The Large Intestine and Elimination

The chyme that enters the large intestine is different from the chyme that enters the small intestine. All of the nutrients that can be absorbed from the food have been absorbed, but a type of digestion still occurs in the large intestine.

Large numbers of bacteria that live in the large intestine finish digesting the chyme and use the nutrients for their own metabolism and growth. These bacteria also make vitamins that the body absorbs and uses. Vitamin K is one of those vitamins that the liver utilizes to make proteins used in blood clotting. This vitamin is so important to us that if these bacteria are removed by diarrhea or excessive antibiotic use, various parts of the body can bleed for two to three days after the bacteria are removed. The bacteria also make a variety of B vitamins that are used in the metabolism.

Most of the 9 quarts of water that were present in the small intestine have also been removed by this point. About 1 quart is left and all but about 3 to 4 ounces of this water will be absorbed by the large intestine, producing the feces that will be eliminated from the body.

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