Small Intestine Facts

Small Intestine Facts
The small intestine is the part of the section of the digestive system in the gastrointestinal tract of human beings, also called the small bowel. It includes the duodenum, jejunum, and the ileum, and its primary function is to absorb the minerals and nutrients from the food that we eat. The small intestine on average is about 16 to 20 feet in adults (if it were to be stretched out) but it is only about 1 inch in diameter, and can hold food for between 1 and 4 hours to enable digestion and absorption of nutrients and minerals. Both the large and small intestines have smooth muscle that pushes food through the intestines, making it possible for digestion to occur even against gravity.
Interesting Small Intestine Facts:
The small intestine is essentially a tube system that connects the stomach to the large intestine.
The small intestine is made up of muscles and membranes which make it soft and elastic. It is in a coiled shape in the abdomen.
After the stomach has turned food into mostly liquid in the stomach it passes through the pyloric sphincter into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.
When the food is in the stomach it mixes with strong acids. Once it passes into the small intestine it mixes with secretions that neutralizes the acids and allows for nutrients to be absorbed.
The small intestine is much longer than the large intestine, but the large intestine is much wider than the small intestine.
It is estimated that in the average lifespan of a human about 50 tons of liquid and food will pass through the small intestine (and the rest of the digestive system).
The digestive enzymes in the small intestine originate mostly in the pancreas. Other digestive enzymes originate in the liver.
The small intestine contains microscopic fingers referred to as villi. These villi help the body to absorb fat and digested nutrients.
Most of the nutrients absorbed in the small intestine are absorbed in the jejunum. Exceptions to this include iron, bile salts, water, lipids, fructose, and vitamin B12.
When the small intestine is not healthy or disorders develop a person can suffer from a variety of diseases and disorders including celiac disease, intestinal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, obstructions and blockages, Crohn's disease, and overgrowths of unhealthy bacteria.
Sometimes the small intestine can become twisted or blocked by a mass or infection or inflammation. This can lead to pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
When the small intestines are not functioning properly the nutrients that the body requires for health are not absorbed properly. This can lead to other health issues such as malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and organ problems.
Infectious diseases that can affect the small intestine include giardiasis, tape worm, hookworm, bacterial infections, and viral infections.
Sometimes the small intestine is damaged or deformed because of genetic defects, congenital conditions, or developmental problems.
To help keep the small intestines healthy it is important to eat lots of fiber rich foods and drink enough water to keep it functioning properly.

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