Stomach Acidity (Low Levels?)
Posted 19 June 2004 - 12:35 AM
- Dad you're drunk, go home.
Posted 19 June 2004 - 11:23 PM
Posted 20 June 2004 - 11:38 AM
Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:45 PM
Do you remember the last time you said "Ahhhh, I'm too full to take another bite." Many of us will probably stop eating, while others may continue stuffing themselves because it is a buffet and they want to get their money's worth. The ones who stop eating might think that the ones who continue are crazy. How can one's stomach fit so much food? The stomach has a lot of functions and one these is to expand and contract.
This J-shaped organ has very active muscles. These muscles expand and contract depending on how much food is in the stomach. This contraction is a form of mechanical breakdown of the food. The purpose of this breakdown is to increase the available surface area for the chemicals to act on it. The gastric glands of the stomach secrete enzymes that perform chemical breakdown, partly digesting the proteins. Pepsin is the enzyme that breakdown protein. The gastric gland also secretes hydrochloric acid that kills almost all the bacteria in the food. It also secretes mucus that protects the stomach wall from the hydrochloric acid. By the time all the food is mechanically and chemically broken down, the food becomes a semi-fluid substance that leaves the stomach by peristalsis entering the small intestine.
The structure of the stomach is quite unique. It can be divided into four subdivisions: the cardia, the fundus, the body, and the pylorus. The cardia is the region that is closest to the heart and is where the esophagus is connected to the stomach. The fundus is the region that curves above the rest of the stomach (with respects to a person who is standing upward). The body of the stomach is the largest region located in the center. The pylorus is the region that is connected to the small intestine. The cardia and the pylorus have sphincter muscles that regulate the movement of food and fluids. You don't want the hydrochloric acid to goes back up you esophagus. When you vomit and have a burning sensation in your esophagus, it's the hydrochloric acid from the stomach.
The volume of the human stomach varies depending on the person. Generally, human stomachs have a volume about one liter, which is a little more than one quart. Since the stomach has the ability to expand, it can hold much more food. The human stomach can be distended up to four liters, which is more than one gallon. Imagine your stomach to be an empty one-gallon milk carton. There is plenty room for food! So the next time you go out to an "all you can eat" restaurant, remember that there is actually more room that you think that is available in your stomach. But honestly, stuffing oneself to the limit is not very safe or healthy. Don't abuse your stomach because you will need it for quite a long time.
Jonathan Cheng -- 2000
I made the comment on the liverflushing thread that I had read that those of Irish and Native American ancestry have low stomach acid by genetic propensity. I have both Irish and Native blood. If in fact, the stomach acid is low, that could mean that all the bacteria in food isn't sufficiently killed, perhaps passing onto other parts of the colon and small intestine.
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