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Discuss the adaptations of the ileum to its functions

  • It is long to provide a large surface area for digestion and absorption of food.
  • It is narrow so as to bring digested food into close contact with the walls of the ileum for easier absorption of food.
  • It is highly coiled to slow down the movement of food and thus allow more time for digestion and absorption.
  • Has numerous villi and microvilli to increase surface area for digestion and absorption of food.
  • Has thin epithelium to shorten diffusion distance for faster absorption of food.
  • Has highly vascularized villi (with a dense network of blood capillaries) to maintain a steep concentration gradient for faster diffusion of digested food
  • Presence of lacteals in the villi for absorption of fatty acids and glycerol.
  • More muscular walls to allow peristalsis;
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