Function Of The Digestive System

Function Of The Digestive System

The function of the digestive system is to breakdown the food a person eats, so that the nutrients become available for the body. In addition, the digestive system also ensures that a person enjoys their food. Otherwise, how would you explain the salivation that occurs when a person is hungry and food is placed in front of them?

According to gastroenterologists and other experts, functioning of the digestive system occurs in 3 ways. One, the food is mechanically broken down into smaller particles. Second, the smaller particles are then chemically digested to get the molecules of the nutrients. Thirdly, the molecules are then absorbed by the lining of the gastro-intestinal tract.

The first function of mechanical breakdown of food occurs in the mouth where the teeth chew the food and break it down to smaller pieces. The food is then further broken down in the stomach. The complete digestive tract is then involved in the chemical digestion of the small food pieces and thereafter the intestine comes into act, as the absorption of nutrients occurs in the intestine.

The enzymes are responsible for chemical breakdown of food. These enzymes are primarily proteins that hasten the chemical breakdown of the food pieces into their individual nutrient molecules. The sugar and starch are broken down into their individual molecules in the mouth when they are chewed and thereafter in the intestine with the help of enzymes secreted by the pancreas. These supply energy for the entire body. Proteins are metabolized in the stomach as well as the small intestine. Again the enzymes for the break down are secreted by the pancreas. The protein molecules are used for production of cells in the body. The fats are metabolized by the bile secreted by the gallbladder and breakdown occurs in the small intestine. While the fiber remains undigested and moves through the digestive system into the colon, where it forms the bulk in the stool.

The movement of food in the digestive system starts from the mouth. The chewing action facilitates the movement of food into the esophagus that connects the mouth and stomach. From the esophagus, the food slides down to the stomach where further grinding occurs. This breaking down of food takes hours. Once the food is broken down, it is pushed into the small intestine where the nutrients are absorbed. The remainder of the food then moves to the large intestine and colon where certain minerals and water are absorbed. The remainder is eliminated out of the body via the rectum.

The process of digestion varies from one person to the next. The passage of food from the stomach to the intestine takes a few hours and after around 12 hours, the food reaches the large intestine from where it is eliminated out of the body. The function of the digestive system is to ensure that the body gets the required nutrients.

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