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Case study of nutritional biochemistry (with clinical implications) - Essay Example

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Case study of nutritional biochemistry (with clinical implications)

Because of its importance, an understanding of the processes by which organisms use up other biological products as source of energy is vital in the comprehension of the other processes that depend on it. This writing focuses on one of the conditions that adversely affect digestion, chronic pancreatitis. A case is discussed to better discuss the aspects of the disease, such as the pathophysiology and treatment. Anatomy and Physiology of Gastrointestinal Tract Upon eating, the teeth and tongue mechanically degrades the food, while the salivary amylase breaks down some of the carbohydrates into its smaller components. The bolus then passes the esophagus, which undergo peristaltic movement to allow the bolus to reach the stomach. The organ contains pepsinogen-secreting chief cells and acid-secreting parietal cells, making it the most suitable area for protein digestion. After 40 minutes to a few hours, the stomach will release chyme into the small intestine, where the ultimate degradation of food occurs. The pancreas produces carbohydrate-, protein-, and lipid-catabolizing enzymes. Similar to pepsin, these enzymes are stored in the gallbladder as deactivated proenzymes, together with emulsifying agents from the liver that allow the inherently insoluble fats and lipids to be exposed to the appropriate enzymes. The gallbladder releases this solution into the proximal part (duodenum) of the small intestine through the common bile duct. Upon release to the intestine, these proenzymes are converted to their respective active forms. Absorption of nutrients, water and minerals happens in the large intestine, which, in effect, produces the normally solidified stools that are released through the anus. Modulation of entry and exit of food from one organ to the next is possible through the sphincters that guard the openings of these organs (Campbell and Reece, 2002). Biochemical Processes in Digestion 1. The components of food Food is basically made up of three biomolecules, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Because the energy from carbohydrates is the most readily usable compared to those of the other two, it should be the most abundant component of every meal. Proteins, on the other hand, provide the building blocks of the endogenous proteins such as enzymes, transporters and messengers. Similarly, fats provide the building blocks for fat-based cellular components such as the cell and nuclear membranes and transporting micelles. Aside from that, fats are also significant sources of energy, as it contains the most amount of calories per weight (Campbell and Reece, 2002). 2. Enzymes in the gut The body has masterfully adapted to these differences among biomolecules. Amylase is already present in the oral cavity so that the calories in carbohydrates can be readily used for energy. As for proteins, food is kept long in the stomach so that even the most complicated structures are degraded by pepsin. Because the gut wall is made up of proteins as well, they should be protected from the activity of the proteinase. That is why the enzyme is initially available as a proenzyme, which is only activated by exposure to low pH levels. Fats, on the other hand, are inherently insoluble to the aqueous solution it is exposed to in the gut. For this reason, the emulsifying bile is produced by the liver (Koeppen and Stanton, 2010). As can be seen, the gut, pancreas and liver play equally important roles in the proper degradation of food. Digestion thus has multiple regulatory points by which the process can be modulated, dependent on the food taken in. As well, problems arising from one organ can significantly affect the whole digestion process. 3. Absorption and excretion After all the biomolecules have been ...Show more
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Summary

One of the main identifying characteristics of heterotrophs is the ability make use of other living things, which are made up of basically the same biomolecules: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and nucleic acid, to power their other functions…
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