Disorder of Carbohydrate Digestion: Nutrition and Human Physiology Essay

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Nutrition and Human Physiology: A Disorder of Carbohydrate Digestion

Why the small intestine is better suited than the other gastrointestinal tract organs to carry out the absorptive process

The small intestine is a section of the gastrointestinal tract that is located between the large intestine and the stomach, which comprises the jejunum, the ileum and the duodenum. Alters (2000) explains that the average person consumes about 1.2 liters of water and 800 grams of food every day. The liver, pancreas, stomach and salivary glands also secrete over 7 liters of fluid. Of these, about 750 grams of solid food and 8 liters of fluids are absorbed by the small intestine. This implies that its primary function is the absorption of water, electrolytes and nutrients.

The small intestine is best suited to carry out the absorptive process than all other gastrointestinal tract organs. For instance, Alters (2000) states that its structure is especially suited for absorption. She further explains that it has a large surface area made up of fingerlike projections called villi, which are also covered by cytoplasmic projections called microvilli. These provide the small intestine with a tremendously large surface area and since they are specifically designed to carry out the process of absorption, they facilitate faster absorption of nutrients and minerals. The small intestine is the only organ in the GI tract that has these villi and microvilli and, therefore, it is better equipped to carry out the absorptive process.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on Disorder of Carbohydrate Digestion: Nutrition and Human Physiology Assignment

According to Hayes and Cruger (2014), the absorption process is aided by mechanics of movement that are specific to the small intestine namely, peristalsis and segmentation. Segmentation refers to the localized contractions that bring chime into close proximity with the small intestine surface by contractions of approximately 12 to 16 times per minute. On the other hand, peristalsis is a relaxation and contraction of muscles. Hayes and Cruger (2014) explain that peristalsis is slow and deliberate, and it pushes chyme through at a rate of approximately 1cm per minute, leaving it in the small intestine for about three to five hours. Tortora and Derrickson (2008) also state that the capacity of the small intestine to absorb carbohydrates is 120 grams per hour. The digestive process is completed when chyme moves along the length of the small intestine.

Tortora and Derrickson (2008) state that the small intestine contains the four basic layers that make up the vast majority of the GI tract. This enables fast digestion and enables it to initiate majority of the absorption process. Once macromolecular enzymes get to the small intestine, they are exposed to bile and pancreatic enzymes and digested to molecules that are capable of being absorbed. Moreover, Tortorra and Derrickson (2008) explain that the absorption of materials occurs in various ways namely active transport, diffusion, osmosis, and facilitated diffusion, and that 90% of all absorption occurs in the small intestine.

Thus, based on the structure, mechanics of movement and the process of diffusion; the small intestine is better suited than all other GI tract organs to carry out the absorption process.

Question 2: Disaccharide Intolerance I -- A disorder of carbohydrate digestion

The National Organization for Rare Disorders, NORD (2015) describes disaccharide intolerance I as a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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