Singing is Good for your Gut!
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
So, I went down a research rabbit hole this morning and learned that singing is good for my gut!
My rabbit hole started with TNF-alpha, which is an inflammatory component that your body produces, preferably short-term to fight off infections, but high levels of it can become chronic and relate to all kinds of other issues, specifically including digestive troubles. I have some mild digestive troubles, and intolerances to a bunch of foods, so I figure I probably have some TNF-alpha and gut microbiota disfunction.
So, in looking up things hat lower TNF-alpha (which include lots of things I already do like increased omega-3s, curcumin, low grade exercise, etc.) I came upon a relationship between TNF-alpha and the vagus nerve, which is the major way your body regulates your parasympathetic response.
Side lesson: the sympathetic nervous response is the well known "fight or flight" response that far too many of us live most of our lives in, and the parasympathetic response is the reverse "rest and digest" response that is needed to maintain balance. The sympathetic is triggered by epinephrine (adrenaline) from your adrenal glands, but the parasympathetic response is mainly triggered via the vagus nerve which runs from your brain all the way down your spinal cord branching out to lots of systems.
Anyway, the vagus nerve runs right behind the larynx (voice box), and you can activate it by humming or singing, which vibrates the voice box.
Now I know why I love my karaoke nights so much (which I miss a lot with everything shut down).
Time to go sing my body to a healthier state!