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Digestive System

Ingestion, Digestion In The Stomach, Gastric Juice, Alexis St. Martin's Stomach

The digestive system is a group of organs responsible for the conversion of food into absorbable chemicals which are then used to provide energy for growth and repair. The digestive system is also known by a number of other names, including the gut, the digestive tube, the alimentary canal, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the intestinal tract, and the intestinal tube. The digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines, along with several glands, such as the salivary glands, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas. These glands secrete digestive juices containing enzymes that break down the food chemically into smaller, more absorbable molecules. In addition to providing the body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function, the digestive system also separates and disposes of waste products ingested with the food.

Food is moved through the alimentary canal by a wavelike muscular motion known as peristalsis, which consists of the alternate contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles lining the tract. In this way, food is passed through the gut in much the same manner as toothpaste is squeezed from a tube. Churning is another type of movement that takes place in the stomach and small intestine, which mixes the food so that the digestive enzymes can break down the food molecules.

Food in the human diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The remainder of the food is fiber and water. The majority of minerals and vitamins pass through to the bloodstream without the need for further digestive changes, but other nutrient molecules must be broken down to simpler substances before they can be absorbed and used.


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