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(Photo: Weheartit.com)

By Dr. Jennifer Landa for Prevention.com

PreventionThe enteric nervous system, or the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, is often referred to as the “second brain.” That’s because much like your brain, the GI tract relies on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters to complete specific functions, as well as maintain communication with the central nervous system. Have you ever noticed that fluctuations in your emotions cause a reaction in your stomach? You may feel butterflies with love, nausea with anxiety, or gut-wrenched with fear. This is because the brain has a direct effect on the GI system.

This also means that when you’re experiencing stress—whether chronic stress or ongoing tension from small daily stressors—your gastrointestinal health is impacted. Psychological stress can impair contraction of the GI tract, induce inflammation, and increase susceptibility to infection.

Keep reading for more information on stress…

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