What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is a (15~20)-cm-long tubular digestive gland, also called pancreatic gland, which is located across the back of the abdomen, just behind and below the stomach.
The pancreas has two main functions:
- Digestive function of pancreas: To produce pancreatic juice, which contains enzymes for the intestine to digest food – This pancreas function is called exocrine function of pancreas. Exocrine shows that it occurs outside the pancreatic gland.
- Endocrine and metabolic function of pancreas: To produce specific hormones: Insulin and glucagon, which play a central role in the regulation of blood sugar in the body. – This pancreas function is called the endocrine function of pancreas. Endocrine means that it has to do with hormones.
The product of pancreas exocrine cells is the pancreatic juice, that is a clear, alkaline (pH 7.8-8.4) liquid of 1-2 L/d containing digestive enzymes, which can help the intestine to break down the food for nutrient absorption.
Protective functions of the pancreas: The pancreatic juice contains bicarbonate (alkaline) that can neutralize acidic liquid coming from stomach, so that it protects the intestinal mucosa to avoid erosion.
Digest foods for nutrient absorption: The pancreatic juice has digestive enzymes to break down the food and nutrients, such as protein, fat, starch, which are the three major nutrient material.
The above-mentioned functions