Understanding The Human Digestive System And Factors Affecting It’s Health

Significance of healthy digestive system

To understand the human digestive system and its ailments is a very complex phenomenon.

The digestive system has a unique method and uses the mechanical and chemical process to turn the food into energy for the body.

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The body uses the same energy and nutrients for growth, to perform daily work and cell repair. There are many stages involved in the process of digestion.

Several body organs, tissues and body systems work together to achieve the goal of food digestion. It breaks down the large complex food molecules into small pieces and distributes it through the body in the form of energy.

The digestive system consists of the parts of the human body that work together and converts the food into energy. The process begins with mouth and ends with the excretion of waste.

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All of us know how the process begins and ends but it goes through a lot of other complex procedure from breakdown to release of energy in the body.

The system of digestion has many stages. The initial stage starts from the mouth and final stage is the letting out of solid waste by the anus. The organs of the digestive system fall under two main groups;

  • Alimentary canal or gastrointestinal tract and
  • Accessory organs.

The alimentary canal is also known as the digestive tract pathway or also gastrointestinal tract.

The process where food enters the body and the solid waste is expelled out of the body. Alimentary canal includes mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus.

The alimentary canal is the series of organs that are joined to one another in a long and twisted tube that runs without interruption from one another till the anus.

The alimentary canal is measured up to 30 or 35 feet in length in the average adult.

On the other hand, the accessory organs are the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, that add secretions and helps in digestion

Once the food enters the human body the small intestine, pancreas, liver, released bile juice and enzymes that help in the further process of digestion.

It is all interdependent and interlinked with one organ to another. There cannot be a human body if even one of them stops working. This fact is known by all of us.

Other Participants in the Digestive Process

The entire human body takes an active part in the digestion process. There is an automatic nervous system that is involved and it largely controls the digestion process. It helps in the stimulation of a variety of functions that include the secretion of salivary peristalsis.

This pushes the food along the digestive or gastrointestinal tract. Other than that, there is the production of gastric acid in the stomach.

The absorption and distribution of nutrients that are produced by the digestive tract in the body are done by the circulatory system. Blood also carries the chemical signals that are created by the endocrine system and controls the speed of the digestion.

The gastrointestinal tract contains bacteria called gut microbiota that helps in the digestion of food.

This bacteria in the gut perform various useful functions that include digestion of the unutilized energy substrates, the stimulation of cell growth, it suppresses pathogen growth, trains the immune system that can respond only to harmful pathogens and defends it against certain diseases.

Ingestion, Digestion, Absorption, and Assimilation and how it works

The digestion process has four main processes and these supply the nutrients throughout the body. The processes include;

  • Ingestion
  • Digestion
  • Absorption and
  • Assimilation.


The process of ingestion is the inclusion of food into the body. The process of ingestion takes place in mouth. It includes chewing and grinding of food using teeth.

It also releases the saliva that lubricates and acts as a chemical to the food and the swallowing of food sends it to the next part of the digestive tract.

The ingestion process begins with the breakdown of food. The chewing is a mechanical force that breakdowns the food. There are two key enzymes in saliva named amylase and lipase.

This breaks down the food chemically further helping in the process of digestion. Amylase is the first stage that helps in the digestion of starch whereas lipase initiates the digestion of fat.

The food is chewed and swallowed and broken down for further process. The enzymes in saliva play a major role in breaking down of the food. Hence, being the first step of digestion, where there is an oral consumption of foods, liquids, and medicines.


The second process is that of digestion. This further breaks down the food into small particles that are absorbed into the bloodstream. The body breaks down the nutrients into macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.

Macro-nutrients consist of Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins.

a. Carbohydrates:

It includes sugar, starch, and fiber. It depends on the chemical structure of the carbohydrates on how simple or complex the breakdown gets. Natural sugar from fruits, vegetables, and dairy is simple on the other hand starches and grains can be difficult.

b. Fats:

The human body uses fats as a rich source of energy. The fat also helps the body in absorbing all the vitamins.

c. Proteins:

Foods like meat, eggs, and beans contain proteins that also act as a significant building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, blood, and skin.

Micro-nutrients consist of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and minerals play an important and major role in the human body. They also help in the growth and health of the body. Scientists have categorized the vitamins according to the fluids in which they dissolve.

The vitamins B and C dissolve in water soluble and vitamin A, D, E and K are the fat soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissues and in the liver. A human body cannot store water-soluble vitamins and flushes out the excess in urine. 


