Stress & The Digestive System

As you can probably imagine...stress is detrimental to our health esp., in the Digestive tract. The impact it has on our stomach can cause more than a mild case of indigestion. This is widely attributed due to the complex connection of the brain to the Digestive system. Our digestive health is highly influenced by our moods. In specific, stress is linked to specific health conditions such as Heartburn and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Sometimes we tend to underestimate how stress can affect our Digestive health. To put this more into perspective, the Stomach has many more nerve endings than the entire Spinal Cord, which has led medical professionals across the world to consider this area of the digestive tract as the "mini brain."

As stated by (Woolston, 2019), "a highway of nerves run directly from the real brain to the digestive system, and messages flow in two directions."  What makes this connection even more mind-boggling is the fact that 95% of the serotonin (hormone that controls mood) our bodies produce, is found in the digestive system...not the brain. There are specific reasons as to why our digestive system is particularly in frequent communcation with the brain. When we are stressed, the human body is uniquely configured to focus on things that keep us alive. Our Digestive system has the tendency to release specific hormones when consistently under stress. It tends to release a constant flow of CRH or corticotropin releasing hormone so that the body tells the adrenal gland to release steroids and you guessed it...adrenaline! This explains the mental exhaustion that proceeds a long-term stressful situation after adrenaline wears off in the human body. In addition, CRH can either suppress or raise appetite. This prove that people have distinct reactions to stress, so there is no way to say for sure how specific situations can alter digestion. So the moral of this blog is the following: pracitce sound lifestyle choices that promote healthy digestion so you can live well.