Scientists Say We Have Two Brains And One Is Located In Our Bowel

Have you ever been embarrassed by your stomach rumbling loudly before a meal? Do you feel like your guts have a mind of their own? As it turns out, you may not be that far off base, as scientists have recently discovered a second brain -- and it’s in our bowels! 

Our second brain, called the Enteric Nervous System, is composed of millions of neurons that collectively control the movement of material in our intestines, i.e. our poop. Scientists have long known that the ENS helps us make number two, but new evidence from Flinders University in Australia sheds light on how that process works. Some of Australia’s best scientists set to work evaluating our “second brain” and learned that electrical charges emitted by the ENS pulsate through our lower intestines to move waste out of our bodies.

Basically, minute electrical waves vibrate imperceptibly in our guts, which makes us have to “go." 

To unravel the mystery of the “second brain,” the team of scientists at Flinders University studied an astounding 400,000 neurons in the intestines of laboratory mice. These neurons were found to emit a rhythmic electric pulse that causes muscles to expand and contract, ensuring intestinal movement and the regular excretion of waste. Previously unknown to scientists, this neuronal activity stimulates excitatory and inhibitory neurons, as well as putative sensory neurons, in a coordinated process known as colon migrating motor complex or CMMC.

As neurophysiologist and study author Nick Spencer notes, scientists were previously in the dark about how these large populations of enteric neurons assisted in ridding our bodies of waste. The ENS even helps transport beneficial bacterial colonies throughout our intestines, but the process halts temporarily while we are eating. 

With this unprecedented discovery, scientists now know that the gastrointestinal tract is not dependent on the brain or spinal cord, instead depending on its own nervous system to complete all necessary processes. More importantly, the discovery of our hidden “second brain” may lead to groundbreaking changes in the treatment of bowel-related diseases. 

Now that you have the know just how smart your gut is, let your friends and family in on the secret! Or does the idea of a “second brain” have you scratching your head? Let us know what you think!