- The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is a system of nerves located in the abdomen.
- The ENS communicates with the brain and can act independently of it.
- It is often referred to as the “second brain.”
- Serotonin is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. Ninety percent of serotonin is produced in the second brain. (Alejandro Junger M.D., Clean Gut)
- Serotonin “plays a crucial role in developing our forebrain, which processes our emotions. Serotonin also enhances the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the limbic brain that regulates the fight-or-flight systems.” (Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.) Villoldo also proposes that serotonin, the “happiness” hormone, is chemically similar to DMT, “the spirit molecule” and that he believes serotonin plays an important role in the creation of DMT — allowing us to access higher states of consciousness in which we perceive the inherent interconnectedness of our existence.
The Second Brain
Consider this: You have a second brain in your gut, and it’s every bit as important as the brain in your head. This second brain is a network of more than 100 million neurons that communicate directly with the brain in your head. The neurons form a latticelike sheath surrounding the entire alimentary canal, or digestive tract, the nearly 30-foot-long tube running from your mouth to your anus… Its main preoccupation is the daily grind of digestion: breaking down food particles to extract the nutrients, absorbing those nutrients, and then eliminating waste. It’s an enormous job, yet all this neural firepower isn’t dedicated exclusively to digestion and elimination. The vagus nerve — the longest of the cranial nerves — snakes up through the body from the gut to the brain, carrying a variety of vital information. – Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.