Human Biology

Your Small Intestine Is Four Times Longer Than You Are

There's nothing small about the small intestine. This long, tubular organ is about four times as long as you are tall.

Don't Freak Out About This Gigantic Tubular Thing In Your Body

It's bizarre to think that an organ measuring four times your own height is all coiled up inside your torso, but the small intestine plays a pivotal role in the body. It's the MVP of your digestive system. (Don't tell the stomach or colon we said that.) The small intestine—also known as the small bowel—is made up of three parts, which together stretch about 22 feet (6.7 meters) long. Those three parts are the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The duodenum is what breaks down the food. Then comes the jejunum and the ileum, which absorb nutrients and send them into the bloodstream. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "contents of the small intestine start out semi-solid, and end in a liquid form after passing through the organ. Water, bile, enzymes, and mucous contribute to the change in consistency. Once the nutrients have been absorbed and the leftover-food residue liquid has passed through the small intestine, it then moves on to the large intestine, or colon."

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Why Should You Care?

News flash, you have one inside your body! As you're reading these words right now, your small intestine is hard at work doing its thing. (The fact that it's four times longer is just a great quick trivia tidbit.)

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Editor's Picks: The Best Videos About The Digestive System

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