gall bladder

September 29, 2010

Bile Acid in the Stomach

Bile acid in the stomach plays a key role in the digestion of food in the small intestine. Two chief bile acids produced in the body include chenodeoxycholic acid and cholic acid. These acids assist in the creation of micelles, which aids in breaking down dietary fat, and is integral for the digestion of fat in the small intestine. Bile acid is a fluid secreted by the hepatocytes that flows into the canaliculi. From the canaliculi, it reaches the bile ducts, and is then transferred to the gall bladder where it is concentrated with time and the addition of other bodily fluids.

Bile acids are derived from the cholesterol inside of the hepatocytem, and are made up of hydrophilic or polar faces and lipid or hydrophobic faces. Cholesterol gets converted into chenodeoxycholic and cholic acids, which are two forms of bile acid. These are combined with amino acids and released into the canaliculi. This combined nature of bile acids enables them to perform two of the most important functions in the digestive system. The first one is the breaking down of fat globules into tiny microscopic droplets. This helps in fat digestion because the breaking down process creates more surface area for fats, which makes it accessible to the lipases for the purpose of digestion because the lipases cannot enter the droplets.

Bile acid in the stomach carries lipids, and is capable of transforming them into micelles, which are a combination of cholesterol, monoglycerides and fatty acids that can remain afloat in water. Fat soluble vitamins are transported and absorbed by bile acids as well.

Excess cholesterol in the body is also converted into bile acids and gets removed through bile each day. The concentration of bile acids is regulated in our bodies since these are potentially poisonous, and they are also present in the liver. These activate a hormone receptor of nuclear nature known as FXR. This activation resists the amalgamation of bile acid inside the liver when the level of bile acid is very high. Hence, these are also known as a ?signaling molecule?.

Bile acids are produced in large amounts inside the body. However, only a small amount is expelled from the body daily. Almost 95% of bile acids released are taken in by the blood inside the Ileum. Bile salt molecules are used and reused inside the body for at least 20 cycles. This occurs when bile acids are extracted carefully from sinusoidal blood by the hepatocytes. Some amount of it escapes from liver to systemic circulation. These acids again reach the canaliculi via the hepatocytes, reusing them for the process of digestion. Any kind of alteration in this process is an indication of hepatic diseases.

Just like acid reflux, bile reflux can also be caused inside the body which makes one?s digestive system weak. Overall, conducting a bile acid level test can help in the diagnosis of hepatic microvascular dysplasia, portosystemic shunt and cholestasis. Overactive bile acid in the stomach can cause extreme bodily conditions, and must be treated immediately.

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