|The Digestive System Explained
Reprinted fromNature's Field
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Digestive System Overview
contain three types of nutrients necessary to human functioning:
Symptoms of inadequate nutrition or deficiency begin subtly, growing into our awareness when abuses of the system begin to cause major symptoms. And even then we rarely change our eating/drinking behaviors until discomfort or illness forces us to do so. Dental hygiene in advertising promotes sex appeal, not dental health. Many folks pay little attention to their teeth unless they hurt, not realizing poor tooth care leads to tooth loss, which sorely impairs nutrition. If you can't chew, physically grinding foods and mixing them with enzymes in the mouth, the rest of the system has to work that much harder. Since each part of the system performs a vital part, missing any part makes digestion less efficient.
Digestion actually can begin before any food has been ingested. Think
of that wonderful smell of bread baking that makes your mouth water. Your
digestive system has been activated, and the various organs and glands are
busy pumping enzymes into the system. Salivary amylase is being secreted
in the saliva, to begin carbohydrate digestion right there in the mouth. The
actual gastric phase of digestion occurs when food actually gets into the
stomach. The presence of food triggers the release of gastrin from the
stomach wall, which in turn stimulates the release of other digestive juices.
Proteins, some spices, alcohol and caffeine additionally stimulate the
release of gastrin in the stomach.
At virtually the same geographical location as the pancreatic duct, is the intersection of the duodenum with the common bile duct from gallbladder and liver. These organs pump in bile salts and other substances to emulsify fats so they can be digested and their nutrients used more efficiently. The duodenum, jejunum an dileum which comprise the small intestine total about 20 feet in length. The inner wall of the small intestine has minuscule projections known as villi, which serve both to mix the chyme with more digestive enzymes, and to absorb the resulting nutrients. With its huge surface area (due to villi), the small intestine is the largest organ of absorption in the entire digestive tract. But absorption of nutrients is only part of the small intestine's work. In addition, the villi are also responsible for absorbing electrolytes and some water to balance the body's systems. Once the mash reaches the ileocecal valve and moves into the colon or large intestine, digestion is completed, and the mass is predominately waste, from which much of the water will be recycled and reabsorbed.
Ills and Ailments
Reflux, a condition in which stomach contents and acid push back into
the esophagus (and sometimes leak into the trachea) is common in those
persons with hiatus hernia. This is the sliding of an organ or part (usually
stomach) between chest and abdomen through the opening for the esophagus.
Occasionally the part becomes trapped and exceedingly painful.
Since the mucous lining of the esophagus isn't designed to handle high acid
conditions, problems such as ulceration can occur at the juncture between.
were imposed and physicians wondered why patients were non compliant.
Now there is genetic evidence H. pylori, which thrives in stomach acid,
infects about half the world's population, and is considered responsible for
most cases of peptic (duodenal) ulcers and many of the gastric variety.
Treatment will undoubtedly include antibiotic therapy to rid the body of the
invader. More important will be determining how we contract the entity and
possibly breaking that cycle of infection.
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