The Vagus Nerve – How It Impacts Your Digestion, Breath, Detoxification and Brain + How to Activate It with Simple At-Home Strategies

What is the vagus nerve and what are some simple strategies that we can do to activate it? Get a load of some really amazing information from Activate Your Vagus Nerve author, Dr. Navaz Habib. Enjoy!

You can find all the info and links about this episode at https://holisticwellness.ca/episode51.

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Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The vagus nerve
  • Some common signs of vagus nerve dysfunction.
  • The effect of stress on the vagus nerve
  • The four major functions of the vagus nerve
  • Strategies and tips to activate the vagus nerve
  • Where sleep and digestion come into play
  • Autoimmune conditions

Key Takeaways:

  • If you have poor vagus nerve function, you will experience poor digestion, inflammation, IBS, issues of liver detoxification, even autoimmunity.
  • 12 to 24 hours after you eat a meal, you should be eventually releasing the waste of that meal. Optimally, around 16 hours is the best amount of time.
  • When you don’t have a gallbladder, what’s actually going on is you’re living is going to be extra stressed in being able to push out bile and get toxins out of the body but help to absorb the fats.
  • The four major functions of the vagus nerve:
  1. Afferent function
  2. Parasympathetic function
  3. Motor functions
  4. Sensory function to a portion of the ear
  • One of the tools that you can use to see if the vagus nerve isn’t working well is the tone of voice. If you know somebody that has a very monotonous voice and they aren’t able to raise pitch or go up and down with their voice, then that is a sign that the signaling in the vagus nerve is actually quite poor because the muscles aren’t being used correctly.
  • We can actually use auricular acupuncture to treat vagus nerve dysfunction.
  • Gargling is a great tool for activating the vagus nerve. But you have to gargle the right way, up to the point that you tear up. If you’re not able to tear out of our eyes, you’re probably not activating the nuclei inside the brain stem of vagus enough.
  • Heart rate variability is actually a direct sign of vagus nerve function.
  • People that sleep on their right side tend to have higher heart rate variability and tend to be better nose breathers.

Action Steps:

  • Monitor your bowel transit time. If it’s too fast or too slow, that’s a sign that the vagus nerve is not doing its job correctly.
  • Get auricular acupuncture treatment to stimulate vagus nerve activity.
  • Practice gargling every morning and evening, in the right way.
  • Make sure that you breathe through your nose, not through your mouth. Try using Breathe Right strips or a mouth tape.
  • Make sure that you chew your food very well and that you’re not eating under stressed circumstances.
  • Go away from the stressful environment of your desk or your work station and get out and do something a little bit different. Be in a calm, relaxed environment.
  • Before you eat, do some humming or chanting or some deep breathing exercises to help activate the vagus nerve.

Navaz said:

“What the vagus nerve really is, is the major connection between the gut and all of the organs inside our body directly to our brain. It is the gut-brain axis… It is essentially the controlling pathway by which our body is able to recover, rest, digest, and actually function optimally.”

“You are what you eat, digest, absorb, and don’t eliminate… If you’re not absorbing it, it’s not going to get into your body, it’s going to get into your cells, and then it’s not doing the job that it needs to do.”


Thanks for listening!


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Dr. Habib’s Website


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