Where along the gastrointestinal tract do different nutrients get absorbed?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
All of the nutrients that come from food and supplements don't get absorbed in the same place; they're absorbed in various places in your gastrointestinal tract. Below are the rest stations where nutrients get absorbed along the body's GI tract. Because food pulls over at various spots in the intestinal tract, disease in these areas can cause nutritional deficiencies, even if we are eating the right foods.

  • Stomach: Alcohol.
  • Duodenum: First part of the small intestine (takes off from the stomach): Calcium, magnesium, iron, fat-soluble vitamins A and D, glucose.
  • Jejunum: Middle part of the small intestine: Fat, sucrose, lactose, fat-soluble vitamins A and D, water-soluble vitamins like folic acid, proteins and amino acids, glucose.
  • Ileum: Last part of the small intestine (leads to large bowel): Proteins and amino acids, water-soluble vitamins like folic acid, vitamin B12.
  • Colon: (also known as the large bowel): Water, potassium, sodium chloride, fatty acids from fiber digestion.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.