What is Stomach, Stomach Functions And Facts
A few words answer to “What is stomach?” is that this curved elastic pouch constitutes a principal component of our digestive system which, after receiving food from the esophagus, churns and partly digests it. Placed to the left in the upper abdominal region of the body, an average individual's stomach measures about 12 inches in length and has a width of around 6 inches. The J-shaped hollow structure can easily hold one liter of food on average. However, the overall capacity may vary from one individual to another. This muscular organ can also expand to accommodate a greater volume of food. Therefore, it is said to possess an amazing level of elasticity and can change its size according to an organism’s requirements.
When food enters from esophagus, one of the functions of the stomach is to release enzymes that help in the digestive mechanism. The pH here is two (2) that provides the optimum acidity environment for the maximized activity of pepsin, a protein-digesting enzyme. The stomach muscles contract and relax in order to physically mix the food well with the released enzymes.
Food stays in the stomach for around two to five hours. After undergoing partial digestion, the chyme leaves the stomach to enter the small intestine followed by entry to the large intestine. The passage of food into and out of the stomach is controlled by two muscular valves. Food enters the stomach from the esophagus through the lower esophageal or cardiac sphincter. On the other hand, the passage of food from the stomach into the intestine takes place through the pyloric sphincter. You are also advised to read out the facts about the stomach in this article that are very interesting.
Stomach carries out the physical and chemical digestion of food. When the muscles contract and relax periodically, food is physically digested. The other stomach function, i.e. the chemical digestion of food, is aided by enzymes secreted by glands found in the walls of stomach.
However, not all classes of food are digested here. It is the protein component of our diet which is broken down into smaller constituent parts. The enzyme secreted by the surrounding glands is called pepsin which is the specific biological catalyst required for protein breakdown. It requires an acidic medium for its optimum activity. Therefore, as one of the stomach functions, hydrochloric acid or HCL is produced in order to maintain an acidic environment.
The release of HCL also serves another important function in the stomach: killing pathogens. Thus, doing away with harmful bacteria is an additional function of the stomach which helps you avoid different kinds of diseases.
Interesting Stomach Facts
Here are some interesting pieces of information about your belly. Just read and, besides enjoying yourself, add to the pool of your knowledge.
- The production of mucus inside this saclike structure is meant to prevent the enzymes from digesting the walls of the organ itself.
- Contrary to the general belief, the stomach function is not to digest food completely. In fact, it is the small intestine where most of the food is broken down and assimilated.
- The pH of the stomach is about 2, i.e. strongly acidic!
- People can survive without a stomach if it has to be removed due to some disease.
- It can expand to hold as much as 4 liters of food at a time.
- Stomach diseases that disturb stomach function can be prevented by taking a balanced diet and ensuring better hygienic conditions. Regular exercise can also keep the whole of our body in a healthy state.
- The average length of small intestine in human males and females is measured to be 6.9 and 7.1 meters, respectively.
- The bile juice, produced by liver and stored in gallbladder, assists in the digestion of fats in the diet.
Interesting Stomach Facts for Kids
Kids like interesting facts about anything more than the adults do. Listed below are some of the truly enjoyable stomach facts for kids:
- You can have an idea about the amazing strength of the stomach acid from the fact that if taken out and poured on the palm, it may create a hole in the hand!
- In case of discomfort in stomach, you usually point to the region of body that is not stomach but abdomen! Where is its exact location then? This digestive organ is placed in the left upper part of your belly.
- Do you know which organ of the body serves as a first line of defense for immune system? It is the elastic pouch, called stomach. The concentrated hydrochloric acid present in it serves to kill germs, including bacteria and viruses.
- It is one of the stomach facts that when your face turns red, the lining of stomach also assumes reddish appearance!
- Belching or burping is the easiest way to get rid of the air that is taken into stomach through food or carbonated drinks.
- It is the thick layer of mucus that prevents the protein digesting enzyme, called pepsin, from digesting the wall of stomach.
- After every two weeks a fresh layer of mucus is secreted on the inner lining of the stomach.
- Owing to the absence of stomach in their body, the animals like hydras and roundworms cannot move around as easily as the animals with stomach do.
- The presence of stomach enables the organisms have smarter bodies and run larger brains!
- Contrary to the popular myth, the size of stomach in smarter people is not smaller—it is of the same size in all individuals!
- Do you know eating carbohydrates makes you get hunger pangs very quickly, while fats do not make you feel hungry for a comparatively longer duration?
- The animals, like deer, cows and giraffe usually have stomachs with multiple chambers. However, you cannot call these compartments as separate stomachs.