How the digestive system works

Richard Kerr's picture

Food is vital for energy, growth and repair.  Your digestive system is able to convert the food you eat from glucose, amino acids and fatty acids and allow them to be absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine, whereby nutrients are carried to each cell in the body. Our digestive tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, this tract is over 10 meters long.

How your digestive system works

The mouth and the esophagus
It all begins in your mouth, as you grind down food with your teeth saliva is generated and makes a head start to break down food so it's easier to swallow.  As you swallow your esophagus contracts to massage food through a small muscle ring, food is then pushed from here into your stomach.

The stomach
Once food has reached your stomach, it gets churned to help it break down further. Gastric juice is present which helps the food squeeze into another muscle ring before reaching another part of your small intestine called the duodenum.

The small intestine
Now food has entered the duodenum it is mixed with more digestive enzymes which come from the pancreas, and the liver. Both organs help with digestion.  Your liver helps the breakdown of fat using bile stored in your gallbladder and your pancreas helps regulate blood sugar levels through its production of insulin.

Absorption Stage
Now the food is ready for absorption, the food is past into a lower section of your small intestine and nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream.

The large intestine (laxative stage)
Once all the nutrients (calories and energy) have been absorbed, then the rest of the waste is passed into the large intestine. Water is removed and the waste is stored in the rectum to be passed out your body. A nerve is stimulated to signal a release is needed, if you use laxatives then they will natuarally stimaute this nerve to signal the same release.

The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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