Pancreas and biliary system

The pancreas produces both powerful digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin. The biliary system stores and delivers bile to the duodenum. When food reaches the lower stomach and then the duodenum, signals are sent to the pancreas and gallbladder telling them to secrete its many digestive enzymes and bile. The pancreatic enzymes and other substances including bile are then transferred to the duodenum where they neutralize acid and break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins into smaller molecules (nutrients) that can be used by the body. Bile specifically is a dark green liquid produced by the liver which helps break down fats and neutralise acid in the food.  When stored in the gallbladder, bile becomes more concentrated and therefore more powerful in its ability to do its work. Disorders of these systems include:

  • Acute Pancreatitis
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
  • Gallstones
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (SOD)