The vagus nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves. It is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen by way of multiple organs including the heart, esophagus, and lungs. Also known as cranial nerve X, the vagus forms part of the involuntary nervous system and commands unconscious body procedures, such as keeping the heart rate constant and controlling food digestion.
Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), is sometimes used to treat people with epilepsy or depression.
The vagus nerve is involved in one of the most common causes of fainting, called vasovagal syncope. This is an overreaction of the body to certain stimuli, like the sight of blood, which involves the stimulation of the vagus nerve. This stimulation causes a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. Less blood flows to brain, resulting in loss of consciousness. In most cases, vasovagal syncope does not require treatment.
It is the tenth cranial nerve, often called the “nerve of compassion” because when active, helps to create the “hot wave” we feel in our chest when we get a hug or something moves us …
The vagus nerve is a nerve bundle originating from the top of the spinal cord. This activates different organs throughout the body (such as the heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs). When activated, it can produce that feeling of warm chest expansion, for example, when we are moved by the kindness of someone or when we appreciate a beautiful piece of music.
The neurologist Stephen W. Porges of the University of Illinois at Chicago, said, long ago, the vagus nerve is [the nerve of compassion] (of course, used for many other functions as well). There are several reasons for this assertion. It is believed that the vagus nerve stimulates certain muscles in the vocal cavity, allowing communication. It reduces heart rate. Very new science suggests that it may be closely related to the networks of receptors for oxytocin, a neurotransmitter involved in the trust and the maternal bond.
Our research and that of other scientists suggest that activation of the vagus nerve is associated with feelings of care and ethical intuition that human beings of different (even contradictory) social groups share a common humanity. We have found that people with high activation of the vagus nerve in a resting state are likely to feel emotions that promote altruism, compassion, gratitude, love and happiness.
Psychologist Nancy Eisenberg of Arizona State University found that children with a baseline of high activity in the vagus nerve are more cooperative and inclined to give. This area of study is the beginning of a new and exciting story about altruism: a branch of our nervous system has evolved to support such behavior.
The tone of the vagus nerve is key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Vagal tone is measured by tracking your heart-rate alongside your breathing rate. Your heart-rate speeds up a little when your breathe in, and slows down a little when you breathe out. The bigger the difference between your inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart-rate, the higher your vagal tone. Higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.
What is high vagal tone associated with?
High vagal tone improves the function of many body systems, causing better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, improved digestion via better production of stomach basic and digestive enzymes, and reduced migraines. Higher vagal tone is also associated with better mood, less anxiety and more stress resilience. One of the most interesting roles of the vagus nerve is that it essentially reads the gut microbiome and initiates a response to modulate inflammation based on whether or not it detects pathogenic versus non-pathogenic organisms. In this way, the gut microbiome can have an affect on your mood, stress levels and overall inflammation
Stress and vagus nerve
The levels of stress hormones in your body are regulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) . The SNA has two components balance each other, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (SPS).
The SNS increases the activity of the nervous system. It helps us to handle what we perceive as emergencies and is in charge of the fight-flight response.
The SPS decreases the activity of the nervous system and helps us stay calm. Promotes relaxation, rest, sleep and drowsiness by slowing your heart rate, which slows our breathing, constricts the pupils of the eyes, increased production of saliva in the mouth, and so on.
The vagus nerve is the nerve that comes from the brain and controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response. And the nervous system uses the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. If your brain can not communicate with the diaphragm through the release of acetylcholine from the vagus nerve (eg affected by botulinum toxin), then you will stop breathing and die.
Acetylcholine is responsible for learning and memory. It is also soothing and relaxing, is used by the vagus nerve to send messages of peace and relaxation throughout the body. New research has found that acetylcholine acts as an important check for inflammation in the body . In other words, stimulating the vagus nerve send acetylcholine throughout the body, not just relaxing, but also putting out the fire of inflammation which is associated with the negative effects of stress.
An exciting new research has also linked the vagus nerve to improving neurogenesis, increased production of BDNF (the brain-derived neurotrophic factor is as a great fertilizer for your brain cells), brain tissue repair and a true regeneration throughout the body.
Health, longevity and aging
As you age, your immune system produces more inflammatory molecules, and your nervous system activates the stress response, thus promoting a collapse of the system and aging.
This is not idle talk, is backed by scientific studies.
For example, Kevin Tracey, director of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, discovered how the brain controls the immune system via a direct connection based on the nerves.
He describes this as the inflammatory reflex . In short, it is the way the immune system responds to mind.
Your immune system is controlled by a vagus nerve called.
But this is not any nerve.
It is the most important nerve that comes from the brain and travels to all major organs.
And you can activate this nerve – through relaxation, meditation and other ancient, such as the system of the language of Maya Luz, combined with “technical activation of the vagus nerve” given by Steve Rother Group and practices, vagus nerve can be activated and working energetically through geometry, frequency, color and light.
What is the benefit of this?
Well, by activating the vagus nerve, you can control your immune cells, reduce inflammation and even prevent disease and aging!
It is true. By creating positive brain states – such as meditation teachers have done for centuries – you can activate the vagus nerve and control inflammation.
