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Cracking Stress: How the Vagus Nerve Joins the Fight-or-Flight Party

Written By  Go Vita
Menopause tips Go Vita

Let's delve into the HPA axis, also known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which acts as the command centre for managing stress in your body.

The HPA axis

Whether you're facing a daunting exam or dealing with a demanding work deadline, this system kicks into gear. It all begins when your brain's hypothalamus detects stress and releases a hormone called CRH. This sets off a chain reaction, signalling the pituitary gland to release ACTH.

 

In response, your adrenal glands start pumping out cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. This entire process primes you to confront challenges head-on, whether it's confronting a grumpy bear in the wild or delivering a stellar presentation at work. And that's why we call it the "fight-or-flight response."

 

The Vagus Nerve

Ever come across the vagus nerve? Picture it as a bustling highway connecting our brain and gut. This nerve engages in a lively exchange between our noggin and tummy. When stress hits, our vagal tone may take a dip. Low vagal tone is associated with a range of not-so-fun experiences like stress, anxiety, and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

But don't worry! We can amp up our vagal tone using simple techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and a good laugh. Boosting vagal tone activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing our body to relax more swiftly after stress.

 

The Brain-Gut Connection

So, what's the big deal with the brain-gut connection? Well, it turns out that our gut and brain are in cahoots more than we realize. When our gut is upset, it can send signals to our brain, making us feel all sorts of funky emotions like anxiety or stress.

And vice versa! When we're stressed out, our brain can send signals to our gut, leading to tummy troubles. It's a real "chicken or the egg" situation.

Alongside lifestyle adjustments like relaxation techniques and consistent exercise, some supplements can aid in managing stress levels. It's crucial to chat with your healthcare provider before diving into any new supplement routine. This ensures they're both safe and a good fit for you.

 

Withania Somnifera

Withania, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is commonly referred to as Indian Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng. Its Ayurvedic name, Ashwagandha, translates to "the smell of the horse," reflecting its strong and distinctive aroma.

 

Withania is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to help the body adapt to stress, support healthy stress response in the body support memory.

 

B Vitamins

B vitamins can also support a healthy stress response in the body and assist synthesis of neurotransmitters, Therefore, it's recommended to take a balanced B group vitamin supplement with food to ensure optimal utilization and avoid potential nausea when taken on an empty stomach.

 

Helpful Tip

Remember to take your B vitamins with food to avoid feeling nauseous on an empty stomach. These vitamins are excellent for boosting energy levels, so it's best to take them with breakfast to maximize their benefits and kickstart your day with a burst of energy.

 

Remember to take your B vitamins with food to avoid feeling nauseous on an empty stomach. These vitamins are excellent for boosting energy levels, so it's best to take them with breakfast to maximize their benefits and kickstart your day with a burst of energy.

 

Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, or are taking prescription medications, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.

 

About Margaret Leedham

Margaret Leedham brings a wealth of experience as a naturopath, educator, product developer

and writer to her role as the Brand Manager for NutriVital.

 
With over 24 years of experience, Margaret has also helped thousands of clients reach their health

and wellness goals through an evidence-based approach.

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NutriVital Ashwagandha One-A-Day Capsules

NutriVital Mega B High Potency Tablets

NutriVital Activated B Complex Tablets

Always read the label. Follow directions for use. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.