Digestive System
· Location of the digestive system- The digestive system is essentially a long, twisting tube that runs from the mouth to the anus, plus a few other organs (like the liver and pancreas) that produce or store digestive chemicals.

· Role of the digestive system- The digestive system is a collection of organs that work together to digest and absorb food. Digestion is the process the body uses to break down foods into molecules that the body can use for energy and nutrients.
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Organs that make up the digestive system-

o Mouth- chews food to reduce it to smaller particles, mixes the pieces with saliva, and senses the taste of the foods.

o Esophagus- connects the mouth with the stomach. Nerve fibers advise the digestive tract that food has been consumed, resulting in peristalsis. Continual waves of muscle contractions, followed by muscle relaxation, force the food down the digestive tract from the esophagus onward. The lower esophageal sphincter constricts after food enters the stomach. The sphincter prevents the backflow of GI tract contents (acid reflux).

o Stomach- food is mixed with gastric juice, which contains water, a very strong acid, and enzymes. The acid maintains stomach acidity, destroying the biological activity of proteins, converting inactive digestive enzymes to their active form, partially digesting food protein, and making dietary minerals soluble. The mixing action produces chyme, a watery food mixture which moves to the small intestine a little at a time.
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o Small Intestine- completes the digestion and absorption of food. Chyme from the stomach moves through the small intestine by peristaltic contractions and is well mixed with the digestive juices. The small intestine lining is folded many times, in the folds are fingerlike projections called villi. Each individual willus has many absorptive cells.

o Large Intestine- has no villi or human digestive enzymes. The large intestine is able to absorb water, some vitamins, some fatty acids, and the minerals sodium and potassium. The large intestine has a number of mucus-producing cells. The mucus secreted by these cells helps to hold the feces together. The large intestine also has a large bacteria population.

o Anus - the opening at the end of the digestive system from which feces (waste) exits the body.

Organs that help with digestion but are not part of the digestive tract
o Teeth- Digestion starts here. The job of the teeth is to start tearing and crushing the food down into small enough pieces so that it can fit down our throats.

o Salivary Glands- produce saliva. Saliva contains salivary amylase, and enzyme that reduces complex carbohydrates like starch to simpler polysaccharides. Saliva also contains a trace of salivary lipase. This enzyme may be vestigial, because its function is unimportant to modern human needs.

o Tongue- The tongue is a muscle that works with the food and saliva to form a "ball" that can be swallowed. Of course, the tongue also contains taste buds that help us tell the difference between salty, sour, sweet, and bitter foods.

o Pancreas- manufactures a mix of digestive enzymes capable of breaking apart carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into small fragments. These are called pancreatic amylase, pancreatic protease and pancreatic lipase. No digestion takes place in the pancreas.

o Liver- produces bile. The bile is stored in the gallbladder until it is released to the small intestine via the bile duct. The liver releases other substances that travel with the bile to the gallbladder and eventually end up in the small intestine. There is no digestion in the liver.

o Gallbladder- ducts leading from the gallbladder connect to the small intestine, allowing output from the liver to be stored in the gallbladder and eventually blend with pancreatic output as both are released into the small intestine for digestive purposes. In this way, the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder work with the digestive tract and all three are considered accessory organs to digestion. There is on digestion in the gallbladder.

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Digestive System Glossary

Anus - the opening at the end of the digestive system from which feces (waste) exits the body.

Appendix - a small sac located on the cecum.

Ascending colon - the part of the large intestine that run upwards; it is located after the cecum.

Bile - a digestive chemical that is produced in the liver, stored in the gall bladder, and secreted into the small intestine.

Cecum - the first part of the large intestine; the appendix is connected to the cecum.
Chyme -
is food in the stomach that is partly digested and mixed with stomach acids. Chyme goes on to the small intestine for further digestion.

Descending colon - the part of the large intestine that runs downwards after the transverse colon and before the sigmoid colon.

Duodenum - the first part of the small intestine; it is C-shaped and runs from the stomach to the jejunum.

Epiglottis - the flap at the back of the tongue that keeps chewed food from going down the windpipe to the lungs. When you swallow, the epiglottis automatically closes. When you breathe, the epiglottis opens so that air can go in and out of the windpipe.

Esophagus - the long tube between the mouth and the stomach. It uses rhythmic muscle movements (called peristalsis) to force food from the throat into the stomach.

Gall bladder - a small, sac-like organ located by the duodenum. It stores and releases bile (a digestive chemical which is produced in the liver) into the small intestine.

Ileum - the last part of the small intestine before the large intestine begins.

Jejunum - the long, coiled mid-section of the small intestine; it is between the duodenum and the ileum.

