Digestive System

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The function of the digestive system is digestion and absorption. Digestion is the breakdown of food into small molecules, which are then absorbed into the body.

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system.

The pharynx is the portion of the digestive tract that receives the food from your mouth.

Attached to the end of the pharynx is the esophagus, which carries food to the stomach, and the trachea or windpipe, which carries air to the lungs.

The stomach secretes acid and enzymes that continue the process of breaking food down.

The small intestine also breaks down food using enzymes released by the pancreas and bile from the liver.

The large intestine takes water from the chyme and returns it to your body. As your body gets back water, it leaves waste behind.

The solid waste left over when your food is digested still has some water, it also holds bacteria and fibre. When you go to the toilet, you get rid of the waste.

The liver processes the nutrients absorbed from the small intestine

The pancreas excretes enzymes to break down proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids in food.

The gallbladder secretes bile into the small intestine through the bile duct.


Explain why digestion of large food molecules is essential.

The food we eat is made up of many compounds made by other organisms which are not all fitting for human tissues, so these have to be broken down so that our bodies can use them. The food molecules have to be small enough to be absorbed in the intestine through diffusion, facilitated diffusion, or active transport. So large food molecules need to be broken down into smaller ones for absorption to take place.

Explain the need for enzymes in digestion.

Enzymes are needed in the process of digestion because they are the biological catalysts which break down the large food molecules so that these can eventually be absorbed.

Disorders in the digestive system
A common digestive problem is heartburn. Symptoms may include bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps. More than 40% of Americans suffer from heartburn pain at least one time each month. Treatment includes a combination of medication and some simple lifestyle changes.

Gallstone are a common hardened deposit in the fluid of the gallbladder. There are 3 million cases a year in the US. Symptoms can include pain in the back, between shoulder blades, side of the body, or upper-right abdomen. Treatment options include a prescription of actigal, low fat diet, seeing a radiologist or gastroenterologist