Soil Life and the Human Gut Biome

3179601 © Leonid Sadofev - Dreamstime

Soil Life and the Human Gut Biome

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing



Human life and the microbiology of soil are vitally intertwined. Healthy soils produce healthy plants, which in turn nourish humans and animals.

The digestive systems of plants and humans mirror each other. Biological processes taking place in your digestive system are parallel to those in the topsoil of the Earth. Soil surrounding a plant's roots functions as its digestive system. Start pondering the Earth beneath your feet, and you will quickly see the tremendous connection between life and the soil.

The human body is a biome—a naturally occurring population of flora occupying a habitat. Similarly, a plant's root system is essentially its stomach, where absorption of nutrients occurs through the breakdown of organic matter. There is an analogy to your digestive system where your body breaks down the food you eat, and symbiotic communities of bacteria in the gut help break down and absorb nutrients for energy.

The biodiversity of organisms in our guts is critical for maintaining health. When you consume food, you feed a diverse community of microorganisms that helps make the immune system healthy, protect against infection and disease, break down big food molecules into useable fuel, and even produce vitamins. Millions of non-human life forms, mostly microbes and beneficial bacteria, are found in the human gastrointestinal tract. Microbiota composition may weigh as much as five pounds and contain all the bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea that inhabit the human body. The vitality and health of plants, animals, and people rely on the presence and diversity of microorganisms in the soil and gut.

The health of all interconnected organisms depends on the health of their digestive processes. Organic substances are broken down and transformed into a new life. Through complex digestive processes in the topsoil, the soil biome nourishes a plant that is fed to animals and turns into flesh, which humans eat. Earth's ecosystem provides one organism as food to sustain another, further up the ladder.

Choose good food to nourish your body. Understand the connection between soil and your health. By walking on the Earth and feeling it through your feet, you can come to a greater appreciation of our planet's ecosystem.


"Give nature half a chance, and she has a miracle in store for everyone."

- Rosita Arvigo, Doctor of Naprapathy, ethnobotanist, spiritual healer, and co-founder of The Belize Ethnobotany Project.



© 2020 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing LLC. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment