Update: Vagus nerve. I saw a video about resetting the vagus nerve, and thought I’d think out-loud via a blog. The vagus nerve runs from top to bottom throughout your body.
**Sorry this took so long, I’ve been running twelve different directions, and reading a lot. I’ve tried to condense this down to be a shorter read, with links to some of the information I have read.**
What is the vegus nerve? It is one of 12 cranial nerves that run throughout your body, and it affects both motor and sensory functions. It helps control digestion, heart rate, breathing, cardiovascular activity and reflex reactions such as sneezing. It comes from the Latin word “wandering” because it basically wanders from top to bottom throughout your body. It helps regulate your immune system, helps control the fight or flight response, inflammation in response to disease.
“It has four main functions: sensory, special sensory, motor and parasympathetic.” (Cited from this trusted source). It has a back and front (dorsal and ventral). Cues are activated along these during neuroception during times of safety, or times of, what you may perceive as danger. Safety cues are activated through the ventral, and danger cues are activated through the dorsal side.
“According to the Polyvagal theory, the vagus nerve is the key phylogenetic substrate that supports efficient emotion recognition for promoting safety and survival. Previous studies showed that the vagus nerve affects people’s ability to recognize emotions based on eye regions and whole facial images, but not static bodies. “ (Cited from this trusted source.)
The vegus nerve can get out of whack, to explain it easily. It’s the longest cranial nerve running from the base of the brain, down to the colon. Damage to the vegus nerve can affect cardio function, or anything else that it helps to regulate. There’s a lot of other info via this trusted source, if you would like to read more from that publication.
So as I’m reading all of this, and researching, what I’m understanding is this. If you ever get a gut feeling, your vagus nerve is involved, if you are ever in a traumatic situation, your vagus nerve is deciding which emotion, or feeling is going to be sent to the brain. In my case, I had a home invasion. During the actual event, I was feeling anxiety and fear. How this affects my diagnosis of ptsd, I believe is relevant. The brain tells the body what to do, but the body has built in survival mechanisms…one being this cranial nerve. But it’s been years since the home invasion….so is my vagus nerve still reacting? I believe the answer is yes. In the moment, the body defaults to survive. But the brain remembers the trauma, and it’s chemical makeup in changed after trauma. So during times when I have episodes of flashbacks, or anxiety, I believe the brain sends fight or flight signals to the vagus nerve, which can then cause physical manifestations of the original trauma. Elevated heart rate, nausea, rapid thoughts.
This also applies to a persons ability to empathetic. Good things come from the vagus nerve.
“However, sometimes we do not receive this care and love in our relationships. Relational trauma impair our trust in others and, like all traumatic events is held in the body and is often maintained as dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is the part of your nervous system that manages how you respond to stress. In addition, the ANS also helps you to find healthy relaxation into a felt experience of safety. All of this is directly related to the tone and health of your vagus nerve.” (Cited directly from this trusted source from Dr. Arielle Schwartz.)
So now that I’ve done this research, in layman’s terms, this cranial nerve can directly impact your emotion, physical well being, and correlate happy and sad events. Traumatic events, being in love, how we are going to respond, if we have symptoms of ptsd, ect. So that can explain my question to myself, below, can trauma, ect cause damage. Yes it can. It rewires things sometimes.
How can we repair our vagus nerve. I’m including a link here to explain all of that. Alternating nasal breathing, going out in nature. (I do this, it works), changing your diet to unprocessed Whole Foods. (Here’s a link to start changing your diet). I have changed my diet, to nothing processed. Nothing. Processed foods make me feel bad, and cause autoimmune flare ups for me.
In answer to this question: YES. ➡️What I’m wondering, is can trauma; be it physical, mental, emotional etc., cause damage, and exacerbate existing mental health issues, by causing small injuries to the vagus nerve. Obviously physical damage can do that.. car wreck, a fall. Can a person who has undiagnosed autoimmune, personality disorder, or any other mental health disorder become more symptomatic if the vegus nerve is damaged and goes undetected? Or are a lot of those caused from a damaged vegus nerve?
I’m probably overthinking it…but I’m going to do some research. I already know that people with the MTHFR polymorphism, can be affected by the bodies inability to absorb other nutrients, thus causing more issues. It can also lead to early onset Alzheimers. I’m just wondering how and IF it’s affected me and my diagnoses.
Thanks for listening to my thoughts. Lol
Keywords: vagus nerve stimulation vagus nerve disorders vagus nerve exercises vagus nerve symptoms, vagus nerve function, vagus nerve and anxiety