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What is the function of the small intestine?

The small intestine is a hollow, muscular tube about 20 feet long that comprises the longest part of your digestive system. Your small intestine connects your stomach above it to your large intestine (or colon) below it. Your small intestine has three parts.
  • The duodenum is a short section at the top of the small intestine that takes semi-digested food from your stomach and digests it further, using bile from your gallbladder and liver and enzymes from the pancreas.
  • The jejunum is the middle portion of the small intestine. It uses wave-like contractions to push the food through to the lower part of your small intestine. As the food moves through the jejunum it continues being digested and takes on a more fluid state.
  • The ileum is the longest part of the small intestine and the part from which most nutrients and liquid are absorbed from food, before the remainder of the food is deposited into the large intestine.

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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.