What Is the Role of Saliva in the Digestion of Food?

What Is the Role of Saliva in the Digestion of Food?

Are you wondering what is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food? Do you always think is it necessary to have Saliva in your mouth? Well, if you do, then start scrolling down! Here we will give you a vivid idea about the role of Saliva in the digestion of food and how it works excellently as digestive fluid!

What is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food?

Saliva starts off the digestion process from the mouth. When you eat food, it gets mixed in the mouth while chewing with digestive fluid – Saliva. It helps to soften the substance of food, and it acts as the first process of digestion. You must know that the salivary glands secrete the fluid Saliva.

Saliva helps food to get swallowed by damping the food. It has salivary Amylase, which is an enzyme that is used for digestion. And this enzyme disintegrates the starch and transforms it into sugar. Let us check out ways that show Saliva is crucial for digestion:

  • Saliva works as a lubricant and dampens the food to make it easy to swallow.
  • It helps food substances to linger together to form the bolus. Then you can swallow the food in mass.
  • Saliva destroys the germs, which result in tooth decay and keeps the mouth clean.
  • Saliva’s ptyalin converts the starch and from Maltose.

Animals and humans have Saliva, which consists of Salivary Amylase. It is an enzyme that is very crucial for digestion. Salivary Amylase’s function is to convert the starches and convert it into sugars. This enzyme works as an essential aid in the process of digestion. And it is best you know that the amylose and amylopectin of food converted into Maltose. Moreover, the process follows the polysaccharides’ hydrolysis reaction forming disaccharides.

More about the role of Saliva in the digestion of food

The submandibular gland produces significant volume while the parotid gland produces a lesser amount of Saliva. Saliva works as a mixing agent which helps food to create ‘boluses, easily swallowable matter. Rather than bolus formation, it helps to build the human taste system. The utmost enzyme is Amylase. And it is majorly found in Saliva, which is secreted by parotid glands. Amylase breaks the complex scratch into a simpler form (Maltose, Oligosaccharide).

Another vital enzyme that stimulates the fat breakage system. Lipid digestive enzyme- Lipase brings about nonesterified fatty acid that plays a significant role in oral fat digestion. Moreover, chronologically breaking down the food bolus leads to proper digestion, taste sensitivity, and flavor generation.

It has been specified that the hypotonic nature of Saliva enhances the tasting ability with the help of gustin and protein agents. Saliva initiates the most complex mechanism by breaking the starch of external food. Amylase, lipase, and some protease help ‘food bolus’ to undergo the swallowing process. So it is essential to be aware of what is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food.

What Is the Role of Saliva in the Digestion of Food?

What is Saliva State its role in the digestion of food

The human body is not less than a super-intelligent computer. Everyone should know its manual properly so that it could function properly. In the human body, everything and anything that is present or secret or produced has definitely some primary purpose, directly or indirectly.

What does Saliva consist of?

Saliva arrives from three salivary glands -Parotid gland(largest ), Submandibular, and sublingual. The salivary gland produces an extracellular liquid that contains electrolytes (Potassium, Magnesium, bicarbonate, chloride, phosphate, Iodine), mucus, enzymes (Mucins, Protease), antimicrobial components like Isoenzyme, IgA, white blood cells, Urea, Ammonia, and 99.49% of water.

What is the function of digestive enzyme?

Digestive enzymes are crucial in disintegrating the substance of food which we intake. Moreover, the proteins of food accelerate the chemical reaction. It then converts nutrients of food into such substances, which the digestive tract can absorb.

Human organs like the gallbladder, liver, pancreas release enzymes that are present in Saliva. And the intestines store such salivary enzymes on their surface of cells also.

Process how enzymes work in absorbing nutrients

Let’s see how several enzymes work towards absorbing different nutrients and what is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food:

  • Amylase disintegrates the starch and carbohydrates.
  • Protease breaks down proteins
  • Lipase works on fats.

Natural sources that contain digestive enzymes

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

There are other food sources also from where you can extract several enzymes which help digestion. So, eating those foods can bring improvement in the digestion procedure.

What Is the Role of Saliva in the Digestion of Food?

Amylase sources

Let us check out some ways in which you can get Amylase:

  • Honey consists of protease and Amylase.
  • Mangoes have Amylase
  • Banana also contains Amylase

This Amylase helps bananas and mangoes to ripen. Papaya contains papain which is a kind of protease. Avocados consist of lipase digestive enzymes. And fermented cabbage or sauerkraut fetch enzymes during the process of fermentation.

Your body needs enough enzymes which can help the body to digest the food.  If there is a lack of enzymes in the digestive system, you might have stomach aches, gas, diarrhea, and several other diseases.

Lactose intolerant people cannot produce enough enzymes

Many people are intolerant to lactose. However, this situation is the outcome when there is not a sufficient amount of lactase in the small intestine. Lactase disintegrates the sugar present in milk, which is known as lactose. Without lactase or lack of it makes lactose travel to the colon without being absorbed. However, you will find dairy products contain this lactose. In the colon, lactose meets with several bacteria causing different stomach issues, which can be very uncomfortable.

Three types of intolerance to lactose

Check out the three types of lactose intolerant:


You can have lactose intolerance from the time of birth. It is present in the gene. And there are many Asians, Africans or people from Hispanic background face this lactose intolerance. In this scenario, you will see the child face a sudden drop in lactase level. Then they can not digest dairy products with ease. It is a very common kind of lactose intolerance case.