Absorption is the process of taking in nutrients and fluids into the bloodstream. It is when the food is absorbed in the body and transported in the bloodstream.

This occurs primarily in the small intestine. This section of the alimentary canal is largely important and responsible for the absorption of the water and soluble substance like simple salt, sugar, and alcohol.

The undigested food in the body and older cells ate tracked down through the GI tract or the gastrointestinal tract with other waste product.

The undigested food with other wastes moves through the large intestine that absorbs water and vitamin K and the remains of vitamin B and other nutrients that the body is ready to expose. The absorption of water turns into liquid waste and then into the stool.


The uptake of nutrients in the body cells and tissues that reassemble the absorbed nutrients into the complex substance is the process of assimilation. The small intestine absorbs most of the digested food molecules with water and minerals as well.

During the process of assimilation, these molecules pass through other parts of the body for storing and further making a chemical change. Sugar, amino acids, glycerol, and other vitamins and salts move through the bloodstream and to the liver.

Factors that can upset the human body:

A number of internal and external factors can upset the body organs and also the digestive system. All you really need to do is maintain your health and eat proper food to keep up with the routine.

Here are the factors listed that can upset the human body. All you can do is maintain them or control or reduce the exposure of the same.


If consumed in a large dose, it can cause many body problems that we do not want.

Sugar plays an important role in providing energy in the body but it has to be consumed in a limit because excessive sugar is heating, sticky and very toxic for the body.

2. Lack of sleep:

After performing too many activities during digestion and also with the day to day chores, the human body needs adequate sleep and rest to rejuvenate all the body organs for the next day.

Lack of sleep can also cause problems like a migraine, stress and in intense cases, high blood pressure, diabetics, heart attack or failure too.

3. Overeating:

This can cause your body to shut down. It also poses excessive stress on the organs.

Overeating may also make you feel uneasy and heavier than the usual which is a bad sign for the body.

over eating
over eating

4. Alcohol:

It acts as a poison for the human body. It not only damages the internal organs but also makes you weak and vulnerable. Other than that, it is shown externally too after a lot of consumption of alcohol.

5. Cold drinks and food:

We all have heard on how unhealthy fizzy drinks are but no one knows the reason behind it.

The reason why cold drinks and food is considered harmful is that it slows down the process of digestion. This means that the body has to work harder for the food to get digested.

6. Emotions or mood swings:

Being grumpy, irritated, upset and angry all the time makes it difficult not only for the people around you but also for the body.

This affects the body organs and hence making them weak and slow. All you can really do is try and control the emotions and what you can control and let go off on things that cannot be controlled.

7. Processed food:

The foreign properties contained in processed foods make it unhealthy and bad for the human body. These foods are considered to be indigestible for the human body.

8. Pain killers like pandadol or nuerofen:

These may kill the pain for time being but this will build up and destruct the human body. Instead of this, you can try natural remedies to cure the pain and also keep in good health.

9. Anti-biotics:

Over consumption of any drug can be ill for the body. With this also prefer to consume some body nourishing food.

10. Over exercising:

Over exercising can deplete your digestive health. It is good to maintain and keep a healthy lifestyle but over doing anything can cause bad for the body. Rather than working out intensely, try and do it normally that benefits your body.

It is important to invest your time in knowing your body better. All you can really do is take out some time from your busy schedule and know what works best for you and your body.

Understanding the human body can be a complex phenomenon and one can do it only if they have a proper mindset and knowledge of the same.

The Importance of Digestive Health

Human digestive system is very important and it also helps in keeping the health and body intact. A little up or down in the digestive system can cause the entire process to jumble up and cause health issues and problems.

It is our responsibility to maintain the health and keep our digestive system smoothly running. It requires a healthy lifestyle and diet that contains minerals, vitamins, carbs, fats, proteins and fiber.

Important for the human body to keep going and this can be done only by maintaining the digestive system and proper food intake. Everything in the human body is interlinked to another and thus demands our attention whenever we upset it.


The digestive system includes organs that are alimentary canal or GI tract and accessory structure. The alimentary canal is a continuous tube that starts from the mouth and ends at the anus. It is interconnected to one after another organ.

Other than this, there are four major steps of digestion that are Ingestion, Digestion, Absorption and Assimilation. These steps help in the breakdown and digestion of food in the body for energy production. 

Therefore, it is necessary to keep digestive health intact and protect from hazardous factors for active and healthy life.


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