Introduction to the Human Digestive System

Learn more about the human digestive system.

Free Course
Learn more about the human digestive system.




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The human body cannot generate energy itself and so must obtain it from external sources. Energy from the sun is captured by plants, which in turn are eaten by animals. We humans use these plants and animals as food sources but, in order to obtain the energy we require from them, our food must be broken down into smaller molecules that the body can process. This is accomplished by a complex series of organs known as the digestive system.

This human physiology course provides a clear introduction to the human digestive system. In this course you will learn how energy is obtained from food and be introduced to the different food types and vitamins. The course looks at the stages involved in ingestion and swallowing, describing how the stomach is designed for food storage and the initial processing of food. How the small and large intestines are structured to facilitate the digestion and absorption of nutrients is also examined. The course also provides an overview of the elimination of the waste products of digestion from the body. It outlines the special roles played by the liver and pancreas in the secretion of digestive enzymes. The mechanisms used by the digestive system to protect the body from infection are covered. This includes looking at the tonsils and other lymphoid tissue in the small and large intestine and explaining how the mammary gland protects the breastfeeding baby from infection.

This human physiology course will be of great interest to healthcare professionals who would like a greater understanding of the human digestive system and its importance in human physiology, and to students of biology, medicine and nursing who would like to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the human digestive system.

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Learning Outcomes

After completing this course you will be able to: - Describe the structure of the human digestive system; - and explain the functions of the human digestive system.


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