What is the function of the small intestine?

Asked By: Wenxin Gaia | Last Updated: 14th April, 2020
Category: medical health digestive disorders
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The small intestine is the part of the intestines where 90% of the digestion and absorption of food occurs, the other 10% taking place in the stomach and large intestine. The main function of the small intestine is absorption of nutrients and minerals from food.

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Subsequently, one may also ask, what are the functions of the 3 parts of the small intestine?

It lies between the stomach and large intestine, and receives bile and pancreatic juice through the pancreatic duct to aid in digestion. The small intestine has three distinct regions – the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.

Subsequently, question is, what is the function of the intestine? Its job is to absorb most of the nutrients from what we eat and drink. Velvety tissue lines the small intestine, which is divided into the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The large intestine (colon or large bowel) is about 5 feet long and about 3 inches in diameter. The colon absorbs water from wastes, creating stool.

Simply so, how does the small intestine work?

The small intestine, or small bowel, is a hollow tube about 20 feet long that runs from the stomach to the beginning of the large intestine. The small intestine breaks down food from the stomach and absorbs much of the nutrients from the food.

What is in the small intestine?

The small intestine has three parts: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. It helps to further digest food coming from the stomach. It absorbs nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and water from food so they can be used by the body. The small intestine is part of the digestive system.

37 Related Question Answers Found

What is the pH of the small intestine?

The pH gradually increases in the small intestine from pH 6 to about pH 7.4 in the terminal ileum. The pH drops to 5.7 in the caecum, but again gradually increases, reaching pH 6.7 in the rectum.

What causes inflammation in the small intestine?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Overview
Instead, it is a result of the immune system attacking a harmless virus, bacteria, or food in the gut, causing inflammation that leads to bowel injury. Two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon or large intestine.

How can I strengthen my small intestine?

Seven steps to optimal digestive health
  1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods.
  2. Eliminate food allergies.
  3. Treat any infections or overgrowth of bugs.
  4. Replenish your digestive enzymes.
  5. Rebuild your rain forest of friendly bacteria.
  6. Get good fat.
  7. Heal your gut lining.

What problems can you have with your small intestine?

Problems with the small intestine can include:
  • Bleeding.
  • Celiac disease.
  • Crohn's disease.
  • Infections.
  • Intestinal cancer.
  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Ulcers, such as peptic ulcer.

What happens to the food in small intestine?


The small intestine absorbs most digested food molecules, as well as water and minerals, and passes them on to other parts of the body for storage or further chemical change. Specialized cells help absorbed materials cross the intestinal lining into the bloodstream.

What enzymes are produced in the small intestine?

Why are enzymes important for digestion?
  • Amylase is produced in the salivary glands, pancreas, and small intestine.
  • Protease is produced in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine.
  • Lipase is produced in the pancreas and small intestine.

What part of the small intestine is closest to the stomach?

The duodenum connects the stomach to the small intestine.

Can you live without a small intestine?

Intestinal Failure
Most people can live without a stomach or large intestine, but it is harder to live without a small intestine. When all or most of the small intestine has to be removed or stops working, nutrients must be put directly into the blood stream (intravenous or IV) in liquid form.

Is there poop in the small intestine?

Bowel Movement
Your stool passes out of your body through the rectum and anus. Another name for stool is feces. It is made of what is left after your digestive system (stomach, small intestine, and colon) absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink. Sometimes a bowel movement isn't normal.

How do you check the small intestine?


Upper endoscopy (EGD) is a test that enables the physician to look inside the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), as well as the esophagus and stomach. For the procedure a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope swallowed.

How long is a small intestine?

Small/Large Intestine Length Ratio. In humans, the small intestine is about 6 meters or 20 feet long and the large intestine is about 1.5 meters or 5 feet long. The gastrointestinal tracts of the Chimpanzee, Orangutan, and adult human and a human fetus were studied and compared by Stevens and Hume in 1995.

Why is the small intestine the most important organ of the digestive system?

The small intestine is the most important organ of the digestive system because it carries the major digestion and absorption of digestion food. Food is exposed to several digestive enzymes in small intestine only. Ileum of the small intestine has a large surface area that helps in the absorption of digested food.

How long does it take for food to pass through the small intestine?

After you eat, it takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine. Food then enters your large intestine (colon) for further digestion, absorption of water and, finally, elimination of undigested food.

How much of the small intestine can be removed?

The small intestine is quite adaptive; in fact, even with removal of up to 40% of it, appropriate digestion is still possible.

What is the importance of the small intestine?


Function. The main functions of the small intestine are to break down, or digest, food and to absorb nutrients, such as electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. The small intestine is the most important absorbing organ in the GI tract. About 90% of nutrient absorption takes place in the small intestine.

Why is the small intestine so long?

The small intestine is so long because it needs a maximum amount of surface area to increase digestion and nutrient absorption.

Can you survive without large intestine?

You can live without a large intestine - something that comes as a shock to many people. The large intestine or colon has one primary role, water and electrolyte absorption to concentrate the stool. It plays little role in metabolism and people can live full lives without their large intestine.