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Activating the Vagus Nerve to Lose Weight

By Christian Filter

Our nervous system has always been important for the general well being of our body considering that it houses the master glands and the nerves that allows varied bodily functions to work. It consists of the spinal nerves that control the muscles in the body and also the cranial nerves that control the organs in the head and neck. The cranial nerves are mostly responsible for the sensory and the motor function of the head, neck and shoulder area, but their function goes beyond these. In fact, a cranial nerve in the form of the vagus nerve can help people lose weight effectively following its activation.

Understanding the Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve is the cranial nerve responsible for swallowing, and for speech. It also allows the larynx to open for breathing, innervates the digestive system and slows the heart rate, among other things. The vagus nerve arises from the brain in the medulla oblongata and passes down the base of the brain to the spine up to the level of the chest cavity where it branches out to various organs in the body.

One important function of the vagus nerve is it acts as the main pathway for nerve impulses from the digestive system to the brain. Specifically, it relays nerve impulses from the Enteric Nervous System to the brain. The ENS, or the enteric nervous system, serves as the second nervous system for the digestive system. In case the vagus nerve is affected or injured, the ENS can act independently to control the digestive processes even without sending signals to the brain through the vagus nerve.

The Effects of the Vagus Nerve on Health

The vagus nerve is an important cranial nerve for health. For the vagus nerve to take its affect on the body to slow down the heart rate and others, an important neurotransmitter is released in the form of acetylcholine. When acetylcholine is relapsed, there is vagus nerve stimulation leading to various health effects. The vagus nerve activates the anti-inflammatory response in the digestive tract helping those with inflammatory conditions in the gastrointestinal tract. Another function of the vagus nerve for health is it can help people with depression with unresponsive conditions through inhibition of the aberrant pathways to the brain.

The action of the vagus nerve in the inhibition of the aberrant pathway to the brain can also help in weight loss. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it reduces the appetite and also induces the feeling of satiety or being full. When these series of events happen, it may help people who want to lose weight effectively reduce their total food intake contributing to effective weight loss.

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So how do we Promote Vagal Nerve Stimulation?

To produce a more effective reduction in appetite, the vagal nerve should be stimulated. However, the single most effective way to yield vagal nerve stimulation is through surgery to place an electrical stimulation device. For those who want to lose weight, studies say that this procedure is not required as it may pose certain risks to the patient and the risks and costs of surgery greatly outweigh the benefits of weight loss. Nevertheless, there are ways to naturally stimulate the vagus nerve through the following:

  1. Holding your breath
  2. Tensing the abdomen
  3. Placing a cold wash cloth on the face
  4. Taking deep breaths through diaphragmatic breathing or breathing in while expanding your abdomen.

Studies have shown that Yoga activates the vagus nerve and leads to weight loss.

Using these maneuvers to stimulate the vagus nerve may not consistently stimulate the cranial nerve, but they may be done during periods when you feel like eating or when you are hungry to lower your appetite and prevent overeating. Once you feel the urge to eat, you may employ the series of maneuvers until you lose the appetite to eat again.

Various studies have seen several ways to lose weight naturally and vagal nerve stimulation is one of the new things that experts are considering. Along with the right diet and exercise, vagus nerve stimulation can help control food cravings.

About the Author

Christian Filter is a freelance writer focusing on health topics. He gained interest in weight loss remedies because he personally suffers from being overweight. He fears trying weight loss pills due to their side effects so he focuses on healthy eating, exercise and other natural ways to lose weight.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


Matthew says:

Hi Christian,

I enjoyed reading your article about the Vagus Nerve and how it relates to overall health, weight loss and well being.

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