The Enteric Nervous System: Your Second Brain

Thursday, June 22, 2017. Author Nathan West Ph.D.

The Enteric Nervous System can be found in your abdomen

You know of the brain that sits in your skull, but do you know about your body’s 'second brain'? It’s the enteric nervous system (ENS).


The nervous system consists of two parts:

1. Central nervous system (CNS): the nerves and ganglia located in the brain and spinal cord.

2. Peripheral nervous system (PNS): the nerves and ganglia found outside of the CNS. The enteric nervous system is part of this system, and is located in your abdomen. 

Containing between 200 to 600 billion neurons (an amount similar to the spinal column), the ENS is the largest and most complex part of the PNS and uses a similarly vast array of neurotransmitters and neurons as the CNS. 1,2 In fact around 50% of dopamine present in your body and over 90% of the serotonin is found in the ENS.

So how does it help you with your fitness? Well, it isn't going to help you dunk a basketball, perform a highly complex gymnastic floor routine or come up with innovative new football plays, but it does play a vital role in controlling the complex process of digestion, which is extremely important for your overall health and wellbeing.


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