Digestion and absorption

McQuilken, S. A. (2021) Digestion and absorption. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, 22(5), pp. 336-338. (doi: 10.1016/j.mpaic.2020.12.009)

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Digestion and absorption describe the breakdown of food into small particles and their movement from the gastrointestinal lumen into the body. The main groups of nutrients absorbed from food are carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Water, minerals and vitamins are also absorbed by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Carbohydrates are enzymatically broken down into monosaccharides, which are absorbed across the small intestinal epithelium by passive (fructose) and active (glucose and galactose) mechanisms. Similarly, proteins are broken down from polypeptide chains into individual amino acids or dipeptides and tripeptides. Their absorption depends on their chemical properties and also occurs via passive and active processes that utilize a variety of membrane transporters. Lipids and lipid-soluble vitamins require bile salts for emulsification to aid absorption. Water follows osmotic gradients generated by the absorption of nutrients. Since the processes of digestion and absorption require mechanical and chemical processes that can damage the mucosa, the GI tract has evolved a number of defence mechanisms, including a mucous barrier and regular renewal of the epithelial lining.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McQuilken, Dr Shona
Authors: McQuilken, S. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine
ISSN (Online):1878-7584
Published Online:26 March 2021

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