“I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains!” - Rob Gordon, High Fidelity
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Why do we have cravings? Is it will power or is it something else?
(Alock., et al. 2014)
Inside of our stomach, we have a number of different microbial colonies competing for survival. Ideally, we have a symbiotic relationship. However, like all relationships, things can get out of hand.
Our stomach has direct communication with our brain. The number of innervating fibers is so many, that some actual refer to the stomach as our "second brain". Long story short, these microbes essentially have direct access to our central nervous system and at times, they try and hijack it.
These microbes, like all organisms, want to live. However, they are fueled by what we eat. They don't get to make their own food. By giving them what they want, we supply them with the means to grow. By growing, they begin to take dominant control the stomach's environment. Thus, knocking out other microbial colonies and reducing the diversity of microbes in our stomach. Once this dominant strain microbe has taken over, it now gets access to the brain.
What happens next is the microbe wants more of what you have been feeding to grow and when it doesn't get what it wants, it throws a fit. The microbes will begin to make the environment of the stomach toxic, which stimulate the brain, typically via the vagus nerve The brain senses these signals and to appease the microbes, produces cravings for the type of food these microbes want.
These little microbes are now acting as the puppet master. They make a keep signaling you until your "will power" caves and you give them the chocolate they have been crying for.
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