Q:

What is the main function of the small intestine?

A:

The small intestine's major function is to absorb food and nutrients. When food enters the stomach, acid begins to break it down, and some nutrients are absorbed in the stomach. Then the food passes into the small intestine, where enzymes and sodium bicarbonate flow in from the pancreas to neutralize any remaining stomach acid and break down the remaining nutrients. The large intestine absorbs water and creates fecal matter.

The small intestine also plays a role in the body's immune system. Probiotic gut flora not only aid in the digestion of troublesome compounds, they also increase the body's immune response.

When food enters the small intestine, the body handles each type of molecule differently. Lipids break down into fatty acids and glycerol, while proteins break down into amino acids and peptides for easy absorption into the body. Carbohydrates may break down into simple sugars, but complex carbohydrate molecules may pass through the small intestine relatively intact. Once they reach the large intestine, bacteria break them down and produce intestinal gas as a by-product. This is why foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as beans, can cause intestinal discomfort. To combat this effect, special enzymes break down the complex carbohydrates before the bacteria have a chance to consume them, preventing the release of gas.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the main function of the large intestine?

    A:

    The main function of the large intestine is to absorb water and remove solid waste from the body. The organ takes approximately 16 hours to complete the digestion of food. This organ is the last part of the digestive system and stretches from the ileocecal valve to the anus.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long is the small intestine?

    A:

    The small intestine is approximately 20 feet in length and 1 inch in diameter. The function of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from food and drink.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where is the small intestine located?

    A:

    In the human body, the small intestine is located within the central and lower abdominal area. It stretches from the stomach to the large intestine, coiling around several times to fit. Food travels from the stomach directly into the small intestine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the job of the small intestine?

    A:

    The small intestine's job is to absorb about 90 percent of the nutrients we consume, according to InnerBody. The small intestine is about an inch wide and approximately 10 feet long and is folded along itself in the abdominal cavity. It is twice the length of the large intestine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore