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The digestive system plays an important role in keeping the body healthy. The function of the digestive system occurs in several stages. This function starts from swallowing food through the mouth and continues till the passing of stool. The function of the digestive system is divided into mainly six phases. It is very important for everyone to be aware of these functions of the digestive system. In this article, you’ll learn more about each of these phases. 

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

  1. Digestion Stage 1: Ingestion
  2. Digestion Stage 2: Propulsion
  3. Digestion Stage 3: Physical Digestion
  4. Digestion Stage 4: Chemical Digestion
  5. Digestion Stage 5: Absorption
  6. Digestion Stage 6: Waste Elimination
  7. Takeaway
Doctors for The 6 stages of digestion

This is the first stage of the digestion process and it begins as soon as we put the food in the mouth. It continues as we start using our teeth to chew and grind food. This breaks down the food and mixes it with saliva.

(Read more: Home remedies for indigestion)

The second stage of digestion is propulsion. It involves the process of swallowing. Propulsion starts when we swallow food and it travels down the stomach through the esophagus. Sphincters are two bundles of muscles present at both ends of the esophagus. Their function is to prevent food from going to the next system without chewing it. Also, it helps in preventing acid build-up in the stomach.

(Read more: Digestive disorders)

Physical digestion is the third stage of digestion and begins with the mouth, in which the food is chewed and broken down by the teeth. After that, the food goes through the esophagus to your stomach. Then, the alimentary system and the muscles that filter the stomach help mix the food. In the end, what you have eaten gets mixed with stomach acid. Chewed food, which mixes with digestive acid, is called chyme.

(Read more: Home remedies for stomach pain)

Like physical digestion, chemical digestion also begins once the food is in the mouth. It combines food with the enzymes present in saliva to break down starch. Chemical digestion plays a vital role in the whole process through the digestive system as it helps in breaking down the food into chemical components apart from just mixing the acid present in your stomach with the food. According to the National Library of Medicine, the majority of chemical digestion occurs in the small intestine.

(Read more: Bloating)

Absorption is the phase that involves the transport of food throughout the body. In this process, the nutrients present in the digestive system such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are absorbed by the whole body through the bloodstream. This action is mainly done by the small intestine.

(Read more: Stomach ulcer)

The final stage of digestion is waste elimination. After absorption in this phase, waste material such as feces and other material reaches the large intestine. The remaining water and electrolytes are reabsorbed into the body through blood circulation. Large intestine waste material remains collected until the stool is passed out through the anus.

(Read more: Stomach ache)

The process of digestion is completed in these 6 steps. If there is any kind of obstruction in any one of these 6 stages, then the whole digestive system can be affected and due to which you may experience problems related to the stomach and digestion. In such a situation, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Dr. Nipa Brahmbhatt

Dr. Nipa Brahmbhatt

General Physician
13 Years of Experience

Dr. Rohith Jaiswal

Dr. Rohith Jaiswal

General Physician
8 Years of Experience

Lalitha Nageshwari

Lalitha Nageshwari

General Physician
1 Years of Experience

Dr. Sneha Patil

Dr. Sneha Patil

General Physician
5 Years of Experience

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