The Gut-Brain Connection: How It Relates to Intuition 

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Author: Maj


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A fascinating aspect of the gut-brain connection is the link between ‘gut feeling’ and intuition.

Brain Gut Connection

links between gut and intuition

Research has shown a strong connection between the gut and the brain, and this connection goes beyond just digestion. In fact, the gut is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” due to this connection.

There is science behind intuition, which indicates it is a way of processing information from patterns to conclude an answer fast.

Intuiton, day to day, is seen as the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning and is a powerful tool that we all possess. However, many of us struggle to tap into our intuition and trust our “gut feelings”.

3 links: gut health and intuition

  1. Mood
    The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria play a crucial role in digestion and also have an impact on our mood and behavior. Research has shown that the gut microbiome can affect the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is known to influence mood and behavior. Mood can affect your openness to intuition.
  2. Mindset
    Imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to a range of mindset issues, including anxiety and depression. These conditions can make it harder for us to tap into our intuition.
  3. Stress
    Chronic stress can negatively impact gut health as well as interfere with our ability to connect with our intuition. Stress can cause inflammation in the gut, disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome, and even damage the lining of the gut.

Gut microbiome and its impact on intuitive thinking, based on current knowledge, seems to relate to mood influence. This is significant, since a poor mood is not conducive to intuition.

How the gut-brain axis affects intuition

The gut-brain axis refers to the bidirectional communication system that exists between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. Recent scientific thought suggests the gut-brain axis may affect intuition by activating the vagal pathway through the release of serotonin in the gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the gut by cells that respond to signals from microbiota.

Your Vagus Nerve Sends Gut Instincts to the Brain and Can Keep You Calm

Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today, 2016

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and is responsible for connecting the brain to many important organs, including the heart, lungs, and digestive system. It is also thought to play a role in intuition. The vagus nerve is responsible for sending signals to the brain from the body’s internal organs, giving the brain information about how the body is feeling. 

“Your vagus nerve is the prime component of the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates your “rest-and-digest” or “tend-and-befriend” responses”, according to Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today.

While more research is needed to fully understand the role of the vagus nerve in intuition, its connection to emotional processing and social behavior suggests that it may play an important role in our ability to understand and navigate the world around us.

Origins of ‘Gut feeling’ to describe intuition on Quora

There are many answers on Quora but here’s the gist…

When people say they have a “gut feeling” about something, they are referring to an intuitive sense or hunch that they have. This feeling is often described as a sensation in the stomach or lower abdomen, hence the term “gut feeling”. It is a feeling that is difficult to explain or rationalize, but it is nonetheless compelling and convincing to the person experiencing it.

The term “gut feeling” is believed to have originated during the mid-1800s. It refers to a sensation that arises from the stomach or abdomen, rather than the brain. This feeling is often described as an instinctive response to a situation or decision, and is thought to be related to the enteric nervous system, which is sometimes referred to as the “second brain.”

While the scientific basis for gut feelings is still being studied, many people rely on this intuitive sense as a valuable source of information when making decisions.

[The gut feeling saying] denotes that the gut is the first part of the body to respond to external stimuli, creating an emotional sixth sense that is able to govern rational thought faster than the brain”

Arabella Henderson’s review

The “gut feeling” phrase’s association with the “gut brain” is one reason for it’s use in the context of intuition. The “gut brain” concept suggests that the digestive system has its own set of neurons and can function independently from the brain in the head.

Scientific research has shown that the gut and brain communicate through the gut-brain axis and that the gut microbiome can even influence mental health. In many cultures, the abdominal area is considered to be the “seat of the emotions,” which could explain this association.

The connection between the stomach and emotions is supported by scientific research, which has found that the gut and brain communicate with each other through the nervous system, influencing both physical and emotional well-being.

The idea of “trusting your gut” may have originated from the uneasy or “negative” sensation you experience in your stomach when you sense that something isn’t right. Anxiety can manifest in numerous physical symptoms, such as the fluttery feeling in your stomach, or even stomach pain and nausea.

The connection between the brain and the gut has been studied extensively and is known as the Brain-Gut Connection. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), your gut is brimming with nerves that are strikingly similar to those in your brain.

It is, in fact, the part of your body with the largest number of nerves after your brain. Your “gut” shares many of these connections with the brain, which means that the “feeling” you get in your gut is a biological response to external stimuli that activate your nerves.

Those who experience long-term, chronic stress may experience ongoing digestive health problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, and more. Your gut is far more connected to your brain than you may have realized.

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Me Hos

Hi, I'm Maj. I'm the founder and editor of this site where you'll find articles about trusting your intuition and looking at synchronicities in everyday life. My articles are based on lived experience and what I discover in literature, research, and other's expressions of their experiences.