Digestive System Facts

Digestive System Facts
The human digestive system consists of several organs responsible for the conversion of nutrients into the body, and for ridding the body of waste. It begins in the mouth where the salivary glands produce salvia to break down food. The digestive system also includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. Each of these organs plays an important role in the digestion of food. The digestive system is also often referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract. In the human body, the entire digestive system is approximately 30 feet long.
Interesting Digestive System Facts:
The mouth is where digestion begins. The salivary glands produce saliva even from the smell of food.
Saliva contains an enzyme called salivary amylase which breaks down the starch in food. Saliva also makes it easier for the food to be swallowed once it has been chewed.
Once swallowed, food passes through the esophagus, becoming a small round ball. At this point the process of digestions becomes involuntary. The digestive system essentially 'takes it from here'.
As food leaves the esophagus small muscular contractions help the food to continue its journey. These contractions are called peristalsis. The food then lands in the stomach.
In the stomach, pepsin and hydrochloric acid begin to break down proteins in food and also (tries to) kill off any dangerous bacteria in food.
IN the stomach food becomes a paste called chyme. The pyloric sphincter valve at the bottom of the stomach opens and allows the chyme to enter the duodenum.
In the duodenum the chyme gets mixed with bile from the gallbladder and enzymes from the pancreas. It moves on to the small intestine.
The small intestine is approximately 20 feet long. It's in the small intestine where most of the nutrients from the food will be absorbed. As nutrients leave the small intestine they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
The nutrients in the bloodstream are absorbed by the liver and changed into glycogen and proteins and sent back into the bloodstream. Unwanted waste is filtered in the liver and passed from the body as waste.
Any material left from the small intestine is passed into the large intestine. The large intestine is approximately five feet long. Indigestible matter is fermented and stored here. The large intestine is also referred to as the colon.
The matter in the large intestine becomes feces as it ferments and some water is absorbed back into the body.
At the end of the digestive system is the rectum and anus, where waste from the body is pushed out.
When problems in the digestive system occur a person can suffer from a variety of illnesses and symptoms including pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, heartburn, trouble swallowing, nausea, and vomiting.
Research is beginning to prove that the bacteria in the intestines are extremely important to human health. An overgrowth of the wrong type of bacteria can lead to a variety of health issues, even those that do not seem like they are related to the digestive system at all.

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