How does the human digestive system work?

Heather Campbell
 min read

How does the human digestive system work?

How does the human digestive system work?It’s basically the machine that transforms fuel into what we need until it is expelled from the body.

As a whole, the digestive tract goes from the mouth to the anus and annexed glands (salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, pancreas). Its role is to transform food energy to nourish the body’s cells, restore and maintain their vitality, their need for growth, multiplication, and their communication.

The role of the digestive tract is fundamental. If it works well, then we’re good. But what if it doesn’t? What happens then?

Read on to learn more about our digestive system and how we can keep it healthy.

How does the human digestive system work? A functioning gut is a healthy one

The digestive tract receives and circulates food from the mouth to the outlet (the anus) and makes it soluble.

It transforms what we eat into simple foods such as simple sugars, fatty acids, small peptides and amino acids.

These are absorbed and go from the intestine into the vessels to the liver if they have been judged good for the body.

It also stirs all this together so that it travels at the right pace, i.e. the right pace to optimize the contact time with the biochemical, enzymatic, acidifying or neutralizing transformers.

All this is to promote good mucosal absorption and counteract any undesirable microbial development.

The digestive tract varies substantially from one animal species to another (for example, some animals have multi-chambered stomachs).

Elimination, propulsion, tolerance, coordination, distribution, synergy, etc. This digestive machinery is silent, painless, and pleasant when everything is working.

The intestine is then healthy and the body has every chance of being healthy.

Related postMicrobial diversity to improve your health: Insights & tips

Essential roles of the digestive system: Analysis

One of the essential roles of the digestive system, which is the small intestine, after digestion is assimilation. Assimilation is the absorption or passage of nutrients into the bloodstream and lymphatic system.

This assimilation requires sorting and recognizing nutrients by the intestinal immune system, which recognizes foreign foods for the body and lets them pass (it is the intestinal tolerance) or rejects them.

The colon or large intestine finishes the digestion essentially thanks to numerous bacteria, reabsorbs water and then eliminates the elements it can’t absorb, the stools.

Tip: For more information on the small and large intestine, read our other article Small intestine and large intestine: Functions of these two organs

The digestive system also has 2 other functions:

  • An endocrine role (producing secretions that are distributed via the bloodstream)
  • The defense of the organism

What are the 4 functions of digestion?

The 4 functions of digestion are as follows:

  • A volumetric function, since secretions are more numerous after meals
  • A physicochemical function with the adjustment of the acidity or alkalinity of digestive secretions
  • The biochemical function which allows the numerous and necessary enzymatic interactions
  • A mechanical function such as mastication (eating slower has benefits!) and digestive motricity

All these transformations have multiple interactive commands and are coordinated through two channels:

  • The nerve pathway, and
  • The humoral pathway with several hormones produced mainly by the digestive mucosa at all levels by the pancreas and by neuromediators.

The intestine is the seat of various neurochemical intermediates involved in the brain’s communication through the nerves or in that of the intestine itself which elaborates about twenty neuromediators, particularly serotonin.

If serotonin is abnormally produced, it promotes abdominal pain and bloating and transit disorders.

What role does the intestine play?

The intestine plays several roles in relation to the rest of the body:

  • The intestine functions as the body’s filter
  • The intestine also functions as a protector

Thus, the intestine feeds itself and all other cells.

The good or bad functioning of the intestine has consequences on itself and on the other organs, and that is why it is so important for it to be healthy.

How does the human digestive system work? Conclusion

It is quite possible to stay healthy by following a healthy lifestyle such as:

  • A life full of joy and meaning.
  • Regular physical activity
  • Vigilance against various types of pollution
  • A good micro nutritional intake
  • Good stress management
  • A balanced diet

It is difficult to know who deserves the credit and the prize for good health: Is it what you eat or how you digest it?

If food is not everything, its absence undoes everything. Similarly, if the ecosystem is in dysbiosis, cellular vitality will be disturbed regardless of the nutritional balance.

To establish and restore good health, we need harmony between the food we eat and the right ways to receive and treat it in the intestinal sphere.

A balanced, diversified and nutrient-dense food, with optimal digestion, allows the intestine to assimilate it and it therefore benefits from it as does the brain, the skin, the joints and all cells.

Our professional, personal and psychological influence will reflect this.

As marvelous, unique beings, we can then blossom and become present human beings, alive in all their creativity and fullness.

You must take responsibility for your health by combining the quality of your food, your gut health and the overall well-being of your body, heart, mind and soul.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More