The digestive system is comprised of a gastrointestinal tract which is a muscular tube extending from the mouth to the anus including organs of the pharynx; oesophagus; stomach; small intestine; large intestine and accessory organs of the liver; gallbladder and pancreas that form secretions for digestion.
The digestive system plays a role in the process of mechanically and biochemically breaking down foods to extract nutrients for absorption into the body through the gastrointestinal tract to support vital bodily functions.
Mechanical Process of Digestion and Absorption
Digestive Enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down foods enabling the nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream for use in various bodily functions and movements.
There are three types of Digestive Enzymes they are:
These enzymes break down food particles for energy and storage in liver and muscles. The breakdown chemical reaction is known as Hydrolysis. It requires water to separate the bonds to convert food to energy. Energy that is stored is converted by other enzymes that the body can use when required.
The digestive system plays an integral role in relation to the body’s defences and immune system homeostasis by preventing exposure to pathogens in foods consumed by the secretion of liposomes in saliva which breaks down bacterial cells and the stomach acid provides defence as bacteria do not survive well in low acidity. The mucosal membranes of the gastrointestinal tract provide a protective barrier to further prevent exposure to pathogens.
Disease in any of the organs can affect the digestive system and thus the ability of the digestive system to break down food for energy.
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