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Organic Consumers Association

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Soil and the Gut: Two Ecosystems With a Deep Connection

Nature is full of parallels and deep interconnections. Consider the gut, for example.

The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, comprises the mouth, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, and small intestine and is essentially a long tube through which food travels after we consume it. It doesn’t seem like this collection of organs could possibly have a connection to soil, but it does—a deep one, in fact.

In the GI tract, food is digested by a variety of acids, biles, and other digestive juices, but it’s also digested by a plethora of microscopic organisms that the gut, especially the small and large intestines, plays host to. The exact makeup of this microscopic ecosystem—referred to as the gut microbiome—varies from individual to individual, but in a thriving, healthy mammal, it should be diverse and plentiful. The gut microbiome affects many of the body’s systems, including, of course, the digestive system, but also the immune system, endocrine system, and even the neurotransmitter system—meaning the makeup of your gut microbiome can have a direct affect on mood, mental health, and physical well-being. The population of the gut microbiome is affected by the food you eat, beverages you drink, and medications you take. Antibiotics, even those taken to treat specific ailments, often have the unintended consequence of destroying healthy and essential gut bacteria in addition to the malign bacteria they’re meant to kill.

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