Digestive System

Digestive System of a Male : 3D visualization reconstructed from scanned human data of a lateral oblique view of the male digestive system. An envelope of transparent skin surrounds the digestive organs in the foreground; musculature is cut away in foreground to reveal the organs and their relationship to the skeleton. The digestive system is comprised of an alimentary canal and accessory organs; together they break down complex food stuffs into the simple structures the body can use, absorb the nutrients into the blood stream, and eliminate the leftover waste.

This page uses British English

In the human digestive system, the process of digestion has many stages, the first of which starts in the mouth (oral cavity). Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller components which can be absorbed and assimilated into the body. The secretion of saliva helps to produce a bolus which can be swallowed to pass down the oesophagus and into the stomach.

Saliva also contains a catalytic enzyme called amylase which starts to act on food in the mouth. Digestion is helped by the mastication of food by the teeth and also by the muscular contractions of peristalsis. Gastric juice in the stomach is essential for the continuation of digestion as is the production of mucus in the stomach.

Peristalsis is the rhythmic contraction of muscles that begins in the oesophagus and continues along the wall of the stomach and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. This initially results in the production of chyme which when fully broken down in the small intestine is absorbed as chyle into the lymphatic system. Most of the digestion of food takes place in the small intestine. Water and some minerals are reabsorbed back into the blood, in the colon of the large intestine. The waste products of digestion are defecated from the anus via the rectum.

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.