How are Nutrients Transported Around the Body?

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  • 0:02 Nutrients & Your Body
  • 0:47 The Digestive System
  • 1:55 The Circulatory System
  • 2:33 Nutrient Transportation
  • 3:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

There are specific steps involved in nutrient transportation to ensure that your body gets what it needs to function properly. This lesson explores how nutrients are transported throughout your body.

Nutrients and Your Body

You've heard it before, 'Eat carbohydrates for energy, and consume protein to build muscle,' but how exactly does that happen? It happens through nutrient transportation. Nutrients are important elements that allow your body to perform daily activities. The major nutrients your body needs to function day to day are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. There are many steps involved in the process of transporting nutrients around your body. These stages must occur and work correctly to ensure that you are getting all of the nourishment your body needs to work well.

The Digestive System

Before nutrients can be transported around your body, the food you eat needs to be broken down into a more transportable size. This happens in your digestive system, which includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, rectum and anus. After food is consumed, molecules in the digestive system called enzymes break down what you eat into more suitable forms, enabling your body to use food more effectively. For example, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, protein is broken down into amino acids, and lipids or fats are broken down into fatty acids.

Once your food has been broken down into movable nutrients, it moves into your small intestines, where it is absorbed across the small intestines into your blood stream by way of your circulatory system.

The Circulatory System

Transporting nutrients to the cells of your body is the job of your circulatory system. The circulatory system consists of your heart, blood and blood vessels. There are three types of blood vessels: arteries, veins and capillaries. Nutrients are transported throughout your body through your blood via capillaries, tiny blood vessels that connect arteries to veins. Nutrients, oxygen and wastes all pass in and out of your blood through the capillary walls.

Nutrient Transportation

After nutrients reach your blood, your bloodstream acts like a river and carries these essential elements to different parts of your body's cells that need them.

For instance, let's say you just had a super hard leg workout using weights, and you eat some protein after you finish. Your body will go through the digestion process, breaking down the food you ate into amino acids, and then your bloodstream will carry these nutrients to your leg muscles to help with muscle growth and repair.

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