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Digestve aids: Your accessory organs, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas

Published: June 28, 2019

Your gastrointestinal tract is the interface between your external and internal environments. On its own it cannot complete the processes of digestion of the food and beverages you consume, and the absorption of the resulting nutrients.

Eating for healthy accessory organs
Eating for healthy accessory organs
Three accessory organs, your liver, gall bladder and pancreas, are intricately involved in digestion, absorption, and internal metabolism of nutrients acquired from your diet.
Your tongue and salivary glands are also considered accessory organs. Learn more about these two organs by linking to the article “your mouth and digestion".
Your accessory organs produce and/or store a variety of secretions essential for digestion.
When you ingest food and beverages various signals trigger the release of these secretions which are delivered to your small intestine.
Your liver and pancreas are also involved in many other metabolic processes which produce waste products which need to be removed from your body.
While these three organs are described individually in this article in reality their actions are dynamic and they work as a system with your gastrointestinal tract as well as your circulatory, hormonal and neurotransmitter systems.
Your liver
Your liver is the largest and one of the most important internal metabolic organs in your body and is involved in more than 500 metabolic processes.
It is positioned in your abdominal cavity just below your diaphragm and consists of one right and one left lobe. Each lobe is made up of many lobules which are constructed from hepatocytes (liver cells).
These lobules process nutrients from digestion and absorption and are the most metabolically active tissues in your body.
Nutrient products from digestion are absorbed into your body through the cells which line your gastrointestinal tract and end up in your blood in a part of your circulatory system known as...link to the full article to learn more.


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Medical Nutrition therapy for liver, Biliary system and exocrine pancreas disorders, Hasse, JM, Matrese, L. Wilkens, KG. In Mann. K. & Escott-Stump, S. (Eds.)(2004). Krause's Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy. (11th Ed.) Elsevier