So the vagus nerve works really well at reducing the severity of so many things… but we don’t know why that is exactly. I am going to propose a hypothesis – welcome to my brain.
Here’s a study on vagus nerve stimulation
It seems that it’s tied to inflammation. I have been wondering about blood flow – I did a whole blog on blood.
But more importantly I wanted to know why it made you happy and what might be a reason for it seeming to make it so that you can socialise more easily – which is apparently another one of it’s effects – because it reduces anxiety.
Then I came to something no one really talks about that much.
Vasopressin, also called antidiuretic hormone (ADH), arginine vasopressin (AVP) or argipressin.
Literally this is it’s current function according to science:
Vasopressin regulates the tonicity of body fluids. It is released from the posterior pituitary in response to hypertonicity and causes the kidneys to reabsorb solute-free water and return it to the circulation from the tubules of the nephron, thus returning the tonicity of the body fluids toward normal. An incidental consequence of this renal reabsorption of water is concentrated urine and reduced urine volume. AVP released in high concentrations may also raise blood pressure by inducing moderate vasoconstriction.
Basically according to theories now all this one thing does is control the amount of water.
It does stop you from urinating if you lose too much water. Ever noticed that when you don’t drink that you don’t need to pee despite maybe having a lot of water still – that is vasopressin doing it’s job. When you lose as little as 2% of your body water it can double the content of vasopressin in the blood.
Why do I care?
Vasopressin and Oxytocin appear to have complicated transmitter interactions – it’s been hypothesised that these are the behaviours:
Literally the interaction between Oxytocin and Vasopressin appear to modulate the love-fear reaction in humans. The above article covers it in more detail.
Hang on I thought stress was related to cortisol – and only cortisol…
Yeah it is – it definitely seems to play a role in a lot of things. But do you know the most common way of getting rid of cortisol? – Excreting it. This is done by drinking water – which will in turn allow your body to release cortisol through urination. You can also exercise – there are many ways of excreting water from the body.
Ok so what’s the connection with the vagus nerve then?
When Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) was put into rats to test fluid consumption they found something interesting – they drank the same amount, but they didn’t drink as often. Not only that – the amount of arginine vasopressin (AVP) was lower in the blood.
Wait a second – if VNS seems to work, and it also seems to supress vasopressin does that mean vasopressin might have a role in inflammation?
My point is this:
I think Vasopressin might be the single most important neurochemical for understanding anxiety, depression, inflammation – it seems to control blood flow. When it was injected into the guts of rats it inhibited gastric motility, it could be the thing that’s causing all the issues with inflammation throughout the body – and especially in the brain.
If VNS works by reducing the amount of vasopressin, and causes a decrease in inflammation then it stands to reason that we should DEFINITELY look into the function of vasopressin outside of it’s current small understanding.
I am an ADHD/Autism/OCD advocate and independent ADHD/Autism researcher.
I am training in 2021 to become an ICF Accredited ADHD coach.
I write mainly about ADHD/Autism/OCD/Mental health issues, but will also discuss morality, abolition, and current affairs occasionally.
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