Liver - a large organ located above and in front of the stomach. It filters toxins from the blood, and makes bile (which breaks down fats) and some blood proteins.

Mouth - the first part of the digestive system, where food enters the body. Chewing and salivary enzymes in the mouth are the beginning of the digestive process (breaking down the food).

Pancreas - an enzyme-producing gland located below the stomach and above the intestines. Enzymes from the pancreas help in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the small intestine.

Peristalsis - rhythmic muscle movements that force food in the esophagus from the throat into the stomach. Peristalsis is involuntary - you cannot control it. It is also what allows you to eat and drink while upside-down.

Rectum - the lower part of the large intestine, where feces are stored before they are excreted.

Salivary glands - glands located in the mouth that produce saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that break down carbohydrates (starch) into smaller molecules.

Sigmoid colon - the part of the large intestine between the descending colon and the rectum.

Stomach - a sack-like, muscular organ that is attached to the esophagus. Both chemical and mechanical digestion takes place in the stomach. When food enters the stomach, it is churned in a bath of acids and enzymes.

Transverse colon - the part of the large intestine that runs horizontally across the abdomen.

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How people can make sure their digestive system remains healthy -
o It is very important that you should maintain the health of your digestive system by consuming only the healthiest food. Of course if you want to improve digestion you must couple it with eating reasonably, gradually and frequently. Working out on a regular basis, managing stress and getting rid of your bad lifestyle habits will also be of great help.
o You should practice consuming foods that are loaded with fiber such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains or cereals. Fiber promotes right passage of substance all through your digestive system and provides the right stability for your stools. The ideal daily consumption of fiber must be at least 30 grams. A healthy diet consisting of fiber is useful in lessening the danger from increasing possibilities of contracting diverticular disease, heart ailments as well as colorectal cancer.

o You must lessen your consumption of processed foods because they contain depleted nutritional value. They are loaded with big quantities of saturated fats, salts, and additives that can be very dangerous to your overall health. It is better if you will eat foods containing moderate quantities of friendly fats such as omega-3 and omega-6. A daily regimen that is loaded with unfriendly fats can cause slowing down of the function of your digestive system as well as triggering some forms of digestive system problems.

o It is important to have a healthy digestive system. Disorders concerning the said system, as what was mentioned, can lead to various ailments and can cause gain weight. If you don’t want to reap the consequences of an unhealthy digestive tract, live a healthful and balanced lifestyle.
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What can go wrong with the digestive system-
o An imbalance in the levels of "friendly" and "unfriendly" bacteria in the colon, and a malfunctioning ileocecal valve (waste matter in the colon can be mixed with useful material in the small intestine and eventually be absorbed by the body) can result in dysbiosis.

o Dysbiosis- weakens our ability to protect ourselves from disease-causing microbes.

o To combat dysbiosis, keep the level of friendly and unfriendly bacteria in balance. Avoid using antibiotics, or if you must, be sure you take a probiotic supplement (giving the body more "good bacteria"). Consuming yogurt also provides this.

o Constipation - difficult bowel movements - can result in straining that in turn can result in hiatal hernia. Constipation can easily be helped by eating foods high in fiber, taking fiber supplements, and drinking plenty of liquids. For stubborn cases, natural laxatives such as cascara sagrada may be used. Yogurt contains "friendly bacteria," and this also may be helpful.

o Diarrhea- results when food travels too quickly through the colon. Water is not well-absorbed and the result is a runny stool.

o Hemorrhoids- occur when blood vessels in and around the anus swell and stretch under pressure. They are prevalent among people over the age of 50. The most frequent cause of hemorrhoids is constipation. They can also occur due to pregnancy and diarrhea. The best thing you can do to prevent hemorrhoids is prevent constipation - consume plenty of fiber and liquids.

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What would happen to the individual if something went wrong with their digestive system-
o If something occurs with your Digestive system you can get cancer, stomach viruses, stomach aches, and flu. You could also have diarrhea and possibly throw up.

o Dysbiosis- Research has listed dysbiosis as a cause of arthritis, auto-immune illness, vitamin B12 deficiency, and chronic fatigue syndrome, and cystic acne, early stages of colon and breast cancers, eczema, food allergy/sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, and steatorrhea (excess fat in the stools).
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o Hemorrhoids- If hemorrhoids are ignored or go untreated because a person is too embarrassed to talk about them; they can become a more serious recurring problem. Many people wait too long for treatment and ignore the small hemorrhoids and then their only solution is to have surgery. This surgery can be painful and can take a person out of their normal routine for a few days. It is a much wiser idea to treat them early and speak to a doctor about them.

Can an individual survive without the digestive system?

No, people can not live without the digestive system because without the digestive system, we wouldn’t be able to get nutrients and water.

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Works Cited-