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What the Pancreas Does

The Pancreas – What It Does

The pancreas is a gland which forms part of the digestive system. It is a spongy, leaf-shaped organ around 15cm (six inches) long and is found behind the stomach, high at the back of the abdomen, where the ribs meet the breastbone.

The pancreas is part of the digestive system, which breaks down our food. After around two hours in the stomach, food that has been partly digested moves into the beginning of the duodenum. At this point the pancreas releases digestive juices down a tube called the pancreatic duct into the duodenum. The enzymes in these juices break down the food into tiny fragments which are absorbed into the body through the small bowel.

The pancreas also produces hormones including insulin which helps to regulate blood sugar.