Eating bitter greens such as kale, rocket, spinach, mustard greens, nettle and dandelion leaf can stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and enhance liver function to support detoxification.
Chlorella supports the detoxification pathways and helps to eliminate toxins from the bowel as well as aiding the removal of heavy metal accumulation from pollution. This can be of particular concern when living in cities.
Environmental toxicity has been implicated in numerous diseases from autoimmune disorders to cancer and infertility. Researchers have found that Chlorophylls and their derivatives form molecular complexes with environmental toxins, and inactivated them by preventing their binding to DNA and cellular receptors. Chlorella also supports the liver detoxification pathways and it is thought that chlorophyll inhibits a pathway in the detoxification process (involving Cytochrome P450 enzymes) that is responsible for the activation of some cancer-causing toxins.