There are twelve sets of cranial nerves; out of all, the Vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, which has both motor and sensory functions. The sensory process includes the sensations related to skin, muscles, and organs, whereas the motor function includes swallowing, heart rate, and digestion.
Therefore, the vagus nerve plays a crucial role in our body’s functioning, and it is imperative to practice a good lifestyle. It advances harmony between physical and mental well-being and keeps your body in shape. Now you can save a check on your health by booking your appointment with Julie Donaldson, a practitioner with 40 years of experience in metabolic typing, functional health testing, massage therapy, and many more. Visit this site to know more.
Vagus Nerve Branches
The two left, and right vagal nerves join to frame the vagal trunk. These two join each other near the esophageal, initially near the throat, and pass into your stomach. The vagal box incorporates foremost (front) and back (back) gastric nerves that go to your midsection.
Vagus nerve branches are:
- Interior ganglion branch: that serves nerves and muscles from the pharynx and larynx.
- Superior ganglion branch: that serves nerves near the spine and ear.
- Vagus nerve branch: These nerves lie near the heart, lungs, and throat (tube interfacing your mouth and stomach).
Functions Of Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve has sensory, motor, and parasympathetic functions.
1. Sensory functions
It composes of two somatic and visceral components –
- Somatic Component- It includes the skin, muscles, and ear.
- Visceral element- The sensation from bodily organs like the gastrointestinal tract, laryngopharynx, and heart.
2. Special Sensory Function
The vagus nerves play an essential role in the root of the tongue and epiglottis and help in sensing the tastes of various food items.
3. Motor Function
Vagus nerves are associated with the larynx, and the pharynx helps in swallowing and vocal sound production.
4. Parasympathetic function
- The vagus nerve has a central parasympathetic outflow to the heart and gastrointestinal organs.
- It helps in stimulate the resting heart rate, which is a rhythm of sixty to eighty beats per minute
- It also enables the contractions of muscles and gland secretion of the digestive tract.
5. Anti-Inflammatory properties
The Vagus nerve has shown an anti-inflammatory response. It produces cholinergic signals to decelerate the inflammation.
Problems Caused By Affected Vagus Nerves
Triggered and damaged vagus nerve can cause overstimulation which leads to specific disorders. Some of them are listed as follows.
- Vasovagal syncope-It is also called fainting, and it occurs when the vagus nerve gets triggered, resulting in malfunctioning of the heart and leading to disrupted heart rate and blood pressure. The heart rate slows down, and blood vessels get dilated. It causes anxiety, hunger, heat production, pain, and stress, and you may feel dizzy.
- Gastroparesis-It is also known as delayed gastric emptying, which occurs due to damage in the vagus nerve that cannot send signals to the digestive tract. It leads to food remaining in the stomach and taking time to move to the intestine. Symptoms include feeling full after eating a small amount of food and nausea.
- Inflammation response- If not functioning correctly, the vagus nerve can also result in a decreased anti-inflammatory signal to other body parts.
- Anxiety– One of the side effects of improper functioning of the vagus nerve is increased stress, anxiety, and fear of scary situations causing sudden shivering and sweating.
Symptoms Of Overactive Vagus Nerve
- Blurred Vision- It is a condition where the clearness and sensitivity of visibility decrease.
- Tunnel Vision– The loss in peripheral vision resulting in a constricted picture leading to tunnel kike field vision.
- High Body Temperature- vagus nerve involves visceral thermal reflexes. Thus, regulates the body temperatures.
- A Cold,Clammy Sweat- Wet or Sweaty skin in response to the heat produced by the body
- Lightheadedness- The feeling of dizziness due to low pulse rate and blood pressure
- Pale Skin- An unusual lightness of the skin
- Dilated pupils- It is also called Mydriasis. Commonly caused by stress, anxiety, and fear.
Causes Of Vagus Nerve Getting Triggered
- Prolonged walking- Excess exercising can cause fainting. As the vagus nerve gets over-activated.
- Hot weather conditions- An Increase in temperature may trigger thermosensitivity in the hepatic branch of the vagus nerve.
- Blood donation- some donors might experience hypotension, sweating, bradycardia, vomiting, and lightheadedness, which triggers the vagus nerves.
- Anxiety and stress- It can impact the vagus nerve causing issues like depression, and the body is more suitable for disease and infection.
- Attempting to make a bowel movement while pushing.
How To Stimulate The Vagus Nerve
- Gut health improvement -Gut breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the head through the chest and to the colon. It initiates your relaxation reaction, reducing your pulse rate and circulatory system and bringing down feelings of anxiety.
- Mental health- The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps in calming down if an individual gets panicked. Thus, mental well-being is paramount to preventing the vagus nerves’ triggering.
- Belly Breathing is inhalation and exhalation and sensing your stomach contraction. This practice is sometimes called “belly breathing.” It helps the heart rate and blood pressure decrease.
- Probiotics- These are some living bacteria and yeast which help in maintaining gut health. Thus, a healthy digestive tract has proven to be improving the function of the vagus nerve
- Omega three fatty acids – Brain and gut health are interrelated. Omega 3 fatty acid consumption helps in increasing the heart rate, stimulating the vagus nerve function.
- Mindfulness and Meditation- Meditation helps relax and promote positive emotions and goodwill, stimulating vagus nerves and increasing the vagal tone.
There are numerous things you can do to keep a healthy vagus nerve. It gives a clear-cut advantage to your health since it connects several body parts, including the brain and the gut. Since vagus nerve is involved in various internal processes, it is imperative to take care by focusing on therapies that must be effective in treating epilepsy, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis in patients.