Sometimes few injuries, illnesses, or surgeries make the small intestine producing not insufficient lactase. However, this type of intolerance could be potential symptoms of Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

Genetic disorder

Gene plays an essential role if you have this type of lactose intolerance. It could be such a situation where your body just doesn’t produce lactase. However, it is uncommon but could happen due to genes inherited from the parents. And it’s called developmental or Congenital.

People who face the issue of lactose intolerance need to clear their bowels often. They have severe bloating and gas issues after having dairy products, i.e., milk, ice cream, etc. Some people still manage it by consuming those products in smaller quantities. Many shifts to drinks and foods which are lactose-free.

Supplements of enzymes

There are several pills available that work as supplements to digestive enzymes. It also comes in liquids or powders. You can get it from pharmacies and health nutrition stores. These help to compensate for disorders that are a result of a lack of a digestive system. Your weight, age, and more determine the right amount of dose of supplement you should consume. According to FDA rules, you can not buy over-the-counter enzyme supplements just as prescribed medications. The manufacturers don’t have to guarantee that those products work.

Always consult an expert or doctor before consuming any type of supplement. There is a scope of more research to find out if those supplements are safe or not. Their efficiency is yet not doubted. Lactase supplements which you can get over the counter can be helpful as it works moderately for people with lactose intolerance.

Children below the age of 4 years should avoid enzyme supplements. Also, if you are pregnant, you should consult a doctor before consumption. However, there could be some effects on women who are breastfeeding too. They should take consultation before taking digestive enzyme supplements.

You can mostly get animal-based supplements generally. According to many researchers, there will be more bacteria and plant-based supplements available in the market in the coming time.

The current study has shown that the large intestine and associated inhabitant bacterial organisms have vital functions to determine our health condition.

What is the digestive function of the large intestine?

The large intestine is one crucial part of the digestive tract of the human body. There are several organs that begin from the mouth to the anus, which are part of this digestive structure.

The large intestine absorbs minerals, water, and whatever rest of the nutrients of the food. It converts the leftover food, which is waste, into the movement of the bowel, which is known as stool. Rectum stores this waste until you feel the release of a bowel movement. Rectum’s muscles push the waste or stool along with the anus and get out from the body.

The food goes from mouth to stomach through the esophagus. Then it proceeds to the small intestine. These organs disintegrate the food you consume and help the body absorb the nutrients from the food and produce energy. The digestion is complete mainly when this food reaches the large intestine. Another name of the large intestine is the large bowel and the colon.

Large intestine anatomy

The large intestine of a full-grown man is approximately 1.5 m in length and 6 cm in breadth. It comprises the rectum and caecumappendixcolon. The large intestine is made up of the colon caecum rectum anal canal.

The small intestine joins the large intestine along with the abdomen’s right lower part. And the large intestine’s size is around 5 feet. Here are the following segments of the large intestine:

  • Hepatic flexure
  • Descending colon
  • Cecum
  • Transverse colon
  • Rectum
  • Rectosigmoid colon
  • Ascending colon

The hollow part inside the large intestine is called the lumen. The lining of it is known as mucosa. Moreover, this consists of projections and folds which help to absorb nutrients. Muscularis propria, which is a muscle layer that supports the large intestine’s walls.

The key digestive functions of the large intestine

The key roles of the large intestine are water recuperating and electrolysis, feces formation, and non-digestible food fermentation by resident bacteria.

The ileocecal valve helps to enter digestive food from the small intestine to the large intestine.

The large intestine has mainly four vital functions. Which are:

  • Resorption: the large intestine helps to absorb water and vital minerals, namely chloride, and sodium.
  • Feces storage: the large intestine stores some indigestive food along with feces on a short-term basis.
  • Residence of bacteria: almost 500 bacterial organisms live in the large intestine. These microbes can not survive in the presence of oxygen.
  • Fermentation: intestinal fermentation lies in the number of bacteria. A large number of microbes speed up the fermentation process. Organisms decompose food materials, particularly carbohydrates. Microbes in the colon start the fermentation process, and it constantly releases the required fatty acids such as butyric, acetic, etc., for energy. During fermentation, bacteria produce some gases, namely methane and carbon dioxide hydrogen.

The important role of Gut bacteria

The inhabitant bacterial organism in the large intestine and humans have a symbiotic association. In this type of correlation, each is advantageous.

The current study has shown that gut microbes produce vitamin K, which keeps immune systems strong. Apart from that, these bacteria trigger hormonal discharge, which relates to our psychological well-being.

Additionally, scientists believe that “bacterial organ” plays a vital role in food consumption and digestion. This enteric nervous system is also called the “second brain.” It has the capacity to give direct signals to the brain, which stimulates the secretion of hormones.

Early age development

At the age of 2-3 months, Babies started to experiment with their mouths. Because of immature mussel structure, they drool. There is much controversy about the measurement of Saliva per day. Researches confirm that Saliva has great gestational property. That is why we have our mouth full of Saliva whenever we smell something delicious. In the case of Babies, generating excessive amounts of Saliva is normal, and it’s a sign of their building mechanism of the digestive system.

What is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food for babies?

  • Saliva has essential Digestive enzymes like Amylase and Lipase.
  • Saliva balanced moist level of mouth for chewing food.
  • A physicochemical component of Saliva plays a defense mechanism for unhealthy foreign compounds.
  • The lubricating nature of Saliva helps to wash away and to cleanse all the oral impurities.

Final Thoughts

We hope you now know what is the role of Saliva in the digestion of food. So, don’t consider that fluid in your mouth to be lying there without any reason! It plays a crucial role in your health and digestion!