The main function of the pancreas is to produce various enzymes which aid in the digestive process as well as to convert sugar to energy. The pancreas secrete enzyme and hormones, including insulin that is needed for the digestion and absorption of food.
The utilization of glucose in the body is regulated by insulin. Insulin is needed by all body tissues except the brain for the absorption of glucose. The failure of the pancreas to produce or secrete sufficient quantities of insulin will result in diseases called diabetes mellitus.
The pancreas are two organs. As a digestive organ, the pancreas secrete enzymes that help break food down into chemicals that the body can use. As an endocrine organ, the pancreas puts out two hormones that regulate the metabolism of carbohydrate with other functions. The pancreas that we often heard of, is the pancreatic hormone that regulates blood sugar insulin, however, there is a second one glucagon.
The islets of Langerhans are group of cells in the pancreas that put out insulin and glucagon. The pancreas secrets insulin when the level of sugar in the blood rises after a meal. The amount of sugar in the blood is reduced when the hormones move it through cell walls and into the cells themselves. The pancreas secretes glucagons when the blood sugar drops below what is needed by the brain and other tissues. The amount of sugar in the blood is increased by the hormone by assembling supplies of it from the liver.
The pancreas have a long duct that extends down its center. The enzymes that flow through ducts into the chief pancreatic duct and into the duodenum where the protein, carbohydrates, and fats are digested are secreted by the exocrine cells. In order to protect the small intestine and to create an environment in which the enzymes can function efficiently, the pancreas produces alkaline solution that neutralizes the acid in chyme in the duodenum.
Amazingly, the pancreas can accurately produce the right enzyme at the right time and the exact quantities needed to digest the food that you have eaten. The pancreas begins to pour its juice when the food enters into the duodenum. The release from the duodenal wall of a special hormone that travel through the blood and stimulate the pancreas is stimulated by the food mixture.
Pancreas is a Greek name which means "all flesh" or "all meat", a description of the protein composition of this small but mighty organ. The activation of its protein-digesting enzyme while in the pancreas are powerful enough to digest the pancreas itself.
Acute pancretitis is a condition that occurs if the pancreatic ducts is obstructed and the digestive enzymes accumulates in the pancreas. The substances that normally inhibit the activation of the enzyme are overwhelmed when this happens. This can damage and even destroy the pancreas by its own juices.