Intestines (overview)

The intestines are long tube-like structures that form a complex network within the abdominal and pelvic cavities. The intestines are the final portion of the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract, serving as a critical pathway for the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste from the body. The intestines are primarily responsible for chemical digestion processes, and they extend between the stomach (Read more!) and the anus.

This intricate tube system plays a fundamental role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Through a series of specialized processes, the intestines facilitate the breakdown of food into essential nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream to nourish various organs and structures of the body. In addition, remaining waste products in the intestines are collected into feces for elimination.

The intestines do not provide only digestion. They also produce various hormones. For instance, the duodenum and jejunum handle the secretion of cholecystokinin (CCK), secretin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), and motilin. Additionally, the walls of the intestines contain a high number of nerves, and for some people, the intestines can reflect how they are feeling - they might get diarrhea or constipation during stressful life events.

Moreover, the intestines harbor a diverse community of beneficial bacteria known as the gut microbiota, which play key roles in digestion, immune function, and overall health. From nutrient absorption to immune regulation, the intestines are indispensable for the optimal functioning and vitality of the human body.