Actually you can control the function of genes by this method. Activates the vagus nerve, and you can turn on genes that help control inflammation. Inflammation is one of the key factors of disease and aging.
Even more intriguing was the discovery that our body can be regenerated at any age.
Diane Krause, MD, PhD, of Yale University discovered that our own innate adult stem cells (cells in our bone marrow that can develop into any cell in the body) can become liver cells, intestine, lungs, and the skin.
This is a phenomenal breakthrough.
This means we have the power to create new cells and renew our organs and tissues to all age.
And how these stem cells are controlled?
You guessed it: the vagus nerve.
For example, Theise et al. found that stem cells are directly connected to the vagus nerve. Activation of the vagus nerve can stimulate stem cells to produce new cells and repair and rebuild your own organs.
So relaxation – a state of calm, peace and tranquility – can activate the vagus nerve.
And the active vagus nerve, in turn, stem cells to regenerate and renew your tissues and organs.
Relaxation and meditation
Scientists have even shown that meditation gets bigger and better brain.
They traced the brain function of “professional meditators” bringing the lab to Lamas trained in concentration and mind control Tibetans.
The result? They found higher levels of thicker gamma brain waves and cerebral cortices (areas associated with higher brain functions) in meditators. (Iii)
Relaxation can have other powerful effects on our biology.
In biology, being a complex system that can adapt to their environment and that is durable and flexible it is essential to health.
The same is true for us.
The more complex and flexible we are, the healthier we are.
Take, for example, the heartbeat.
Its complexity is called heart rate variability (HRV) or beat to beat variability. The more complex the HRV, the healthier it is. The less complex heart rate is the worst – a flat line.
So what has this to do with relaxation?
HRV is also controlled by the vagus nerve.
As you can see, turn on the relaxation response and activation of the vagus nerve is essential for health.
Vagus Nerve activation:
It will reduce inflammation
It will help to regenerate your organs and cells by activating stem cells
It will increase your heart rate variability
It will increase the thickness of your brain (which usually shrinks with age).
It will increase the immune function
It modulates your nervous system
It will reduce depression and stress
It will improve your quality of life
Not bad for simply learning to relax!
Compassion and DNA
Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, who discovered telomeres, explained that, ultimately, they become so short that, in the end, our DNA is unraveled and no longer can replicate our cells, so they die.
Surprisingly, mental stress produces a more rapid shortening of telomeres – and leads to a faster aging.
What is even more remarkable?
In a study of caregivers of sick patients, health caregivers telomere was determined by your attitude!
It seems impossible, but it’s true.
Caregivers who felt that care was a burden had shorter telomeres, while those who saw their work as an opportunity to be compassionate showed no shortening. (Iv)
The Dalai Lama said that the seat of compassion is a biological reality – and necessary for survival.
Perhaps the development of compassion and wisdom to cope with unfavorable living conditions is the real key to longevity.
It just might work to understand our true nature through cultivating our minds and hearts with good practices such as meditation techniques or the like, it is essential for health and longevity.
The ways in which we can change our bodies by changing our minds are no longer simply theories.
There is a new scientific language to understand how the qualities of mind control the body through the effect on the vagus nerve, immune cells, stem cells, telomeres, DNA, and more.
Remember that your body has all the resources and infinitely adaptable systems to self-regulate, repair, regenerate and thrive.
You simply have to learn to work with your body, instead of working against it. Then you can have a prosperous and healthy life – and live your life, which can be up to 120+ years!
But there is something even cooler – Dacher Ketlner research, director of the Social Interaction Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, is performing, shows that VNS is not only good for you – is good for the planet!
“Our research and that of other scientists suggest that activation of the vagus nerve is associated with feelings of care and ethical intuition that human beings of different (even contradictory) social groups share a common humanity. It has been found that the people who have high activation of the vagus nerve in a resting state are likely to feel emotions that promote altruism. – compassion, gratitude, love and happiness”
Telomere (tel-uh-meer) from the Greek telos (end) andmeros (part)
Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.
Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.
DNA makes up all of the cells in our body. It is the genetic material that makes us who we are. And every organ in our body (skin, liver, heart, etc.) is made up of cells. So, telomeres are vital to our health.
Our cells replenish by copying themselves. This happens constantly throughout our lives. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself, but the important DNA stays intact.
Eventually, telomeres get too short to do their job, causing our cells to age and stop functioning properly. Therefore, telomeres act as the aging clock in every cell.
Telomeres are shortened as we age, but telomeres can also be shortened by stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and a poor diet.
Short telomeres are connected to premature cellular aging.
Telomere shortening is involved in all aspects of the aging process on a cellular level. Telomere length represents our biological age as opposed to our chronological age.
Many scientific studies have shown a strong connection between short telomeres and cellular aging.
For example, the immune system, which normally weakens as we age, is highly sensitive to shortening of telomeres. In addition, a 2007 study found that short telomeres were associated with decreases in bone mineral density in women.
Scientists know a lot about telomeres, and they continue to find new evidence about the role telomeres play in the aging process on a cellular level.