Digestive Health Basics

Digestive System Physiology

Gastrointestinal System
Complete the Organize Organs activity. The waste that is left over will exit the body from the colon by means of peristalsis, which are contractions that move the waste to the anal canal. It passes through the esophagus until it reaches the stomach. How Your Digestive System Works. From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Can you guess where it ends up? Open the Virtual Body Tour on the digestive system.

Introduction to Digestive System:

Your Digestive System

These folds are used to maximize the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. The liver is a roughly triangular accessory organ of the digestive system located to the right of the stomach, just inferior to the diaphragm and superior to the small intestine. The liver weighs about 3 pounds and is the second largest organ in the body. The liver has many different functions in the body, but the main function of the liver in digestion is the production of bile and its secretion into the small intestine.

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located just posterior to the liver. The gallbladder is used to store and recycle excess bile from the small intestine so that it can be reused for the digestion of subsequent meals. The pancreas is a large gland located just inferior and posterior to the stomach. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to complete the chemical digestion of foods.

The large intestine is a long, thick tube about 2. It is located just inferior to the stomach and wraps around the superior and lateral border of the small intestine. The large intestine absorbs water and contains many symbiotic bacteria that aid in the breaking down of wastes to extract some small amounts of nutrients.

Feces in the large intestine exit the body through the anal canal. The digestive system is responsible for taking whole foods and turning them into energy and nutrients to allow the body to function, grow, and repair itself. The six primary processes of the digestive system include:. The first function of the digestive system is ingestion, or the intake of food. The mouth is responsible for this function, as it is the orifice through which all food enters the body.

The mouth and stomach are also responsible for the storage of food as it is waiting to be digested. This storage capacity allows the body to eat only a few times each day and to ingest more food than it can process at one time.

In the course of a day, the digestive system secretes around 7 liters of fluids. These fluids include saliva, mucus, hydrochloric acid, enzymes, and bile. Saliva moistens dry food and contains salivary amylase, a digestive enzyme that begins the digestion of carbohydrates.

Mucus serves as a protective barrier and lubricant inside of the GI tract. Hydrochloric acid helps to digest food chemically and protects the body by killing bacteria present in our food. Enzymes are like tiny biochemical machines that disassemble large macromolecules like proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids into their smaller components. Finally, bile is used to emulsify large masses of lipids into tiny globules for easy digestion. Digestion is the process of turning large pieces of food into its component chemicals.

Mechanical digestion is the physical breakdown of large pieces of food into smaller pieces. This mode of digestion begins with the chewing of food by the teeth and is continued through the muscular mixing of food by the stomach and intestines. Bile produced by the liver is also used to mechanically break fats into smaller globules. While food is being mechanically digested it is also being chemically digested as larger and more complex molecules are being broken down into smaller molecules that are easier to absorb.

Chemical digestion begins in the mouth with salivary amylase in saliva splitting complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates. The enzymes and acid in the stomach continue chemical digestion, but the bulk of chemical digestion takes place in the small intestine thanks to the action of the pancreas. The pancreas secretes an incredibly strong digestive cocktail known as pancreatic juice, which is capable of digesting lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids. By the time food has left the duodenum , it has been reduced to its chemical building blocks—fatty acids, amino acids, monosaccharides, and nucleotides.

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