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The Chemistry Of The Human Digestive System

1502 words - 7 pages


Throughout time there has been many intriguing questions and theories that try to decode everyday life situations. By using the study of matter, also known as chemistry, many of these questions have being answered. Chemistry is everywhere, from the mixture of different gases in the air that we breathe, to the organic substances that make such items like plastic, metals, and other substances. However, most people misunderstand the powerful process that chemistry plays in our bodies and our everyday life.
When certain food is consumed, how is it that the human body can turn this food into fuel? Thanks to the digestive system and its many organs, ...view middle of the document...

Digestion is the actual process that takes place where the mass of food you consumed goes under when going through the digestive system. Digestion is the chemical and physical breakdown of food into forms such as energy or nutrients that can be used by the body’s cells (McKenzie, 2010). This process starts in the mouth which contains a watery substance called saliva. Saliva is important to the whole process of food digestion, because not only does it help with sensing taste, but it is also made up of enzymes that break down the fats and starches in food at a molecular level. All of the food we consume goes through the esophagus, a tube where swallowed food travels down to the stomach (Columbia University, 2010).
The stomach is a muscular sac that acts as a blender and mixes food with acid, hydrochloric acid, which breaks down the swallowed chum and flushes the nutrients into the small intestine (Columbia University, 2010). The hydrochloric acid in the stomach is so powerful it can eat through a leather shoe. However, the stomach contains other chemicals, such as gastric acid, mucus and enzymes that also soften food (Sullivan, 2008). The result thus far in the process of digestion in the stomach is now called chime (Sullivan, 2008). Once the stomach has done its job digesting the food, your dinner, now chime, travels to the small intestine where the final stage of digestion takes place.
The remaining food in your body is either separated as either waste or nutrients. The nutrients are absorbed and taken in as fuel for the body while the waste enters the large intestine and passed through the rectum and anus to leave the body (Columbia University, 2010). It is amazing to know that all the food we consumed is being breaking down in our bodies by a chemical reaction that are not even aware is happening inside of us.
As we grow older, we learn that our bodies need energy to work and that we get this energy from the consumption of food we intake in our bodies. The conversion that takes place when food is turned into energy is by a reaction that takes place inside of the digestive system called metabolism. Metabolism takes place everywhere, but mainly in the stomach where it breaks down substances into smaller molecular forms, which gives the body energy (Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition, 2011). Our metabolisms are chemical reactions that are carried out through a microcellular catalyst called an enzyme. Enzymes help chemically break down large nutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates into smaller forms of amino acids, fatty acids and simple sugars (Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition, 2011). Amino acids and fatty acids that are broken down when food is consumed by our bodies is the main source we obtained our energy. The whole process starts when we eat and our metabolism breaks down the food. The amino acids and fatty acids are absorbed into the blood where once they attach to a cell, they are then able to speed up the...

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