Capsule endoscopy for investigating the digestion process

Post written by Shunji Fujimori, MD, PhD, AGAF, from the Department of Gastroenterology, Nippon Medical School, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

I tried to capture the endoscopic view of digestion and absorption processes in the small intestine. You can take ordinary food even after total gastrectomy. Of course, you can’t eat a lot because you can’t store enough food without your stomach. Animal-derived food can be almost completely decomposed with gastric acid/pepsin, but it takes time. All animal-derived food in the stomach can be digested for many days, such as in snakes, but food in the human stomach is usually digested within about 4 hours. The less-cooked meals that might have been served by ancient people would need more than 4 hours to digest in the stomach. However, the digestive capacity of the small intestine far outweighs gastric digestion. I think the video shows that many carbohydrates and proteins are digested and absorbed in about 4 hours after the start of the meal. This study was conducted several times using a variety of foods.

After I swallowed a lot of soy, I got strong nausea. I thought that the human body would recognize a soybean with seed coat as a foreign body.  In this video, chunk food was certainly digested and absorbed in the small intestine. This is important. It is also important that bile secretion was recorded. But the most important point was that the color density of seaweed faded away. In fact, I thought that plants are hardly absorbed in the small intestine in large chunks and that plant decomposition in the large intestine is mostly done by bacteria. But cytoplasm of plants was actually absorbed more than a little. I believe that the cell membrane was decomposed from the outside, perhaps by phospholipase A2. The small intestine seems to be able to destroy the cell membrane and absorb the cytoplasm without the need to destroy the cell wall. This was a great discovery for me.

Read the full article online.

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