Digestion and Absorption

Digestion and Absorption

        Our  digestive system, also known as the gastrointestinal tract runs from the mouth to the anus. It consists of a group of organs that work together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the entire body ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body).  The food travels through the entire GI tract which is consist of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. Our bodies have accessory organs that assist in the breakdown of food and nutrients. These accessory organs include the teeth, tongue, salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

        Digestion starts at the mouth, here our teeth cut or chop food into smaller pieces, and are then moistened by the saliva, and the tongue then pushes the food into the pharynx ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body).  The pharynx is in charge of  passing amounts of chewed up food to the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects the pharynx to the stomach and carries food to the stomach. It has a sphincter ( cardiac or esophageal sphincter) that serves as a trap door to keep food in the stomach ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body).  Food is then stored in the stomach, which is located in the left side of the abdomen. The stomach contains acid and digestive enzymes that continue the digestion of food that began in the mouth ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body).  The small intestine is located just inferior to the stomach, full of ridges and folds used to increase the digestion process of food and absorption of nutrients. About 90% of all nutrients have been taking out of the food that entered it from the mouth. The liver and gallbladder, known as accessory organs, located to the right of the stomach also aid in digestion by producing bile and secretion in the small intestine. The gallbladder stores and recycles excess bile to be reused in  the digestion of other meals ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body). 

The pancreas is located in the back of the stomach. This organ secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to completes the chemical part of digestion.  The large intestine located inferior to the stomach and absorbs water. It contains  bacteria that assist in breaking down of wastes and separate small amounts of nutrients ( n.d.Taylor, Inner Body).  Feces is excreted out of the body by way of the anal canal.

        The six primary processes of the digestive system include ingestion, secretion of fluids and digestive enzymes, mixing and movement, digestion, absorption and excretion. Peristalsis is the process by which food moves through the GI tract (2017, Digestive System). Food of choice to describe this digestion would be a bagel with butter which is a carbohydrate, starch. Mechanical digestion starts at the mouth when we start chewing our food and the chemicals in the saliva breakdown the food into small portions (2010, Mechanical and Chemical Digestion). The more I chew the better the aid is digestion. Carbohydrates are broken during this period. yet fiber is indigestible. Pushed through the esophagus through involuntary movement called peristalsis, food enters the stomach. The stomach mixes and grinds, mechanically digesting  the food and the acids and enzymes work to chemically digest (2010, Mechanical and Chemical Digestion). Digestion of protein happens in our stomach with the aid of gastric juices. Now it has entered the small intestine in a liquefied form to be processed chemically by the bile in the liver through peristalsis just like in the esophagus. This is when we receive the nutrients in our bodies from the blood (2010, Mechanical and Chemical Digestion). Thee colon now removes liquid from the non-nutritive food waste until it becomes solid and ready for excretion (2010, Mechanical and Chemical Digestion). The whole digestion process of my bagel takes about 36 hours.

        There are some conditions and digestive disorders that can be in associated with certain foods. One disorder is heartburn, which is a burning feeling in the chest which is  caused by backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus triggered by spicy foods or foods in high acidic content (2016, Digestive Disorders). Things to help and treat heart burn include antacids which is a medication that works directly neutralizing acid in the stomach. Acid reducers reduce the acid output of the stomach; effective for treating severe, persistent forms of heartburn but not for neutralizing acid already present (2016, Digestive Disorders). Ulcers of the digestive tract are usually found in the esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine. Commonly caused by the  H. pylori bacteria and  frequent use of certain painkillers Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a severe disorder when stomach acid and enzymes come up into the esophagus, throat, mouth, or airway that causes injury to those organs. If left untreated, GERD may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Foods that often contribute to GERD are tomatoes, citrus foods and drinks (2016, Digestive Disorders). Treatment might  require surgery but mostly consists of  management with medication. Constipation is difficulty in moving your bowels caused by poor diet, inactivity, dehydration, or medications like narcotics. Another disorder is hemorrhoids, which is swollen rectal veins most likely caused by hard stools and pushing during constipation. Diarrhea is frequent, watery stool caused by greasy diets, stress and irritation of the colon (2016, Digestive Disorder). .  Severe diarrhea for a long time, flushes away body of fluid and certain minerals, causing dehydration and imbalances that can be dangerous if left untreated.

        There are many digestive disorders caused by foods that are more frequent and known, such as vomiting, diarrhea that usually indicates a GI problem whether we ate too much or too little of the wrong foods. It is important to incorporate a healthy well-balanced diet to avoid some of these disorders, while keeping healthy flora in our digestive tracts that will continue to help with ingestion and elimination.

References:

  1. (2016, July 28). Retrieved June 26, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXE5ZW0NKpk
  2. Digestive System | Everything You Need to Know, Including Pictures. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.innerbody.com/image/digeov.html
  3. (2010, April 06). Mechanical and Chemical Digestion. Retrieved from https://www.smartlivingnetwork.com/digestive/b/mechanical-and-chemical-digestion/
  4. Your Digestive System & How it Works. (2017, December 01). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
  5. (2015, September 22). Retrieved June 26, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGme7BRkpuQ
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