What Does the Pancreas Do?

The pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach in the abdomen and functions as a digestive organ and an endocrine organ. In the digestive system, the pancreas helps break down food. In the endocrine system, the pancreas releases key hormones, such as insulin and glucagon.

As food passes through the digestive system and reaches the stomach, it is immediately bombarded with stomach acids. The pancreas releases pancreatic juice and bile into the small intestine to break down lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. As an endocrine organ, the pancreas releases hormones that help keep blood sugar levels stable in the body.