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Difference between Small Intestine and Large Intestine

Biology has varied concepts that talk about various parts of the human body like the respiratory system, intestines, immune system, nervous system, etc. All these systems combine and form the human body. The human body is a web of systems that work simultaneously with one another in order to keep the body going. If any of these systems do not work properly, the entire body can be hampered or collapsed. With the progressing time, people are becoming aware of keeping the body healthy either through yoga, meditation, or any other physical exercises. The body is healthy if we take care of it. So today, we will be discussing about one of the major parts of the body that helps it in growing and being healthy, i.e., the large and small intestine. Let us briefly discuss their primary meanings.

Small Intestine vs Large Intestine

Small Intestine

The small intestine is defined as a tube-like structure that is responsible for connecting the large intestine and the stomach. The small intestine is of 20 feet in length which is folded in the abdomen. The small intestine is categorized into three parts, namely ileum, duodenum, and jejunum. All these three parts are responsible for good digestion. Digestion is carried out by the small intestine. One of the major functions of this part is that it absorbs the nutrients from the stomach into the bloodstream. The small intestine secretes enzymes, and the remaining digestion is done by the liver and pancreas. Digestion of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates is undertaken by the small intestine. In order to keep the small intestine healthy, there are several steps that must be taken by an individual. These steps are:

  • Lowering the stress levels
  • Eating slowly
  • Getting a good amount of sleep
  • Hydrate yourself
  • Changing the diet, etc.

Large Intestine

The large intestine is the last part of the gastrointestinal tube. It is also called the colon and is responsible for absorbing water into the system. Apart from that, it is also responsible for storing the waste material before defecation. The large intestine performs four significant functions. They are:

  • Recovering electrolytes and water
  • Forming and storing of feces
  • Fermenting indigestible food
  • Restricting the entry of material from the ileum

The primary purpose of the large intestine is to absorb salt and water from the food that has not been digested by the small intestine. The large intestine is divided into five significant parts, namely cecum, sigmoid colon, ascending colon, descending colon, and transverse colon. The food stays for around 2-5 hours in the large intestine for the absorption and digestion process. Now, let us look at some of the major contrasting points between them.

1. The small intestine is defined as the long tube-like structure that is responsible for carrying out the process of digestion in the body. On the other hand, the large intestine is defined as the last part of the gastrointestinal tract wherein the absorption of salts and water occurs.
2. The digestion of all sorts of food takes place here. The absorption of water and salt from undigested food takes place here.
3. The size of the small intestine is larger than the large intestine, i.e., 20 feet. The large intestine is much smaller than the small intestine.
4. Despite the length, the small intestine is narrowly structured. Since the length is not much of the large intestine, it is much widely structured.
5. The small intestine has three components, namely ileum, jejunum, and duodenum. The large intestine four components, namely the colon, anal canal, cecum, and rectum.
6. The small intestine shows some movement in the abdomen while digesting. The large intestine hardly shows any movement in the abdomen.
7. The nutrients absorption takes place in this part. Electrolytes, water, salts, etc., are absorbed in the system through the large intestine. Apart from this, vitamin K and biotin are also produced by the large intestine.
8. The muscles in the small intestine are arranged in circular layers. The muscles in the large intestine are arranged in a three-band structure called Teniae Colie.
9. The inner walls have villi, i.e., the finger-like projections on the walls. The large intestine does not have such villi.
10. The small intestine is a connecting tube among the large intestine and the stomach. The large intestine is the ending part that is responsible for defecation. It does not act as a connecting link between any parts.

So, these are some of the differences between the small and large intestine. It is interesting to note that both of these parts carry out the function of digestion and absorption in the body. Now, let us look at some of the major functions of the small and large intestine.

Functions of the Small Intestine

  1. Digestion of Proteins: Enzymes like chymotrypsin and trypsin are secreted by the pancreas. They further break into smaller parts called peptides. Due to this breakdown, the proteins are digested by the small intestine.
  2. Digestion of Lipids: The lipase enzyme is secreted by the pancreas that acts upon the fats in the food. The lipase enzyme is soluble and breaks itself into much smaller parts. Due to this breakdown, the absorption of lipids takes place.
  3. Digestion of Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are broken into a sugar called glucose. Sometimes the food is undigested, and it is passed into the large intestine. Here further breakdown takes place, resulting in the digestion of carbohydrates.

Functions of the Large Intestine

  1. Absorption of Electrolytes and Water: The food present in the large intestine leads to contractions. These contractions help in mixing the residues of food, leading to water absorption. Electrolytes are absorbed by sodium ions present in the body.
  2. Formation and transport of Feces: Feces contain bacteria, fiber, undigested food, etc., due to which the formation takes place. These are broken into several small parts, which help in lubricating the feces and transporting it.

So, these are some major functions performed by the small and large intestines. Both small and large intestines are necessary for keeping the system aligned. Digestion and absorption take place in these intestines. Thus, the small intestine, as well as the large intestine, is one of the essential parts of the human body.

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