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20.1: Overview

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    The function of the digestive system is to break down the foods you eat, release their nutrients, and absorb those nutrients into the body. Although the small intestine is the workhorse of the system, where the majority of digestion occurs, and where most of the released nutrients are absorbed into the blood or lymph, each of the digestive system organs makes a vital contribution to this process (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)).

    This diagram shows the digestive system of a human being, with the major organs labeled.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Components of the Digestive System All digestive organs play integral roles in the life-sustaining process of digestion. (CC-BY-4.0, OpenStax, Human Anatomy)

    Digestive System Organs

    The easiest way to understand the digestive system is to divide its organs into two main categories. The first group is the organs that make up the alimentary canal. Accessory digestive organs comprise the second group and are critical for orchestrating the breakdown of food and the assimilation of its nutrients into the body.

    Accessory digestive organs, despite their name, are critical to the function of the digestive system.


    This page titled 20.1: Overview is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax.

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