If you’ve ever experienced feelings of anxiousness before and researched health tips to improve your stress management, you’re likely already aware of the vagus nerve. But did you know that consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids can help stimulate your vagus nerve (and, in turn, your parasympathetic nervous system)?*
The vagus nerve runs from the brainstem down to the abdomen and is the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps regulate digestion, heart rate, neurotransmitter levels, hormone balance, immune function, and more.
When we’re introduced to stressors, our sympathetic nervous system is triggered and our body goes into “fight or flight” mode. The parasympathetic nervous system helps calm our body back down so we can reach homeostasis and our organ systems can function optimally.
Why stimulating the vagus nerve is important for overall well-being.
That said, when your vagus nerve isn’t operating as it should, it can lead to widespread health concerns (including in the gut, brain, and immune system) over time that negatively affect overall well-being.
What’s worse, our body can’t distinguish between a real threat (e.g., a bear running at us, ready to attack) and a perceived threat (e.g., an approaching project deadline at work or a “we need to talk” text from your partner).
With stressors at an all-time high, it’s easy for our bodies to get stuck in fight-or-flight for long periods of time. That said, if you have strong vagal tone (i.e., activity of the vagus nerve), your body won’t get thrown into fight-or-flight every time you get nervous before a serious conversation or overwhelmed by your workload.
Luckily, you can stimulate your vagus nerve, essentially training it to handle stressors better. Some ways to stimulate the vagus nerve include cold exposure therapy, light exercise, singing or humming, and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Another easy way to increase vagal tone? Consider omega-3 fats.
How omega-3s help increase vagal tone and activity.
According to a 2011 Frontiers in Physiology scientific review, omega-3 fatty acids can help increase vagal tone and support a healthy parasympathetic nervous response by playing a key role in regulating heart rate variability (HRV).*
A higher HRV indicates greater variability between heartbeats, which typically means the body is better equipped to tolerate stress and/or quickly and efficiently recover from accumulated stress. If you’re looking to improve your HRV, scientific research suggests that taking a high-potency omega-3 supplement (specifically marine omega-3s EPA and DHA) can help increase HRV and support a healthy parasympathetic response.*
Considering the vagus nerve helps calm the body down and promotes healthy stress management, it’s no surprise that increasing HRV plays a part in a well-functioning parasympathetic nervous system.
(Plus, omega-3s are notoriously helpful for supporting heart health, which further supports this beneficial alliance.)*
So, if you’re looking to increase vagal tone and bolster your body’s internal stress management system, might we suggest prioritizing omega-3s in your daily life?*
To help improve your HRV, support your parasympathetic nervous system, and practice healthy stress management, consider omega-3s EPA and DHA to nurture your nerves.*
With 1,500 milligrams of sustainably sourced marine-derived omega-3s (EPA + DHA), mbg’s omega-3 potency+ supports heart, brain, and overall health.*
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.