Nutrients are chemical compounds in food needed by the body for healthy growth and development. Food is digested and broken down into parts to be used by the body. The extracted nutrients from the digested food are absorbed from the cavity of the small intestine for the body to be used. This article discusses how the various nutrients are absorbed by the organs in the body. But before we delve into the subject, let quickly look at how our digestive system work.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AND HOW IT WORKS.
Digestion is the chemical breakdown of larger food particles into smaller particles for them to be absorbed by the cells in the body.
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal(GI) tract which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The GI tract is a continuation of hollow organs merged in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are parts of the organs of the digestive system.
Moving on, digestion is important because your body needs nutrients from food to work appropriately and stay healthy. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water are all nutrients derived from food. The nutrients absorbed by the body are used for energy, growth, and cell repair.
THE PROCESS OF DIGESTION.
Food moves through our tract by a process called peristalsis. However, peristalsis is the involuntary compression upholding along the walls of a hollow muscular structure like the esophagus which moves food along the digestive tract.
The hollow organs of the GI tract include a layer of muscle that allows their walls to move. The movement pushes food through the GI tract and blends the contents within each organ. The muscle behind the food contracts and pinches the food forward, while the muscle in front of the food relaxes to allow the food to move.
SUMMARY OF THE PROCESS OF DIGESTION.
DIGESTIVE ORGANS AND THEIR ACTIVITIES
The digestive process starts from the mouth when you chew.
peristaltic begins from the esophagus.
The stomach muscles mix the food and liquid with digestive juices and gradually empty its contents into your small intestine.
The small intestine makes digestive juice, which mixes with bile and pancreatic juice to complete the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
The pancreas delivers the digestive juice to the small intestine through small tubes called ducts.
The liver makes bile that help digest fats and vitamins
The large intestine absorbs water and changes the waste from a liquid into the stool
The rectum stores stool until it pushes the stool out of the anus
Moving on to the subject under discussion, how the nutrients interact with the digestive system and help in the functioning of the human body.
THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS AND HOW THEY ARE ABSORBED.
WATER AND SALT.
A lot of nutrients absorbed from the small intestine is water in which salt is dissolved. The salt and water come from the food we eat and the juices secreted by the digestive glands. It is known that a gallon of water containing salt is absorbed from the intestine every day.
After food is eaten and swallowed, it travels into your stomach where hydrochloric acid and enzymes break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. After that, the digestive system extracts the minerals and vitamins in the digested food, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. These nutrients are transmitted to the cells, which then absorb the ones they need.
Fat molecules are a rich source of energy for the body. The first step in the digestion of fat-like butter is to dissolve in the water content of the intestine. The bile in the liver produces an acid that serves as a natural to dissolve the fat in the fluid of the intestine and allows the enzymes to break the fat molecules into smaller molecules, some of which are fatty acids and cholesterol.
Meat, eggs, and beans consist of large molecules of protein that are digested by enzymes before they can be used to build and repair body tissues. An enzyme in the fluid of the stomach starts the digestion when protein is eaten.
Extra digestion of the protein is obtained in the small intestine. Here, different enzymes from the pancreatic juice and the lining of the intestine carry out the breakdown of larger protein molecules into small molecules called amino acids. These small molecules can be absorbed from the hollow of the small intestine and then be transmitted to all parts of the body.
Some of our most common foods contain mostly carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, pastries, rice, spaghetti, and some vegetables. Many of these foods contain both starch, which can be digested and fiber, which the body cannot digest.
The digestible carbohydrates are broken into simpler molecules by enzymes in the saliva, the pancreatic juice, and the lining of the small intestine. Starch is digested in two steps: First, an enzyme in the saliva and pancreatic juice breaks the starch into molecules called maltose; then an enzyme in the lining of the small intestine divides the maltose into glucose molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose is carried through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is used to deliver energy for the body.
HOW THE BODY CONTROL DIGESTION.
Our hormones and nerves work together to help control the digestive process.
Cells in our stomach and small intestine produce and discharge hormones that control how our digestive system works. These hormones instruct the body when to make digestive juices and bring signals to the brain if you are full or hungry. Also, the pancreas creates hormones that are essential to digestion.
Two types of nerves help to control the action of the digestive system. They release a chemical called acetylcholine and adrenaline. Acetylcholine causes the muscle of the digestive organs to squeeze and push food and juice through the digestive tract. Acetylcholine also causes the stomach and pancreas to produce more digestive juice. Adrenaline relaxes the muscle of the stomach and intestine and decreases the flow of blood to these organs.
More importantly, the two types of nerves are intrinsic (inside) nerves and extrinsic( outside) nerves.
The inside nerve makes up a very thick structure rooted in the walls of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. The intrinsic nerves are triggered to act when the walls of the hollow organs are stretched by food. They release many different substances that speed up or delay the movement of food and the production of juices by the digestive organs.
"Your Digestive System & How it Works | NIDDK" https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
"Nutrient Absorption in the Digestive System" https://www.thoughtco.com/digestive-system-nutrient-absorption-
Lambda Stories Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.