|Topics||Mouth & Throat, Pancreas, Small Intestine, Stomach|
Digestion begins in the mouth where the teeth and tongue break down food mechanically through chewing and saliva, via the enzyme salivary amylase, starts to break starches down chemically. From the mouth, food travels down the esophagus where contractions push the food into the stomach.
The acids produced by the pancreas contain several enzymes that aid in digestion. Lipase converts fat to glycerol and fatty acids. Pancreatic amylase breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Trypsin converts polypeptides (the building blocks of protein) into amino acids.
The small intestine is where most digestion takes place. As food travels along the small intestine it gets broken down completely by enzymes secreted from the walls. These enzymes are produced in the small intestine as well as in the pancreas and liver. After the enzymes break down the food, the resulting substances are then absorbed into the blood via capillaries in the small intestine walls.
Food is mixed with gastric acid and pepsin in the stomach to help break down protein.