Digesting Food

Which type of acid does the human stomach use to digest food?

And the answer: hydrochloric.    

Photo credit: ISTOCK.COM/YODIYIM

Outside of the human body, hydrochloric acid is a corrosive compound, combining hydrogen with chlorine. Inside the body, it's part of the gastric juice that kills bacteria and helps break down food in your stomach.

While you may not be aware of it, your digestive system is working to support your body all the time. This means it is constantly creating the acids and extracting the nutrients your body needs to survive, such as saliva and other enzymes. Ultimately, this means your body churns out about 2 pints of saliva every day!

Meanwhile, the systems in your body work together to make digestion happen. The gut-brain axis is the close bond that exists between the digestive system and your brain. Emotions (including stress) can affect how your body digests food. After this axis does its job by communicating hunger, food can then be transported to the stomach through the esophagus, which uses peristalsis. Peristalsis performs like a wave, using muscles to push food down the correct tract.

Once in the stomach, enzymes are produced to separate food into the different nutrients that it needs. It will be broken down into these nutrients before moving the waste to the small intestine. Interestingly, the small intestine isn't so small at all— it's about 22-23 feet long! The large intestine, on the other hand, is only about 5 feet long.

Did you know?
Your stomach growling is called borborygmic, and happens all the time. It's much louder when your stomach is empty because there is no food to muffle it!




Question of the Day Mobile App

Subscribe

Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.