There’s an on-going, complex “conversation” occurring between the gut and the brain, and it’s mediated by the vagus nerve.
Loving the tart taste and effervescence of kombucha might be enough for you. It would certainly make sense to us if it were! But there’s also compelling evidence that certain probiotics - the beneficial bacteria populating our raw, unpasteurized kombucha - positively affect digestive functioning. And that’s not all! Preliminary research suggests that a diverse microbiome - the collection of bacteria in our gut - doesn’t just help us digest our food and absorb nutrients. It may also be connected in complex ways to our mental well-being. While the connection between gut health and mental health is still unfolding, the potentially far-reaching benefits of having a healthy gut microbiome offer another reason to partake of raw, unpasteurized fermented foods.
What is the vagus nerve?
Now, let’s talk about the vagus nerve. There’s an on-going, complex “conversation” occurring between the gut and the brain, and it’s mediated by the vagus nerve - actually a collection of nerves, the longest in the body. The vagus nerve is responsible for the “rest and digest” component of the autonomic nervous system, and it passes information back and forth between the brain and the gut, regulating heart rate, respiratory function, and digestion, as well as reflexes we don’t need to think about to perform, like swallowing and sneezing. How well it facilitates the gut-brain conversation can impact our health in multiple ways, and an underactive vagus nerve may struggle to regulate the body’s stress response, contributing to increased anxiety and depression. Preliminary research suggests that the diversity of the microbiome can enhance the functioning of the vagus nerve.