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What is Chyme?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Chyme is the partially digested mass of food that is forced into the small intestine. It has a low Ph balance that is countered by the production of bile, helping to further digest food. Chyme combined with bile ultimately is secreted from the body in the form of bowel movements.

Part liquid and part mass, chyme does not resemble the actual food from which it derives. This is because the stomach has long since broken the food down into its components, like proteins and fats. These components are then made use of by the body, so essentially chyme represents the left over components of food, along with watery substances that allow the leftover material to pass from the body.

However, before the chyme is passed into the large intestine, the small intestine will actually strip it of some of its liquids and salts. It may also take minerals, and other microscopic elements to further add needed nutrients to the body.

When chyme enters the small intestine, it actually stimulates the production of bile to break down remaining food masses. Depending upon the make-up of the material, larger amounts of bile may be released into the stomach. Particularly when food is high in fat content, the chyme will not contain some of the fat ingested, which will remain in the stomach. Bile count will be higher, causing indigestion in some or acid reflux.

Those with acid reflux are encouraged to eat fewer fatty foods to reduce the acidic bile flooding the stomach and creating both reflux and stomach discomfort. Chyme that is low in nutrients poses a problem for those lacking adequate nutrition. The small intestine may come up short of needed nutrients, particularly salt, when the material is too watery.

While medical experts encourage drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, too much water can actually deprive the body of sodium, and cause moderate to severe illness. This is also the case when chyme is not appropriately broken down by the small intestine, as when someone has an intestinal flu. In these cases, it may be improperly formed and not reach the small intestine, or it may leave the small intestine too quickly, before the intestine has time to strip the material of its nutrients.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon253530 — On Mar 09, 2012

Yeah, but beside the mixture of foods, acids, what is the last thing? Is it enzymes?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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