Infant Digestive System Development
Learn about the important functions of digestive enzymes and more. E-mail You feel hungry, your stomach is growling to be fed, and your mouth is already watering with the saliva that will begin the digestive process: Even before you take that first bite of food, your digestive system is working for you. “The purpose of the digestive system is to allow us to enjoy and absorb food , which contains the nutrients of life,” says Kenneth Koch, MD, professor of medicine in gastroenterology and medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Wake Forrest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Digestive System in Action: How Foods Are Broken Down The foods you eat can only be used by your body after the entire digestive process takes place. They must first be dissolved and broken down into usable parts.
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Human Digestive System Functions
Enzymes in breast milk and your baby’s saliva help make up for this shortcoming. In addition, the esophageal valve, which controls the entry of food into your infant’s stomach, is underdeveloped. This is why babies frequently spit up. These digestive shortcomings, along with the immature state of the infant kidney, can put your baby at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and insufficient absorption of nutrients. Digestive Lining The human digestive system has a layer of mucous that protects the gastrointestinal tract from microbes and other contaminants that may be present in food or liquids. In infants, this protective barrier is immature, which puts your baby at risk of infection.
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You Might Also Like Is Cod Liver Oil Good for the Digestive System? Types Three basic types of digestive functions are used: mechanical breakdown of food into smaller pieces, chemical digestion of those pieces into their constituent nutrient molecules, and absorption of nutrient molecules by the lining of the digestive tract. Mechanical digestion is accomplished both in the mouth, by chewing, and in the stomach, notes anatomy professor Dr. Gary Thibodeau in his book, Anatomy and Physiology. All parts of the digestive tract participate in chemical digestion, and the intestine is responsible for absorption.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.livestrong.com/article/175155-human-digestive-system-functions/