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In Reply to: How Does the Body Absorb Nutrients? posted by jennyS [80.56] on December 03, 2011 at 12:04:54:
You need to chew thoroughly, which mechanically breaks down the food, and then the acids in the stomach tear it apart more.
The enzymes from the pancreas tear the food down into molecules, which happens as it passes through the small intestine, all 22 feet of it.
The bile from the liver saponifies fats, or breaks it down into tiny globules, so that fats and oils can pass through the intestinal membranes.
(Dish detergent also saponifies fats...so that when you wash dishes, the oils are broken up and can be washed away.)
There is a large quantity of beneficial bacteria in the intestines that also works on the food passing through, breaking it down and helping the carbohydrates and proteins to be absorbed, also the minerals and vitamins.
Molecules of carbohydrate, fats, and the amino acids that make up protein pass through the intestinal membranes and are picked up by the capillaries surrounding the intestines, going into the bloodstream.
When the blood goes through the liver, the liver makes glutathione and detoxifies any poisons.
When the blood goes through the kidneys, they filter out excess minerals, protein, fluid, etc., to get it all into the proper balance.
The molecules of nutrients from the food circulate in the bloodstream, and pass through the smallest of the blood vessels, the capillaries.
They pass through the cell membranes into each individual cell, so that the cell gets what it needs to make energy and function.
One example of how this works or can get screwed up is with transfats.
Fish oil has Omega 3 fatty acids that are used to make cell membranes...Omega 3's will strengthen and improve the integrity of the cell membranes.
The fatty acids in transfats (hydrogenated oils, like margarine) are inferior, and when incorporated into cell membranes result in an inferior product.
The oxygen and nutrients and minerals and enzymes that must pass through every cell membrane for the cells to work cannot travel as easily through a poorly constructed cell membrane, causing a deficit in the nutrients the cells need.
So, to recap, the food you eat is broken down into molecules in the intestines, and absorbed into the blood, where it is distributed to every cell in your body.
The cells use these nutrients to repair themselves and to make energy.
There is no other way for the cells of your body to get the stuff they need.
"You are what you eat."
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