Healthy and Slim

Perfect Body

The microbiome thread: From farm to food to h

Deep within our bodies, millions of microbes help digest our food and provide nutrients to keep us healthy.

It’s a symbiotic relationship that dates back millennia, when the first bacteria appeared on Earth 3.5 billion years ago. Ubiquitous in the soil and environment, these microbes tagged along as more complex plants and animals evolved and became an essential part of human function. In fact, the human microbiome contains more bacterial cells than actual human cells.

“Even though they’re not part of our genetics, they exist in and on us,” said Dr. Davendra Ramkumar, a Champaign gastroenterologist and Associate Professor at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (COM).

Ramkumar and his wife, Dr. Japhia Ramkumar, internist and Associate Professor at the Carle Illinois COM, have key roles in a project seed-funded by the Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (IRAI) to explore the microbiome connection from farm to food to human health. “Regenerative Agriculture and the Human Health Nexus in the Age of Climate Change” is an initiative of Basil’s Harvest, an Illinois nonprofit promoting regenerative ag and human health. The project will shed light on how regenerative farming practices lead to healthier soils and plants, which produce healthier food, which in turn influences gut health and, ultimately, overall human health. The collaboration, which includes researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Water Resources Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has received a second year of IRAI seed funding.

“There’s a movement emerging that envisions transforming our agriculture systems in order to transform our health. Regenerative agriculture is a cornerstone in this movement,” the proposal states.

How does it all connect? Bacteria in our gut microbiome survive by extracting nutrients from what we eat. In return, they provide us with vitamins, help produce hormones, and modulate our immune

Read the rest