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Image by Robina Weermeijer

Organ Systems

Digestive System

The digestive system is composed of the gastrointestinal tract and accessory organs.  The digestive tract includes the mouth, pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestine, rectum, and anus while accessory organs include the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and salivary glands.  Overall, the function of the digestive tract can be broken down into 3 components: digestion, absorption, and elimination.  Within the GI tract, there are many bacteria and enzymes that help break down food.  The accessory organs help reduce and excrete these enzymes.  Once food is broken down, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and nutrients get fed to the rest of the body.  The gastrointestinal tract uses a process called peristalsis, which involves smooth muscle contractions, to move food through the hollow organs of the GI tract.  After necessary nutrients are absorbed, waste products are released through defecation.

Diagram of the Digestive System



Cleveland Clinic. (2018, September 13). Structure & function of the digestive system.

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Introduction to the digestive system.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017, December). Your digestive system & how it works. National Institutes of Health.,organs%20of%20the%20digestive%20system.

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