The Function of the Digestive System

The digestive system consists of a number of organs that each have their own function – the mouth for chewing food, esophagus, stomach for production of gastric acid, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, small and large intestine for expelling waste along with colon and the rectum. The primary functions of our digestive systems are to break down and resolve the food we take in into smaller pieces that the body is able to absorb and use. The digestive regime of the body has a whole array of functions in order to accomplish the optimal nutritional value for our bodies to use. As a person eats, the food moves from the mouth down to the digestive tract where it gets processed. You can imagine your digestive system as a long, flexible tube that runs from your mouth to anus, with each of the walls of the different organs using muscles that help to move food and liquid through the system, thus getting processed.

The Production and Absorption Of Nutrients

The digestive tract consists of different glands that produce enzymes to help improve digestion. Salivary glands in the mouth produce saliva that already begins to break down food into smaller bits. The stomach produces gastric acid whose function is to break down proteins. Once the food reaches the small intestine, a variety of digestive juices produced by the pancreas and liver allow for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The absorption of nutrients takes place in the small intestine, by using small finger-like projections called villi. Their presence allows for more nutrients to be absorbed into the body.

The stomach and small intestine also produce hormones that control the functions of the digestive system. Gastrin triggers the production of gastric acid and is necessary for the growth of cells in the lining of the small intestine, stomach, and colon. Secretin communicates with the pancreas in order to send digestive juices with bicarbonate to the stomach (this helps to neutralize acid in the stomach). Additional hormones produced by the digestive system are cholecystokinin, ghrelin, and peptide.

Functions of Digestion

Digestion is a complicated process of converting the food we eat into nutrients our body uses for fuel, energy and cell regeneration and growth. Digestion also includes the collection and elimination of waste. The gastrointestinal tract is the long twisted tube that begins in the mouth and ends at the anus. It consists of a series of muscles and organs that coordinate and controls the movement of nutrients and other cells that produce enzymes and hormones necessary for healthy digestion.

The mouth produces saliva and is responsible for chewing. Gorge is the part of the system that receives food from the mouth, which then travels down the esophagus and into the stomach. A stomach is basically a churning machine that deposits acids and enzymes required for food digestion. The next step is the small intestine and colon that connects it to the rectum. The colon is a long tube and consists of the appendix, the ascending intestine and downstream hose. The rectum connects the colon and anus, which is the last part of the digestive system – it consists of muscles that enable us to expel waste.

That’s a quick trip down your digestive system top to tail!