Digestion and the Digestive System Facts and Resources
Digestion and the Digestive System Facts and Resources
Human digestion is a constant process being dealt with in many ways with many individualized effects along the way. Explore these resources to find out how this mysterious process works, what happens when it goes wrong, and what can be done to keep operations flowing smoothly as often as possible.
What is Digestion?
In its most fundamental sense, digestion is a conversion process; it takes nutrients from outside the body – the foods and beverages consumed – and converts them into a different form entirely so that the human body can use those nutrients to create energy. The process takes place in a series of organs and organ systems that are all connected to the body’s alimentary canal.
Virtual Anatomy Textbook: Digestive System – This virtual textbook, from the University of Illinois, breaks down the digestive process into early, middle, and late stages of the process.
A Brief Description of Digestion – Assistant Professor Doutor Pedro Silva provides a brief description of digestion; from the Universidade Fernando Pessoa in Porto, Portugal.
Cells 101: Business Basics – Digestion isn’t fully complete until food has been transported as nutrients into the cells that use them. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences offers a glimpse of how that happens in this “Inside the Cell” educational series.
Hunger and Eating – Digestion is a physiological process; it’s all about the body. But hunger is the urge that triggers the desire to eat. Without hunger, there’d be no reason for digestion. But what causes that feeling of hunger?
Parts of the Human Digestive System
Digesting the foods that are eaten is one of the most taxing physiological process the human body carries out. Digestion is not a simple process and the body puts many organs to work along the way.
Your Digestive System and How It Works – Discover the role that digestive juices play in converting food into the nutrients needed to keep the body operating and the hormone regulators that control the process. From the US National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Fundamental Physiology and Anatomy of the Digestive System – This detailed discussion from Colorado State University describes how the digestive system works as a portal for nutrients to pass from the environment to the human bloodstream.
Anatomy of the Gastrointestinal Tract – The Los Altos Feeding Clinic specializes in pediatric feeding disorders. One aspect of its services is parental education, teaching parents how the digestive system functions so they can make better choices about feeding their children.
Incredible Journey Through the Digestive System – Gastroenterologists, the doctors who fix problems with the digestive system, rely on scans, exams, and surgery to assess the state of our insides but a new photographic technology is changing all that. The PillCam is a tiny camera the patient swallows for a diagnostic procedure called a capsule endoscopy. One PillCam takes 57,000 color photos, two snapshots every second, over a 10-hour period; for diagnosis, the gastroenterologist simply uploads the photos to a computer monitor, where they’re viewed in video format for evaluation.
The Process of Digestion
The Digestive System – The digestive process explored, from that of simple organisms to humans. From Estrella Mountain Community College.
Your Digestive System (for kids) – This website not only explains the digestive system in language kids can understand, it also provides the answers to some very important questions.
The Journey of a Sandwich – Follow the sandwich from one end of the alimentary canal to the other in this series of computer-based laboratory experiments designed to teach high school biology students the inner workings of the digestive system.
Digestion and Excretion – This three day lesson plan helps students understand the digestive process in simple, easy-to-understand language that includes a list of important terms, the parts of a tooth, and other interesting information, including the amount of food the average human male eats in a lifetime – 50 tons!
How Long Does It Take? – Get the answer from a gastroenterologist at the famed Mayo Clinic. Click along for answers to other questions of interest, too, such as the harm in swallowing chewing gum and what makes the stomach growl.
Additional Information and Resources
Genes and Disease: The Digestive System – The National Center for Biotechnology Information offers a brief description of the digestive process and provides links to some common diseases, with explanations of how the digestive system is affected by each of them.
Probiotics for Healthier Digestion and Increased Immunity – Information on probiotics and how they help digestion.
Gastrointestinal Tract Flora – This page offers information on several types of flora including gastrointestinal tract flora.
Good Fats Are Important! – Every cell in the body needs a steady supply of fatty acids. Find out how and where the body uses these fatty acids and how they are broken down for utilization during the digestive process.
Do Astronauts Get Heartburn? – Find answers to all kinds of questions about the biological effects of space travel, including how life in zero gravity affects the digestive system.
What Do Mouths Do? – Open Wide and Trek Inside is an invitation to children to discover the mouth from an alien’s perspective. The mouth is a pretty busy place and is the very first part of the body put to work in the digestive system.
Stool Color: When to Worry – Stool color can be used to help gauge the state of the bodies digestive health. Learn what signs are no cause for alarm and which ones require immediate medical evaluation.
IBS and Digestion – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Learn how food and beverages, gender, stress, travel, and other everyday elements of life affect the disorder
What I Need to Know About Eating and Diabetes – The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides educational materials for diabetic patients and the general public to gain a better understanding of how this disease works and how to maintain the healthiest lifestyle possible after diagnosis. Diabetes, said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the US, is perhaps the best-known medical disorder affecting the digestive system.
Celiac Disease, Gluten, and the Small Intestine – Celiac disease can wreak havoc with one’s health long before diagnosis, thanks in part to the way its symptoms mimic so many other, more common diseases. This debilitating autoimmune disease triggers a reaction in the small intestine whenever gluten is eaten. Avoidance of all foods containing gluten – wheat, rye, barley, and perhaps oats – is the only way to control the disease, which prevents the small intestine from releasing nutrients into the bloodstream and promoting nutrient deficiencies.
Lactose Intolerance Facts – The National Dairy Council offers many facts, wellness techniques, and resources for coping with the disorder.
Alcohol Alert – This publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes the dangerous ways alcohol disrupts the digestive system and nutrient distribution.
Interactive Body – A brief exploration of alcohol’s affect on a few of the organs most affected by alcohol consumption, including the stomach.
Eating Disorders: What Families Need to Know – Many medical disorders affect the digestive system; the connection is easy to accept because we can identify a direct link between cause and effect. With eating disorders, acceptance isn’t always so easy because there seems to be no underlying medical condition influencing eating behaviors, making the disorder all the more puzzling. Strange, erratic, and dangerous eating habits pose serious risks to the digestive system and that risk is passed on to every cell of the body. This website offers information every parent can use.