Digestion of Carbohydrates Essay Example

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    Nursing
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  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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Digestion of Carbohydrates

Digestion of Carbohydrates

The movement of glucose in the body to the vena cava starts from the mouth, where glucose is in the form of carbohydrates found in the ingested food. The carbohydrates are converted to glucose through the digestion process. Digestion of carbohydrates takes place along the digestion tract, which starts in the mouth and end in the anus (Jakab 2006, 153). Examples of food rich in carbohydrates are; maize, cassava, bread among others.

The food undergoes mechanical digestion whereby, it is broken into smaller particles. The tongue mixes the chewed food with saliva to form a bolus. The saliva contains an enzyme known as salivary amylase which breaks starch and glycogen contained in the food into disaccharides. The salivary gland located in the mouth secret mucus, which cause the food to stick together as well as lubricating it preparing it for swallowing (Faller, SchüNke & Taub 2004, 135). The food in bolus form is then forced into the pharynx by the tongue. From the mouth, the food is swallowed and moves into the esophagus. The role of the esophagus is to facilitate the chemical digestion of the food as well as providing a passage way from the pharynx to the stomach a process known as peristalsis.

The Stomach

The stomach is J-shaped organ with folded thick walls that enable it to expand in order to create room for food. It is divided in to various regions; the body region, the cardiac region, the fluidic region and the pyloric region (Grosvenor & Smolin 2009, 23). The epithelial lining of the stomach leads into the gastric glands which produce gastric juice. The gastric juice consists of hydrochloric acid and pepsin enzyme, which enhance the digestion of proteins. In the stomach, carbohydrate is mixed with gastric juice and churned into a semi-fluid paste known as chime. The hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice also helps in destroying harmful bacteria present in the food. The goblet cells found in the stomach secretes mucus that protects the wall of the stomach from being corroded by the hydrochloric acid. From the stomach the chyme enters the small intestine through the pyloric sphincter.

The Small Intestine

The small intestine has a smaller diameter. It is about 6m long. The small intestine is divided into three parts: the ileum, the duodenum and the jejunum. The final digestion stage of carbohydrates takes place here. In the duodenum, there is a pancreatic duct which releases an enzyme known as pancreatic amylase. This enzyme is responsible for splitting starch and glycogen molecules into disaccharides (KüHnel 2008, 76). The small intestine consists of basic pancreatic juice containing sodium bicarbonate which neutralizes the chyme. The wall of the small intestine consists of the finger-like projection known as the villi, which make the small intestine to appear soft. The outer layer of the villus is the epithethelial cells, which extends into numerous microvillli; these greatly increase the surface area for nutrients absorption. Inside the microvilli are digestive enzymes which further break down carbohydrates into; lactase, sucrose and maltase (Faller, SchüNke & Taub 2004, 123). They also break down disaccharides into monosaccharide. The villus consist lymphatic capillary and blood capillaries referred to as lacteal. Sugars and glucose molecules digested from carbohydrates penetrate into the blood capillaries of the villus and are transported to the inferior venacava. The venacava in turn pumps the blood rich in glucose to all parts of the body.

Bibliography

Hemat, R. A. S. (2003). Principles of orthomolecularism. [Blackrock], Urotext.

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Grosvenor, M. B., & Smolin, L. A. (2009). Visualizing nutrition. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley.

KüHnel, W. (2008). Color atlas of human anatomy. Volume 2, Volume 2. Stuttgart, Thieme.

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Faller, A., SchüNke, M., & Taub, E. (2004). The human body an introduction to structure and function. Stuttgart [etc.], Thieme.

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Jakab, C. (2006). The digestive system. North Mankato, MN, Smart Apple.

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