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Digestive System Essay

1628 words - 7 pages

How is it so that something as simple as a piece of steak can be turned into fuel for our bodies once it is consumed? It happens through this one system with many functioning parts known as the digestive system. When it comes to the human body the digestive system is very important. It gives our bodies the ability to process foods, extract the nutrients we need from the foods, and eliminate the wastes (smartlivingnetwork). Without these abilities our bodies wouldn’t be able to function. So what is the digestive system exactly? It is a complex series of organs that processes the food we eat. Altogether this system is about 6-9 meters of muscular tubes running from the mouth to the anus. According to Robert Sullivan, the organs of this system are based on the process of turning food, absorbing nutrients for energy, and getting rid of body wastes (Sullivan, 2008). The digestive system consists of the following: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, large intestine, rectum, and anus (slideshare).

Types of Digestion
There are 2 different types of digestion: chemical digestion and mechanical digestion (slideshare).
Mechanical digestion is simply digestion that is achieved through a movement, or mechanism (stek). There are 2 types of this: mastication and peristalsis. The first step of digestion takes place in the mouth. Mastication, or chewing, begins the process of breaking down food into nutrients. This is important because smaller pieces of food are more readily digested through chemical digestion (Coulter, 2010). The second type, peristalsis, is just the involuntary contractions responsible for the movement of food through the esophagus and intestinal tracts.
Chemical digestion is done with the use of chemicals to the food we consume (Coulter, 2010). Digestive enzymes and water are responsible for the breakdown of complex molecules such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into smaller molecules. These digestive enzymes accelerate the digestive process (mcat). There are 8 known digestive enzymes responsible for chemical digestion: nuclease, protease, amylase, trypsin, lipase, collagenase, elastase, and chymotrypsin. Nucleases are enzymes that split nucleic acids into nucleotides and other products. Protease is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins. Amylase is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis if starch to sugar to produce carbohydrate derivatives. Trypsin is an enzyme produced by the exocrine pancreas that catalyzes in the small intestine the breakdown of dietary proteins to peptones, peptides, and amino acids. Lipase is an enzyme that splits the fatty acid residue from the glycerol residue in a phospholipid. Collagenase catalyzes the hydrolysis of collagen and gelatin. Elastase catalyzes the digestion of elastic tissue. Chymotrypsin catalyzes the hydrolysis if casein and gelatin.
The Process of the Digestive System
This complicated process begins in the mouth as soon as you...

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