The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that controls the gastrointestinal tract. The ENS is the only part of the PNS that contains extensive neural circuits. The ENS has a two way connection with the central nervous system (CNS) and works with the CNS to control the digestive system. Although this connection does exist studies have shown that the ENS has the ability to function without the CNS. Because of the ENS ability to function without the CNS, the ENS is sometimes referred to as the body's second brain or the brain in the gut. The relatively new field that studies the brain-gut connection is neurogastroenterology. Understanding this connection can help to treat a variety of disorders.
"Take care of your gut and it will take care of you"
-Dr. Michael D. Gershon