Digestion Research Paper

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Digestion works well when all the reactions along the way are functioning at an optimum but when one is compromised it eventually impacts on the entire tract. This is evident when there is Hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid. When there is a depletion of hydrochloric acid (HCL) the entire digestive process is affected, from mechanical and chemical digestions to absorption of nutrients. The stomach secrets HCL which maintains the low pH (between 1.5- 3) during the gastric phase of digestion. This is critical for the phases that follow and due to the body’s feedback mechanisms begins to have an effect on the entire body.

Before food has even entered the mouth a process called the cephalic phase begins. Gastric juices are secreted when food is being prepared, smelt or even thought of. Once food is in the mouth it is chewed and broken down by the teeth and saliva. Low levels of HCL have no effect on this initial stage of digestion. Although can later cause an indirect effect of halitosis The bolus of food then travels down the oesophagus by a process called peristalsis. It passes through the oesophageal sphincter and enters the stomach. Here in the stomach gastric juices mix with the bolus as
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The chymes higher pH does not trigger sodium bicarbonate nor the release of the enzymes produced by the pancreas. This can lead to duodenal ulcers. The pancreatic enzymes help with the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids (Mcat-review 2015) An alkaline environment is required for the release of bile and therefore the digestion of fat and it’s absorption. This means that vital fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are lost (Fox and Cameron 2006). They also state that the lining of the small intestines releases intestinal juice which is important in chemical digestion. This intestinal juice contains, sucrase, maltase and lactase and is also effected by the pH of the chyme entering the small

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