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The Enteric Nervous System: Mind-Gut Connection

By March 17, 2023No Comments
The Enteric Nervous System and the Mind-Gut Connection

Have you ever had butterflies or a gut feeling in your stomach? These sensations prove that your mind and gut are connected! This is known as the gut-brain axis. The brain that is located in our gut is called the Enteric Nervous system (ENS) and is responsible for the mind-gut connection.

“A stressed-out mind and body usually leads to a stressed gut.”

Diagram of gut-brain axis

The Enteric Nervous System and the Mind-Gut Connection

The Vagus nerve runs from the brainstem to the abdomen, connecting the brain to the gut. Our gut not only includes different neurons (nerve cells) for reflex actions such as intestinal motion and enzyme secretion, it also produces 30 neurotransmitters(2). 90% of the body’s serotonin (bright and cheery) and 50% of the body’s dopamine (focus and feel good) is produced here(2). Adequate levels of these neurotransmitters ensure proper ability to focus and a bright outlook. Neurotransmitters are our nerve to nerve communication chemicals. Deficiencies may lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression and loss of focus.

“Anything that affects the gut always affects the brain.”

The Enteric Nervous System and the Gut-Brain Axis

The ENS can trigger emotional shifts with people experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut health problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and gas(1). For decades, researchers thought that anxiety and depression caused these problems when it may be other way around.

Today’s processed western diet is not only increasing cases of obesity and heart disease, but also having a large impact of mental and physical health(3). Behavioural issues, ADD, ADHD, autism and dyslexia are just some of the issues that our children are facing today.

How to improve your gut-brain function

  1. Diet – reducing sugars, dairy, gluten, food additives and colours.
  2. Exercise – regular exercise promotes gut bacteria diversity.
  3. Medications – limit unnecessary antibiotic use as they kill your good bacteria as well.
  4. Stress – reducing stress improves your vagus nerve connection to your gut and ensures you get the best result from the food you consume.

How can you tell there is an issue with your ENS?

A diagram of the ENS mind-gut axis

  • Low back pain
  • Focus/concentration problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue
  • IBS, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Sore tummy
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eczema, dermatitis and other skin conditions
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia

Contact Us for Gut-Brain Axis and Enteric Nervous System Chiropractic Care

When you are experiencing issues with your ENS, it’s important to get treatment right away. Carlin Chiropractic is here to help. We take a holistic approach to gut health, and by treating the underlying cause of your symptoms we can help your body naturally restore balance. Contact us today so that we can work together on developing a tailored plan for you and helping your body to heal itself.

  1. The brain-gut connection (2021) The Brain-Gut Connection | Johns Hopkins Medicine.
    Available at:
    (Accessed: March 10, 2023).
  2. Upton, S. (2023) The Gut Brain Axis & how probiotics help mental alertness, Inner Health. Inner Health.
    Available at:’s%20serotonin,the%20gut%20not%20the%20brain.&text=The%20gut%20microbiome%20is%20responsible,in%20the%20process%20of%20learning
    (Accessed: March 10, 2023).
  3. Western diets (no date) Western Diets – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
    Available at:
    (Accessed: March 10, 2023).