The Brain-Gut axis describes a remarkable dialogue between our central nervous system (CNS), which is the brain and spinal cord, and the enteric nervous system (ENS), a vast network of neurons that innervates our digestive tract. The ENS is sometimes called the “second brain” because of its many overlapping roles and characteristics with the CNS. We have long noted this link through common expression like, “an upset stomach”, “gone with your gut” or having “butterflies in your stomach”. We now understand that when our brain registers that we are stressed (deemed the sympathetic state) many mundane but important activities like digestion, grind to a halt. Stress also goes hand-in-hand with disruptive habits such as eating too much, too fast, and consuming more processed foods. Emotional stress can manifest in your gut in many ways: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, heart burn, nausea and loss of appetite.
Digestive enzymes for stress eating
When we are stressed we are less mindful of how we eat. Between poor food choices and hurried eating, we are less likely to chew our foods properly, putting more strain on our resources including digestive enzymes. Undigested food particles may feed gas producing bacteria, resulting in bloating and flatulence or burping as well as feelings of fullness and even nausea. Digestive enzymes target fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The NOW® Super Enzymes blend of both pancreatic as well as fruit derived enzymes gives this formula the ability to work in a wide range of pH levels and therefore provide extra assurances of efficacy. NOW® Super Enzymes also contains bile for additional assistance when digesting fats and fat soluble vitamins as well as betaine hydrochloride necessary for efficient protein digestion in the stomach.
By: Dr. Thalia Charney, MA
Nutrition and Health Education Manager, NOW FOODS