The stomach is the widest and J-shaped muscular organ of our body. Its functions are much more complicated than only digesting your food. Being one of the most intimate organs of our gastrointestinal tract, it has a paramount responsibility.
People, in general, have no idea about the difference between the stomach and the rest of the intestines. If our abdomen aches, there could be various reasons for it. We name every pain in our lower or upper abdomen as ‘stomach pain’ due to a lack of enough knowledge related to our body. William Strunk Jr described the assumption of our people in his humorous way,
“Never call a stomach a tummy without a good reason”.
I realized this a few months back, when my college hosted an event on May 29, the World Digestive Health Day. The event was to make us aware of our stomach issues, features, and mysteries. They invited the doctors who are the best stomach specialists in Lahore. They taught us a lot about our hollow and expandable bean-shaped organ. Some of the bloodcurdling facts I found about our stomach as detailed below.
High Absorbing Ability
Our stomach is important for its astonishing absorbing ability. It absorbs vital nutrients from our food. The nutrients like vitamin B12 from the protein of our food. Vitamin B12 helps in our metabolism and ATP production. HCl and pepsin help in the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.
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Survival without stomach
It’s a fact that a person can live without his stomach. This removal of the stomach is known as a gastrectomy. A person without a stomach has to change his diet and has to eat small meals frequently.
Time to digest food
Our stomach is quite efficient in digesting food within 5 to 9 hours of eating. A few months back, when I had stomach pain, my doctor from Shalamar hospital identified it as an effect of the wrong timings of my meals. We should eat at least 4-5 hours before sleep.
Inducing various hormones
Though digesting food is an important function, our stomach multitasks and synthesizes various hormones. Some of the functions performed by the hormones secreted by our stomach are:
- Managing our hunger
- Release of enzymes from the pancreas
- Secretion of gastric acid
- Timely Gallbladder contraction
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Relation of Stomach with Weight
There is no such fact that an overweight person feels hungrier. The size of the stomach remains the same whether it’s of a 50 kg woman or a 100 kg woman.
Secretions of Stomach
The secretions of our stomach have the most important role. They secrete
- Hydrochloric acid destroys the microorganisms harming our body and maintaining the pH.
- Mucus secreted by the stomach helps in the protection of the stomach wall.
What are Stomach Ulcers?
A type of ulcer called a peptic ulcer is due to the infection by a bacteria named Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Sometimes, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or non-steroidal drugs causes peptic ulcers too. One of their severe effects of ulcers is the elimination of defense created by the stomach to protect its lining.
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A line of Defense
Our stomach serves as the first line of defense and aids our immune system. Hydrochloric acid can kill off bacteria and remaining toxins.
Moreover, lymphoid defense cells are present in our tract to protect us from viral or bacterial infections.
Size and Shape
It is quite surprising that the stomach can alter its size and shape. It depends on the size of our body and the amount of food we have eaten.
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Death of the stomach
Our stomach can be dead due to the stoppage of blood flow to the cells of the intestine. As a result, gangrene( intestinal tissue) dies. This severe situation leads to the chronic infection of leaking the intestinal contents into the abdomen.
Our bean-shaped organ is necessary for living a healthy life. A healthy gut ensures good health. More fiber in our diet can be proven helpful. Eating bakery items, more junk, and consumption of alcohol are menacing to our stomach. More acidic foods should be prevented to avoid the disbalance of pH. So, I learned about my stomach more because of these facts. I learned to take care of my digestive system. Live your life on the rule of James Althucher,
“Life is better when your sinuses are clean, when your arteries are clean, and when your digestive tract is clean.”– James Altucher