The pancreas is one of the few organs in the human body that actually belong to multiple systems. Not only does it secrete hormones that the body needs, but it also releases digestive enzymes that allow the body to process food and obtain the nutrition that is needed. You can find your pancreas just underneath your stomach and it is connected to the small intestines. Here are some interesting facts to keep in mind about this much needed part of the human body.
1. It Is Where Insulin Is Produced
One of the most important chemicals that the pancreas releases is insulin. This is what is released after food is consumed or if there is too much sugar in your blood for some reason. Insulin forces blood sugars to go into muscles or other cells so that it doesn’t cause damage to the body. The pancreas also produces a substance called glucagon, which forces the liver to release glucose when blood sugar levels are low.
2. Baking Soda Is Also Produced By The Pancreas
One of the unique functions of the pancreas is that it creates bicarbonate, which is basically just standard baking soda. This substance helps the body be able to neutralize the acids that are headed toward the small intestine from the stomach. It neutralizes the acids that are needed for digestion so that the nutrition content from the food can be absorbed through the remainder of the digestive tract.
3. It Has Its Own Version Of Taste Buds
How does the pancreas know how much insulin to release when people eat food? Because it has taste buds that are similar to what the tongue has. These taste receptors in the pancreas will “taste” how sweet the foods are that have been being eaten and then release an appropriate amount of insulin to support a balanced reaction to the glucose that has been created. Researchers believe this sweet tooth that the pancreas has is also triggered by fructose.
4. For Many Years, People Thought It Was The Brain And Not The Pancreas That Released Substances
It wasn’t until 1902, in fact, that physiologists were able to determine that the hormones released into the body actually came from secretions that were produced by the pancreas. Only in the last 100 years have we all really been able to get to know the pancreas in a much better way and that’s because of a scramble of research that happened between 1902-1950.
5. More Research Is Necessary
One of the issues that people face today is pancreatic cancer. It’s the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is often a silent killer because the symptoms during its early stages are so vague. It also spreads very quickly, which makes it much more difficult to treat. That’s why paying attention to how the body reacts on a daily basis and eating a daily diet filled with good nutrition choices is so critical to early detection and treatment.
The pancreas is an essential component of the body, fitting in with the endocrine and digestive systems. By taking care of this critical organ, we will be able to better care for ourselves every day.