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Digestion System - overview

Digestion

So let’s talk about digestion, the gastrointestinal tract starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. Chemical and mechanical processing starts in the mouth with mastication and release of saliva. The food then travels through the oesphagus into the stomach passing through the oesphageal sphincter.

Once in the stomach the food is further broken down by the action of the stomach muscles which turns the food into a soupy liquid called chyme. Hydrochloric acid (HCL) is released from the parietal cells of the stomach lining. HCL is extremely important for the activation of pepsin, an enzyme which assists in the breakdown of protein molecules into amino acids.


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 HCL also kills any microbes that may have been in the food, in essence sterilizing it. Hydrochloric acid is also necessary for the production of intrinsic factor which is required for B12 absorption.HCL also kills any microbes that may have been in the food, in essence sterilizing it. Hydrochloric acid is also necessary for the production of intrinsic factor which is required for B12 absorption.

The contents of the stomach move into the small intestine, this is where the majority of digestion and absorption occurs. As digestive enzymes break the chemical bonds, gas results and queues in the lower bowel for release, about 14 times daily on average. Of the three nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) carbohydrates are the most effective gas producers. If we digest carbohydrates properly only a little gas is formed. About half of us are not “good digesters” and have 200-odd bacteria waiting to do the job for us –at a cost: Gas Production.

 The small intestine consists of three parts the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Bile and pancreatic juices containing digestive enzymes are added to the digestive mixture in the duodenum. Fats, starches and protein are further broken down and absorbed in the Jejunum.  In the Ileum, water is absorbed with calcium, other minerals, and vitamins including B12 . Bile is also reabsorbed to be recycled in the body.

The contents of the gut then moves into the colon, where it is concentrated and compacted. The solid mass then moves into the rectum, which gives rise to the sensation that we need to move our bowels.

Learn About Digestive Enzymes- click here