Modern medicine looks with a lens that separates the human body into independent systems, never involved or interacting with one another. However, when fetal development is considered (even by an untrained, unprofessional eye) modern medicine couldn’t be further from the truth. I want to hone in on one system in particular and that is the digestive system, even more specifically, the stomach.
During early stages of development within the womb, the stomach does not simply pop into existence. Your stomach and brain originated from the same bud of tissue, like a piece of Silly Putty stretched into two different (though not separate) organs. It is no conicidence that the stomach has more neurotransmitters than the brain. Not only does it have more neurotransmitters, it also witholds memory propabilites. Think of a time when you were nervous and had “butterflies” or a time when you were scared and felt your stomach “drop.” In a weird way, the brain and stomach are like identical twins that separated from the same egg. Except, they look different from one another so they are fraternal twins, I guess. Despite the difference in appearance, location and operation, the stomach is commonly and (rightly so) referred to as “the second brain.”
Now, take a break from fetus talk and imagine your head was swollen. Imagine your head hurt deep within. Imagine your head was making weird noises. If these circumstances were to occur, I’m almost positive you would be rushing to the ER demanding an MRI/CAT scan. In fact, we take our heads so seriously that some states enforce helmets by law. Our stomachs though . . . well they seem to be swollen off and on (aka bloating). They seem to be hurting “occasionally” (enough for Walgreens to have an entire section devoted to over the counter concoctions) and they make weird noises more often then we’d like to admit. Why is it that swelling and pain seem to be the norm for our stomachs while they are the cause for immediate concern when involving any other organ or limb? Why is bloating, belching, cramping, gas and heart burn considered, “normal?”
While any sign of disfunction is case for concern in regards to most of our organs and limbs, our stomachs haven’t seemed to make the cut. Pepcid, Tums and Omeraprazole are commonly found in our medicine cabinets. Heart health, bone density, and low colesterole are now coined phrases. Yet, the “healthy gut” campaign has yet to catch fire.
This is largely due to our education. Our doctors, health classes and media aren’t promoting an integrated medicinal approach. Our doctors, health classes and media are promoting a separate, individualized appraoch that treats outward symptoms without curing the inward cause. The stomach is not viewed as the second brain and surely the GI is not seen as a connected, integrated part of the brain. It’s simply seen as a temperamental tummy that may or may not handle spicy foods.
Through my ongoing health journey, I have learned how incredibly important gut health is, not just to the gut, but to the entire body. There are some integrative medicine doctors/professors who would propose that the gut is the center of all health and the culprit of all disease. I would agree. Whether or not you agree isn’t the point. I simply hope this ongoing series will reveal to you the awesome-ness of our Creator and the importance of our bellies. They are vital organs that are to be treated with care and respect.
*pic above // @amanda taylor