domingo, 12 de diciembre de 2010

Following the digestion, esophagus and stomach

From the pharynx, the bolus moves into the esophagus. The esophagus is a narrow tube about 20 centimeters long in adults. It begins at the pharynx, passes through the chest, and ends at the opening to the stomach. The function of the esophagus is to pass food from the mouth to the stomach. This takes only a few seconds. The esophagus does not produce digestive enzymes and does not have any other digestive functions.
Food moves through the esophagus due to peristalsis. At the end of the esophagus, a muscle called a sphincter controls the entrance to the stomach. The sphincter opens to let food into the stomach and then closes again to prevent the food from passing back into the esophagus.

The stomach is a saclike organ located between the end of the esophagus and the beginning of the small intestine. In the stomach, food is further digested both mechanically and chemically. Churning movements of the stomach’s thick muscular walls break down food mechanically. The churning movements also mix the food with gastric juice, a fluids secreted by the stomach. These fluids include hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and mucus.
Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid (pH – 2) and gives the stomach a very acidic environment. This helps destroy any bacteria that have entered the stomach in foods or beverages. An acidic environment is also needed for the stomach’s digestive enzymes to work.
• The main digestive enzyme secreted in the stomach is pepsin that breaks down proteins into smaller molecules .
Mucus secreted by the gastric glands helps protect the stomach lining from the action of gastric juice.
Small molecules like water, alcohol and salts can be absorbed through the lining of the stomach. Most other substances need further digestion in the small intestine before they can be absorbed. The stomach stores the food until the small intestine is ready to receive it. When the small intestine is empty, a sphincter (Pyloric sphincter) opens between the stomach and small intestine. This allows the partially digested food, now called chyme, to enter the small intestine.

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