Stomach functions

The stomach is an elastic and hollow bag that has a "J" shape, which has a smooth outer surface, an internal surface that has folds that favor the mixing of food with different digestive juices, standing out precisely because it is the widest part of the digestive tube. It is a muscular organ, so that thanks to its contractions it is possible to complete the mechanical digestive action.

It is an important organ that we find located in the upper part of the abdomen, maintaining -for its location- important anatomical relationships in the liver, with the pancreas, the transverse colon and the bile duct.

We find it composed of a cardiac region, which limits with the esophagus through the cardia (a sphincter), the body or antrum (which makes up the middle region), and a pyloric region that communicates with the intestine (through the pyloric sphincter ).

The structure of the stomach

The stomach, as indicated above, has two sphincters: the cardia, which separates the stomach from the esophagus, and the pylorus, which separates the stomach from the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). It has two curvatures: the largest is directed to the left, while the smaller one is directed to the right.

The interior of the stomach is covered by a mucosa with folds or glands that are responsible for the production of enzymes capable of continuing the process of digestion. We can also distinguish a muscular layer that covers the submucosa, which is constituted by fibers that allow the mixture of food and give it resistance.

The main functions of the stomach

  • Temporary storage of the food.
  • Chemical digestion of proteins.
  • Mix the food bolus (formed with chewing) with the gastric secretion, until the chyme is obtained, a semiliquid mass that facilitates digestion.
  • Progressive emptying of the chyme at a rate compatible with both digestion and absorption by the small intestine.
  • Fragment the food into small particles mechanically.
  • Secrete the intrinsic factor, essential for the absorption in the ileum of vitamin B12.

In summary, there is no doubt that one of the main functions of the stomach is to aid in the process of digestion, actively participating in it by breaking the food and mixed with different enzymes and acids, finally releasing the resulting chyme to the small intestine.

Do you want to know more about the human body? We advise you to read our article about liver functions.

Image | Wikimedia TopicsStomach

Understanding the Human Stomach Anatomy With Labeled Diagrams (July 2024)