Stomach and pancreas


Illustration of the stomach and pancreas. In the stomach, the food is mixed with acid, mucus and pepsin, and released into the duodenum, or small intestine, at a controlled, steady rate. The pancreas produces an exocrine secretion that neutralizes acid to prevent damage to the duodenal mucosa of the small intestine. It also breaks down proteins, fats and starch so that their constituents can be absorbed into the blood. The pancreas is also an endocrine organ. The major hormones it secretes - insulin and glucagon - are key to carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. They help the body maintain normal blood concentrations of glucose.

Credit: John M. Daugherty / Science Source

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