Impacts of Digestion in Stomach and Intestines

Digestion in Mouth
Energy is required by the body so that all the cellular processes can work efficiently. This energy is provided by the food one eats. The digestive system helps in the uptake of food and utilization of food so that it can be used as an energy source. The main process which helps in the utilization of the food is digestion. Digestion is the process of breaking down of food into smaller and soluble components by the action of digestive enzymes. The process of digestion is complex. It involves the use of alimentary canal which starts in the mouth and opens outside the anus. The bulk food is mechanically broken down in the mouth by the help of teeth and the tongue helps in mixing the food with the saliva to make it softer and also to provide lubrication. This helps in moving the food forward to the esophagus and then to the stomach by the use of peristaltic muscular contractions.

Digestion in Stomach and Intestines
By peristalsis, food moves forward in the digestive system. As soon as the food reaches the stomach, a muscle valve relaxes and allows the food to enter the stomach. This valve has the important function of closing the stomach so that no food or stomach acid can get into the esophagus.

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In the stomach, the food is mixed with gastric juice which comprises hydrochloric acid, some inorganic salts, water, and enzymes. The acid and the enzyme which is secreted leads to the further breakdown of food and the food gets converted into a thick creamy substance called chyme. Mechanical digestion is also done in the stomach side by side by peristalsis as the muscles in the wall of the stomach contract to mix the food and digestive enzymes.

The food is then pushed down into the duodenum which is one of the regions of the small intestine and the greatest part of the digestion takes place in this region. In the small intestine, numerous enzymes are released which leads to the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Various types of movements are also produced by the muscles of the small intestine. These movements help in a thorough mixing of food with various digestive enzymes and thereby facilitate digestion.

The Liver and pancreas also play an important role in digestion as they secrete juices into the small intestine which contains digestive enzymes required for the breakdown of biomolecules like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The pancreatic juice is released by the pancreas and the bile juice is released by the liver.

The next two regions of the small intestine, jejunum and ileum are mostly responsible for the absorption of nutrients from the processed food. After the small intestine, food passes into the large intestine that absorbs the remaining nutrients and water. The resulting fecal matter is stored in the rectum, from where it passes out of the body by the process of egestion.

Maltose is composed of two molecules of glucose connected with each other by α-(1,4) glycosidic bond. It is called as malt sugar because of its occurrence in malted grains of Barley. It is also found in detectable amounts in most of the germinating seeds and tissues where starch is being broken down in order to get energy. Maltose is not an essential nutrient so it only plays a minor role in the body and one does not need it in order to live a healthy life. Maltose is the basic molecule of starch and thus it accumulates in large amounts during the digestion of starch. Maltose or Malt sugar, C12H22O11.H2O, is broken down into two molecules of glucose in the small intestine of the body by the action of an enzyme named maltase and isomaltase, which is then absorbed by the body. Some of the properties of maltose are-

It is soluble in water.

It is a white crystalline substance.

It is a fermentable sugar.

The sweetening intensity is only 30 to 50% of that of sucrose and fructose.

It is a reducing sugar.

It has a high glycemic index Sources of maltose-

Although maltose is less sweet than table sugar and fructose, it is found in hard candies, corn syrups, chocolates and frozen desserts due to its unique tolerance to heat and cold.

Maltose is present naturally in sweet potatoes, peaches and pears.

Certain brewing beers, whisky, and ciders also contain maltose as sugars and proteins in malt are very nourishing for yeast.

Maltose can be found in corn and barley as well.

Infant food also contains maltose. Fructose has more serious health effects and is metabolized differently than glucose and since maltose is only made from glucose and not fructose, it may be a little healthier than table sugar. There is almost no research on the health effects of maltose in diet, but like any sugar, maltose can be harmful if consumed in excess.

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