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.

Bile production begins in bile channels, also called canaliculi. The process begins upon ingestion of food that, in turn, signals the digestive system to begin working. Most bile is formed in liver cells, and the volume and rate of bile production depends on the rate at which bile-forming acids are released into bile channels. Although the quantity of bile produced varies slightly among individuals, approximately 3 grams of the viscous digestive fluid are created at a time.

Bile production is triggered through a complex process, which begins with the activation and production of certain chemicals and hormones. Before producing bile, liver cells create sodium, which in turn determines the quantity of bile produced. Bile generation is also controlled by the actions of intestinal hormones, such as secretin, gastrin and CCK. These elements work together to create a thick, viscous substance (bile), which is then diluted with water.

Sources:

  1. britannica.com

Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What role do bile salts play in the digestion of fat?

    A:

    Colorado State University states that bile salts play a role similar to a detergent in the digestion of fat by emulsifying the hydrophobic fat molecules. The tiny suspended particles of fat that result from this are much more accessible to enzymes necessary to digest them than the larger drops that would remain without bile salts. The bile salts are also critical in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin D.

    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:

    How long can it take food to travel through the small intestine?

    A:

    It takes food about five to seven hours to pass through the small intestine, although the total transit time can vary slightly from one person to the next. The small intestine is where most digestive processes take place. The quantity and types of food a person eats may drastically affect the time food takes to pass through the small intestine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore