Q:

What is the function of bile in the digestive process?

A:

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.

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

Related Questions

  • 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:

    What does the bile duct do?

    A:

    The bile duct transports bile from the gallbladder through the pancreas and into the small intestine. The bile duct joins the liver to the small intestine. The bile duct is tube-like in appearance.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the role of bile in digestion?

    A:

    Bile in the digestive system exists primarily to facilitate fat absorption in the small intestine, and then send digested fats elsewhere in the body. Although the small intestine is the central area of bile activity, bile is created in specialized cells called hepatocytes, which are found in the liver. The quantity of bile produced following ingestion of food depends on the type and volume of food that enters the digestive system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore