The Digestive System

Yessenia C.

The digestive system is a group of organs working together to break down food and turn their nutrients into energy. There are 5 organs in the digestive system and 3 accessory organs. There are 2 types of digestion; mechanical and chemical. Here is a little bit more about the digestive system...

Mouth

Digestion all starts in the mouth. Food is broken down by your teeth mechanically and saliva helps to break it down. Before you swallow, the tongue helps form food into a bolus and once the food is swallowed, peristalsis, which are wave-like contractions, help move the food down the esophagus.

Esophagus

The esophagus is a muscular tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach. Peristalsis actually begins here, in the alimentary canal, and the contractions are so strong that you can even eat upside down! (Although not recommended).
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Stomach

After the esophagus, the food enters the stomach through the cardiac sphincter. The stomach produces gastric juices which aid in the digestive process. Muscle layers in your stomach create a churning motion to help break down food. The stomach links together the esophagus and the small intestines together, which is the next phase in the digestive process.

Small Intestines

In the small intestines, chemical digestion begins and absorption occurs. The main function of the small intestines is to absorb the nutrients and minerals from food and releases it back into the bloodstream to be distributed throughout the body.
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Large Intestines and Anus

The large intestines is where water is reabsorbed and feces is formed. It also gets rid of all the food the body can't use.


The waste is solidified and prepared for excretion through the anus.

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Accessory Organs

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Liver

The liver is the largest internal organ and has many jobs. It filters and processes the blood for toxins, produces bile, which is a chemical that helps emulsify the food, and converts carbohydrates into glycogen, and glycogen into fat.

Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a very small organ located behind the liver and it stores the excess bile that is made in the liver. When meals high in fat are consumed, the bile from the gallbladder is released which helps break down and emulsify that fat.


You are able to live without your gallbladder, however, a modified diet is highly recommended, or needed, while your body gets used to living without the gallbladder,

Pancreas

The pancreas is actually a gland located behind the stomach that has 2 main functions. It produces and secretes sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes stomach acids and produces insulin.


Insulin is a hormone that changes glucose into glycogen. When your body doesn't produce/release enough insulin, your body can't handle the glucose making your blood sugar high, which can cause diabetes.


There is type I and type ll diabetes. Type l is when almost no insulin is produced and insulin shots are needed. There is also no cure for this and it is very hard to control.

Type ll is when your body is not producing enough insulin, or you are insulin resistant. This one however, can be controlled by a healthy diet and exercise.