When we find ourselves wondering what might be going on with our digestive system, we naturally think of its component parts: healthy intestinal flora, digestive enzymes and nutrition as well as the possible presence of toxins and pathogens. However, there is one other critical factor which has a lot of influence on its overall function: our nervous system.
The nervous system
Our nervous system has two parts. There is the central nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord, as well as the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerve bundles which connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body. Because it connects all the different parts together, we need to take care that the peripheral system is always in optimum condition.
Peripheral nervous system
The peripheral nervous system, has itself two distinct parts. The parasympathetic part provides peace and relaxation. The sympathetic part provides action. We need both these parts and we need them in perfect balance with each other, just as we want a good balance of rest and action in our lives.
The parasympathetic part of the peripheral nervous system ensures the absorption of nutrients, increased production of digestive juices, faster bowel movement and dilation of blood vessels to the digestive system. These things cost the body a lot of energy and so are best controlled from the resting situation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, provides action and the so-called “fight or flight” response. For example, if we were chased by a lion it would not prioritize digestion, it would be more interested that the muscles worked as well as possible so that we could run away. Therefore, when the sympathetic nervous system in the body has the upper hand, digestion will suffer. The digestive organs then get less stimuli and less blood supply, which can cause all kinds of problems for the intestines.
Neurotransmitters and choline deficiency
Both nervous systems work with substances called neurotransmitters which provide the communication between the nerve cells. One of these, used by both nervous systems, is called acetylcholine. Without this acetylcholine, the functioning of both nervous systems goes wrong. Acetylcholine itself is made from another substance, choline, in which many people have been found to be deficient. Unfortunately, this is a fact not well known to physicians and therapists.
Choline is found in egg yolks, offal and, to a lesser extent, fruits and nuts. Disappointingly, we don’t eat enough eggs because the medical world still believes that they increase cholesterol. Nor is the consumption of offal as popular as it once was.
Balance between the nervous systems is important
Besides causing the nervous systems to go out of balance, a choline deficiency can lead to a number of other conditions, including fatty liver, dementia and fatty veins.
In summary, if the two parts of the nervous system are out of balance, the digestive system will suffer badly. We need to regain this balance by taking the right nutrients. Then you can start cleaning the intestinal system, after which damaged tissue can be rebuilt using the proper supplements.