Why is the Digestive System Important | 7 Essential Functions
The digestive system is the only way an external material has to go into the body.
Our body is so sensitive to the foreign solid or liquid matter.
The immune system does not let foreign matter enter our body.
For the organic matter except for the digestive route, no other route is acceptable to it.
If one injects fruit juice or other food material in liquid form, it would lead to an allergic reaction. This can even lead to anaphylactic shock and even death.
This indicates us how important is our digestive system.
Yet, there are many other reasons why it is important.
Why is the Digestive System Important?
- Demands food by hunger signal
- Prevents entry of pathogens into the body
- Provides enough nutrition
- Produces essential vitamins
- Controls pathogenic bacteria
- An excretory organ
- Expels harmful foods or substance consumed
Hunger signal a demand for food
When the body requires more nutrition, the digestive system gives the hunger signal. During hunger, there is secretion of hydrochloric acid. This irritates the stomach and one feels the pain of hunger. Once, the food is consumed, this pain subsides. So, it helps to take the food at right time. Even, this hunger makes us crave for food and we eat belly full. If not we would not know when to take food and also how much.
Provides enough nutrition
Food as such is hard to digest without cooking. In spite of cooking, the food material is not completely ready for absorption into the body. So, in the digestive system, food undergoes enzymatic action. This enzyme reaction converts food into easily absorbable nutrients. These are the glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. Hence, when the gut is not healthy, we can notice the food is not digested well and we tend to feel weak.
Prevents entry of pathogens into the body
When we take raw food material, it tends to have a lot of bacteria, fungi and other pathogens. These are destroyed once they enter the digestive system. Starting from the mouth till the stomach they are killed and neutralized. In the mouth, the saliva has lysosomal enzymes which kill the microorganisms. If they escape the salivary action, they will be dealt with in the stomach. In the stomach, there is acidic pH around 1.5. This is an unfavorable environment for any living cell. They are neutralized immediately by the acidic action.
Produces essential vitamins
Few vitamins like vitamin-K2 are formed in the digestive system. Besides, the vitamin-B12 is absorbed due to intrinsic factor in the intestine. If not for the gut, vitamins K and B12 would not be available to the body.
Controls pathogenic bacteria
In the gut, there are human beneficial bacteria. This bacterium is essential to keep the growth of other harmful under control. Hence, when the antibiotics are taken secondary infection develops. This is because besides disease-causing bacteria normal gut bacteria are killed. This leads to lack of control on pathogenic bacteria by normal gut-friendly bacteria.
An excretory organ
Digestive system also contributes to the excretion of waste materials. This can be direct or even indirect. The liver is an organ of metabolism. This liver expels the waste material into gut which is expelled out.
Expels harmful foods or substance consumed
When harmful food is taken, the digestive system does not digest and absorb them. Instead, it expels them out of the body.