Gastric glands which are found on the wall of the stomach releases digestive juices containing Hydrochloric acid.
Hydrochloric acid plays following important roles in the process of digestion
- It maintains the optimal PH for digestion of proteins. It makes a medium inside the stomach acid which is necessary for the activation of an enzyme called pepsin. It converts inactive pepsin into active pepsin. It acts on the protein present in the food.
- It denatures food protein making them more readily digestible.
- The stomach acid also signals to the pancreas to produce digestive juices and enzymes to further breakdown food.
- It helps the absorption of iron by converting ferric hydroxide of the food into ferrous form by reduction.
- Due to the highly acidic nature of HCL, the digestion of starch in the stomach is prevented.
- Hydrochloric acid also prepares the ingested food for further processing in the small intestine.
- It also kills any bacteria and parasites entering the stomach along with the food.