Pancreas

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The pancreas produces both digestive enzymes and hormones in the body. The pancreatic digestive enzymes pass into the small intestine to breakdown carbohydrates, protein and fat so they can be absorbed and used by the body. Read on to learn more about the pancreas, and its role in digestion.

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Pancreas

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Liver, Pancreas and Spleen
Liver, Pancreas and Spleen

The pancreas is a glandular organ that is part of the digestive system and endocrine system. It secretes both digestive enzymes and hormones. The pancreas lies beneath the stomach and is connected to the small intestine at the duodenum.

The pancreas secretes the digestive enzymes trypsin, chymotrypsin, pancreatic lipase, and pancreatic amylase. These enzymes breakdown carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the chyme. The pancreas also secretes a bicarbonate into the duodenum to neutralize stomach acids to prevent damage to the small intestine. The production of these pancreatic enzymes is under control of the autonomic nervous system and hormones. The enzymes are secreted into the duodenum in response to the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin produced in the duodenum.

The two hormones secreted by the pancreas are insulin and glucagon. They are secreted directly into the bloodstream to regulate the level of glucose (i.e., sugar) in the blood. Insulin lowers the blood sugar level while glucagon increases the blood sugar level.

 

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