What happens in the stomach to clean our food? The stomach produces acid that kills bacteria. This acid, called hydrochloric acid, can burn through metal. This acid is able to do this because it is protected by mucus. The acid also activates digestive enzymes, sterilizing food. The process is necessary because our food is clean and modern, while early humans probably ate tree bark that was bug infested or dead animals.

Acidic gastric juice kills bacteria

The acidic gastric juice, or stomach acid, is a colorless, watery substance that is produced during digestion. Its primary function is to break down food particles and kill bacteria. Its acidity is between 1 and 3 and consists primarily of hydrochloric acid (HCl). The high acidity kills bacteria and breaks down food into small particles that are absorbed through the intestinal walls or the bloodstream.

Gastric acid is also known to denature proteins and activate pepsinogen, which is essential for enhancing the absorption of dietary iron and calcium. While these functions are important, their primary purpose is to kill ingested microorganisms. This concept is based on findings from decades ago. For instance, Hurst emphasized the importance of gastric acidity in the body’s defense against protozoa.

Mucus layer

The mucus layer in the stomach decontaminates food and acts as the first line of defense against infiltration. It coats the interior surface of the GI tract, lubricates luminal contents, and contains polymers that give mucus its gel-like viscosity. The secretion rate and the breakdown rate of the bacteria found in the mucus layer influence the composition and function of this natural barrier.

The mucus layer of the stomach is composed of glycans that make up 80% of the protein mass. They are located perpendicularly to the protein core, giving it a bottle brush-like appearance. They are linked to sialic acid, fucose, and sulfate, and are involved in the interactions between mucus and the host microbial community.

Peristalsis

When we eat, our bodies decontaminate food by causing waves of contractions in the muscles of our digestive tract, a process known as peristalsis. This process involves contractions of both longitudinal and circular muscles, which work in concert to propel food through the digestive tract. Peristalsis occurs throughout the digestive process and is the most common reason for constipation and bacterial overgrowth.

The alimentary canal is a continuous tube that consists of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, small intestine, and large intestine. The esophagus is the first stage in the process of digestion, and it is lined with mucus and other substances that aid in food propulsion. The second stage, called the pylorus, occurs when the muscle contractions of the esophagus cause waves of food to move forward.

Pyloric sphincter

The pyloric sphincter is a muscle found at the junction of the stomach and small intestine. It controls the rate at which food is broken down and mixed with digestive juices, which is known as chyme. The stomach is comprised of three main sections: the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. During the digestive process, food passes through the pylorus with the help of gastric juice, which is a thick acidic liquid.

During digestion, the pyloric sphincter controls the passage of partially digested food into the small intestine. It acts as a valve, opening and closing depending on the amount of food in the stomach. A weak or dysfunctional pyloric sphincter can cause gastrointestinal problems. If you have a weak or diseased pyloric sphincter, you may need to watch your blood sugar level and make sure that you do not overeat.

Hydrochloric acid

Despite what most people think, hydrochloric acid can actually harm the body. This substance is made by the proton pump, a special protein within a cell or organelle. The pump moves protons across a cell membrane via active transport. Protons are the leftovers from a hydrogen atom, while an electron is the oppositely charged particle. In the stomach, the two substances are equivalent and are called hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid is a crucial component of digestion and plays an essential role in breaking down proteins. It also secretes intrinsic factor, which is needed by the digestive system to absorb vitamin B12.

Norovirus

Thankfully, norovirus is not a life-threatening illness. Although it can take two weeks to rid the body of the virus, prevention is key. Hand washing is a vital part of the recovery process. People infected with norovirus should not eat or prepare food for three days after getting sick. Instead, they should wash their hands frequently, and not handle food with bare hands. Infected individuals should never share food or drinks with anyone else, and should not touch their own food or those of another person who has the virus.

Norovirus has evolved to a more refined stage of development. New diagnostic methods allow doctors to identify outbreaks of norovirus with high accuracy. Norovirus outbreaks are typically found in high-risk settings, and outbreaks tend to be more widespread during colder months. Infections can spread to people at many levels, including food handlers and wedding guests. The disease has a high rate of recurrence among high-risk groups, which makes it a serious concern.