The small intestine's major function is to absorb food and nutrients. When food enters the stomach, acid begins to break it down, and some nutrients are absorbed in the stomach. Then the food passes into the small intestine, where enzymes and sodium bicarbonate flow in from the pancreas to neutralize any remaining stomach acid and break down the remaining nutrients. The large intestine absorbs water and creates fecal matter.Continue Reading
The small intestine also plays a role in the body's immune system. Probiotic gut flora not only aid in the digestion of troublesome compounds, they also increase the body's immune response.
When food enters the small intestine, the body handles each type of molecule differently. Lipids break down into fatty acids and glycerol, while proteins break down into amino acids and peptides for easy absorption into the body. Carbohydrates may break down into simple sugars, but complex carbohydrate molecules may pass through the small intestine relatively intact. Once they reach the large intestine, bacteria break them down and produce intestinal gas as a by-product. This is why foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as beans, can cause intestinal discomfort. To combat this effect, special enzymes break down the complex carbohydrates before the bacteria have a chance to consume them, preventing the release of gas.Learn more about Organs
The primary function of the pyloric valve is to impede undigested or large food particles from entering the intestine. It is a cone-shaped valve that connects the end of the stomach to the start of the small intestine.Full Answer >
The small intestine is about 20 feet long because it performs most of the body’s digestion and absorbs most of the nutrients from food, says the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. It is made up of three parts: the duodenum, which takes food from the stomach and continues the digestion started there; the jejunum, which carries food to the ileum; and the ileum, which absorbs most of the nutrients.Full Answer >
The colon, also referred to as the large intestine, removes excess nutrients to form stools and transports this product to the rectum. This organ is part of the digestive system and is essential in the removal of waste.Full Answer >
The jejunum in the small intestine is the main site for the absorption of nutrients, according to InnerBody.com The small intestine consists of three sections which are the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The jejunum is the middle section of the small intestine located between the duodenum and ileum.Full Answer >