Chapter

General Principles of Gastrointestinal Function— Motility, Nervous Control, and Blood Circulation

The alimentary tract provides the body with a continual supply of water, electrolytes, and nutrients. To achieve this requires (1) movement of food through the alimentary tract; (2) secretion of digestive juices and digestion of the food; (3) absorption of water, various electrolytes, and digestive products; (4) circulation of blood through the gastrointestinal organs to carry away the absorbed substances; and (5) control of all these functions by local, nervous, and hormonal systems.

Figure 62-1 shows the entire alimentary tract. Each part is adapted to its specific functions: some to simple passage of food, such as the esophagus; others to temporary storage of food, such as the stomach; and others to digestion and absorption, such as the small intestine. In this chapter, we discuss the basic principles of function in the entire alimentary tract; in the following chapters, we will discuss the specific functions of different segments of the tract.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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