The Anatomy of Human Digestive System - Term Paper Example

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Digestion is the process wherein food is mechanically and chemically breaks down into smaller pieces small enough to be utilized and absorb by the body. The human digestive system beginsfrom the mouth, passed through the esophagus, stomach, and the intestinesup to the anus for elimination. …
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The Anatomy of Human Digestive System
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Digestion starts with the processing of food mechanically in the mouth. Food is crashed and grounded by teeth, the process is called mastication. This increases the surface area that makes it easier for enzymes to break it down further. Enzymes from the saliva also help to soften the food and breaks down carbohydrates molecules. Partially digested food is then transferred to the pharynx or throat. Pharynx is a common path for air and food. The two leading tubes are the esophagus that leads to the stomach and trachea or windpipe that leads to lungs. The epiglottis is a cartilage tissue that regulates the passage of either food or air. This prevents entrance of solid particles to the lungs. Food is transferred to the stomach through peristalsis. Peristalsis is a series of involuntary wave-like muscle contractions which food move along the digestive tract. The stomach serves as a mixer and grinder of the food. It is the main digestion organ that releases powerful enzymes and strong acids that further break down particulates to compounds the body can able to assimilate. Carbohydrates are converted to simple sugars, proteins are broken down into its component amino acids and lipids are degraded to monoglycerides and fatty acids. Digested food is then transferred to the small intestine that breaks down food using enzymes secreted by the liver and pancreas. While in here, nutrients are absorb through the walls and into the bloodstream. Next stage is the large intestine or colon thatextracts water to form feces. It is then deposited into the rectum to be eliminated in the anus. The Human Digestive System Food travels from the mouth, passing the esophagus and into the stomach. This would take 5 to 10 minutes. Food is then stored in 2 to 6 hours inside the stomach for partial digestion.Final digestion and nutrient absorption occur in the small intestine over a period of 5 to 6 hours. In 12 to 24 hours, any undigested material passes through the large intestine, and feces are expelled through the anus. Digestive System Organization Gastrointestinal tract (Alimentary Canal) Gastrointestinal tract is 5 to 10 meters of tube like structure that extends from the mouth up to the anus. It is divided into upper and lower portion. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Lower gastrointestinal tract is composed primarily of small and large intestines. Intestine is also subdivided into parts, depending on its role in the digestive system. The Small intestine is divided into three parts: duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Duodenum is the portion directly after the stomach. Here, enzymes from the pancreas and gall bladder mix together. The digestive enzymes from the pancreas degrade proteins and bile (from gall bladder) serves as fat emulsifier. Jejunum is the middle portion of the small intestine. It contains plicae circulates and villi that increases the surface area of digested food. Ileum is the last part the serves as absorption potion. With the aid of villi and microvilli, it absorbs nutrient directly to the blood stream. The large intestine also has three parts: cecum, colon and rectum. Cecum is a pouch like structure that connects the ileum to the colon. Absorption of water is the main function of colon. Bacteria lives inside the colon that produces vitamins like vitamin K. Last part is the rectum that serves as repository of feces that is later eliminated in the anus. Accessory structures Accessory structures consist of parts that are not connected in the tube path of gastro intestinal tract. It is composed of digestive organs like the teeth, tongue, salivary glands, liver, gall bladder and pancreas. Most of these organs secrete enzymes and substances Read More
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