Imbalances in our expressions of health are caused by patterns of interference that exist in the body. A paradigm shift within the study of human health has found a holistic connection between the strength of our nervous system, our mental health, our immune system, and our microbiome. Your microbiome is the network of microbial organisms that live inside and on your body and is a major facet to this complex interaction. The study of psychoneuroimmunology has linked interference in the nervous system and lifestyle habits to immune system function.
The unconscious part of your nervous system – called your autonomic nervous system – is the part that directs the function of your body without your awareness or decision. Your heart beats, your lungs breathe, you digest and assimilate your food, all without your conscious control. This autonomic nervous system is composed of two main switches – the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic is the fight or flight response, whereas the parasympathetic is the rest and digest mode. Both of these parts are necessary for life, but the parasympathetic is the mode for healing and health.
There is a nerve called the wandering nerve, anatomically known as the vagus nerve. It begins in the brainstem and travels throughout the body. It is considered the major conduit between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and the brain. Consistent chiropractic adjustments have been shown to create balance between these two parts of the autonomic nervous system, allowing the vagus nerve to create health and ease in the body. A properly functioning vagus nerve lays the groundwork for a healthy microbiome, creating a healthy immune system and entire body as a whole.
Now lets learn more about the microbiome. Did you know that you have more bacteria on and within your body than the cells that make up who you are? Did you also know that 85% of your immune system is based on the bacteria found in your gut? Most of these bacteria are friendly and necessary for our healthy function. Another astounding fact: your gut is also considered your second brain! That is right – you have a tremendous amount of neurons in your digestive tract that link directly to your nervous system and brain.
There is a close mutual relationship between gut bacterial imbalance and gut inflammation. Since the gut is the main regulator of our immune system, when the gut is imbalanced and inflamed, the body experiences improper immune system function. Direct assaults to our guts – through a poor diet lacking in vegetables, too much sugar and dairy, too many rounds of antibiotics, and negative emotional experiences – cause disharmony in our second brains. Imbalance in the gut promotes negative information being sent back to the vagus nerve and the whole central nervous system.
Start by caring for your nervous system first, with specific and corrective chiropractic adjustments. Then follow up with the proper diet and emotional balance. It is important to have a clear and highly functioning nervous system, as well as a balanced microbiome to have a healthy immune response. With the nervous system and microbiome in balance, we will create a healthy immune system that keeps us strong and healthy for a lifetime.