Protective Factors

During digestion in the stomach, large proteins break down into smaller protein forms, and harmful bacteria can become inactive. Hydrochloric acid is especially important for this because it lowers the pH of the stomach contents below 2. Along with the uncoiling of protein in the stomach, a little carbohydrate and lipid are broken down with the help of enzymes (called amylase and lipase, respectively).

In the stomach, carbohydrates in foods turn to starch, but it is not until the chyme reaches the small intestine and becomes more neutralized that starch turns to simple sugars that are then absorbed into the portal vein, which transports them to the liver. Also in the small intestine, lipids (mostly in the form of triglycerides) are emulsified and form monoglycerides and free fatty acids that can then go through the lymph system to the heart and bloodstream.

As previously mentioned, the mouth, stomach, small intestine, and colon are the major organs of digestion. However, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas are also important to the process. The liver detoxifies foreign compounds, such as natural toxicants in foods and drugs. The liver also makes bile, an emulsifier, which enters the small intestine and prepares fats and oils for digestion. This bile is stored in the gallbladder prior to delivery to the small intestine. A hormone called cholecystokinin helps control the release of bile.

The pancreas makes pancreatic juice consisting of enzymes (amylases, lipases, and proteases) and bicarbonate, which helps neutralize acidic secretions produced during digestion. The pancreas delivers the pancreatic juice to the small intestine, in response to a signal of food in the intestine and the release of the hormone secretin. The pancreas also has another function, the secretion of the hormones insulin and glucagon, which helps maintain a steady state of blood sugar in the body (insulin decreases blood glucose concentration, while glucagon increases it).

Food moves from the mouth to the epiglottis, bypassing the trachea, into the esophagus, past the cardiac sphincter into the stomach, past the pyloric valve into the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum), and then

The tract running from the esophagus to the large intestine is called the alimentary canal, and it is where most digestion occurs. As food is pushed through the system, it encounters numerous specialized processes that act on it in different ways, extracting nutrients and rejecting waste. [Illustration by Argosy. The Gale Group.]

past the ileocecal valve into the colon. Waste then leaves the colon through the rectum and anus. When chyme reaches the small intestine, the pancreas and liver contribute to the digestion by providing products such as bicarbonate, enzymes, and bile.

molecule: combination of atoms that form stable particles gastrointestinal: related to the stomach and intestines vitamin: necessary complex nutrient used to aid enzymes or other metabolic processes in the cell energy: technically, the ability to perform work; the content of a substance that allows it to be useful as a fuel lactose intolerance: inability to digest lactose, or milk sugar allergy: immune system reaction against substances that are otherwise harmless amino acid: building block of proteins, necessary dietary nutrient lipid: fats, waxes, and steroids; important components of cell membranes gastric: related to the stomach ulcer: erosion in the lining of the stomach or intestine due to bacterial infection nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that extend throughout the body stress: heightened state of nervousness or unease water-soluble: able to be dissolved in water lymphatic system: group of ducts and nodes through which fluid and white blood cells circulate to fight infection

Supplements For Diabetics

Supplements For Diabetics

All you need is a proper diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise and you'll be fine. Ever heard those words from your doctor? If that's all heshe recommends then you're missing out an important ingredient for health that he's not telling you. Fact is that you can adhere to the strictest diet, watch everything you eat and get the exercise of amarathon runner and still come down with diabetic complications. Diet, exercise and standard drug treatments simply aren't enough to help keep your diabetes under control.

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