Q:

What is the function of bile in the digestive process?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary purpose of bile in the digestive process is to facilitate the digestion and dispersion of consumed fats. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this takes place in the lumen of the small intestine.

  Know More

Full Answer

Bile is a digestive fluid made up of electrolytes, water and organic molecules such as cholesterol and bile acids, as noted by About.com. Bile acids have an emulsifying ability that breaks down lipids, and they also work as lipid carriers to transport fats through an aqueous environment. In addition to aiding the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins, bile helps to eliminate waste products from the body. For instance, approximately 500mg of cholesterol is converted into bile acid each day, which is then eliminated in the feces.

The Encyclopedia Britannica states that bile begins forming in the liver cells, and its rate of formation is largely dependent on the secretion of bile acids into the body's bile channels. Roughly 3 grams of bile acid is present in the body at any one time, and most of this pool is in the gallbladder where bile is highly concentrated. When a person consumes a meal that includes fat, a hormone is released that causes the gallbladder walls to contract, releasing bile into the digestive system.

Learn more about Human Anatomy

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the common bile duct?

    A:

    The function of the common bile duct is to carry bile from the liver and the gallbladder into the duodenum, the top of the small intestine directly after the stomach. The bile it carries interacts with ingested fats and fat-soluble vitamins to enable them to be absorbed by the intestine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the respiratory system?

    A:

    The primary function of the respiratory system is to provide oxygen to every part of the body through the process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. The respiratory system consists of tissues and organs inside the body that allow people to breathe. This system includes blood vessels, the lungs, airways and certain muscles. The major airways of the respiratory system include the nose, windpipe, mouth, bronchial tubes and larynx.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the occipital lobe?

    A:

    The main function of the occipital lobe is to process the visual stimuli and information received from the eyes. According to About.com, this part of the brain is responsible for specific functions such as visual perception and color recognition.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where does bile come from?

    A:

    The body creates bile in the liver and stores it in the gallbladder. The composition of bile is primarily cholesterol, bile salts (or bile acids) and bilirubin, a product that comes from the breakdown of red blood cells. Other trace items in bile include water, copper and body salts.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore