Why is the Digestive System Important | 7 Essential Functions

The digestive system is the only way an external material can enter the body without any problems. It has some essential functions like

  1. By hunger signal, it demands food for the body
  2. Prevents entry of pathogens into the body
  3. Provides enough nutrition
  4. synthesizes essential vitamins
  5. Controls pathogenic bacteria
  6. An excretory organ
  7. Expels harmful foods or substance consumed

Our body is so sensitive to foreign material, either in solid or liquid form.

The immune system does not let foreign matter enter our bodies.

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 will lead to an allergic reaction. This can even lead to anaphylactic shock and even death.

This indicates 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

  1. When the body requires more nutrition, the digestive system gives the hunger signal.
  2. During hunger, there is a secretion of hydrochloric acid. This irritates the stomach and one feels the pain of hunger.
  3. Once the food is consumed, this pain subsides. So, it helps to take the food at the right time.
  4. Even this hunger makes us crave food, and we eat belly full. If not, we would not know when to take food and also how much.
Why is the Digestive System Important

Provides enough nutrition

  1. Food as such is hard to digest without cooking. Despite cooking, the food material is not completely ready for absorption into the body.
  2. So, in the digestive system, food undergoes enzymatic action. This enzyme reaction converts food into easily absorbable nutrients.
  3. These are glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids.
  4. Hence, when the gut is not healthy, we can notice the food is not digested well and tend to feel weak.

Prevents entry of pathogens into the body

  1. When we take raw food material, it tends to have many bacteria, fungi and other pathogens.
  2. These are destroyed once they enter the digestive system. Starting from the mouth to the stomach, they are killed and neutralized.
  3. In the mouth, the saliva has lysosomal enzymes which kill the microorganisms.
  4. If they escape the salivary action, they will be dealt with in the stomach. In the stomach, there is acidic pH of around 1.5.
  5. This is an unfavorable environment for any living cell. They are neutralized immediately by the acidic action.

Synthesizes essential vitamins

  1. Few vitamins like vitamin-K2 are formed in the digestive system.
  2. Besides, the vitamin-B12 is absorbed due to intrinsic factors in the intestine.
  3. If not for the gut, vitamins K and B12 would not be available to the body.
Why is the Digestive System Important-gut bacteria

Controls pathogens like bacteria

  1. An intestine is a place where there are many human beneficial bacteria.
  2. This bacterium is essential for the formation of vitamin-K and controlling the growth of other harmful bacteria.
  3. When we take antibiotics, there are chances of the development of secondary infections. This is because the antibiotics kill both disease-causing bacteria and normal gut bacteria.
  4. This leads to a lack of control of pathogenic bacteria by normal gut-friendly bacteria.

Acts as an excretory organ

The digestive system also contributes to the excretion of waste materials.

This can be direct or even indirect. For example, the liver is an organ of metabolism. This liver expels the waste material into the gut, which is expelled out.

Expels harmful foods or substance consumed

When harmful food is taken, the digestive system does not digest them. Instead, it expels them out of the body in the form of vomiting or diarrhea.

So, it has a safety feature too.

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