What are the Components of Human Stool?
Elimination of wastes is an intrinsic part of the digestive process. The health of the digestive system and overall health is indicated by a normal bowel movement. A lot of people complain about constipation which is essentially irregular bowel movement or the passage of hard stools. The mechanics of
are interesting and can help one understand how diet can play a part in normal and natural bowel movement.
In this article, we are going in to delve into the composition of human feces. It will give us an idea of how much of the food we eat is assimilated and how much of it is eliminated as wastes.
Components of Human Stool
The food we eat can be broken down into five components, namely, water, carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber. Of all of this, only fiber cannot be assimilated and is eliminated as undigested wastes. The rest are either completely or partially absorbed or assimilated in the body.
: 65-85% of stools are water. All the water drank by an individual is completely absorbed in the small and large intestine. In case of diarrhea, the water content of stools is more than 85%.
: Protein from food is digested completely in the small intestine and is converted into amino acids before being absorbed in blood.
: 95% of all fat consumed is absorbed in the small intestine. Traces of fat can definitely be found in stools. However, fats in excess of 6% in stool are abnormal. A condition where the fat content of stools is greater than 6% is known as Steatorrhea.
: Simple and complex carbohydrates would mean the sugar and starches in diet. They are completely absorbed in the small intestine and assimilated in blood as glucose, fructose or galactose. The only exception would be lactose which is fermented in the body. Undigested carbohydrates in normal stools should be below 0.5%.
: Fiber is completely indigestible and gives volume and bulk to stools. The more fiber one eats the more of undigested food wastes can be discharged from the body. Otherwise, undigested food remnants may be left behind and could cause problems. With a low fiber diet, undigested food would account for 5-7% of the total stool volume. With a high fiber diet, 10-15% of the undigested wastes could be discharged from the body.
Besides the five major components,
also contain mineral salts which are insoluble. They too cannot be digested by the body. This indigestible component of feces is known as Ash. 0.2 to 1.2% of normal stools is ash.
The stools also contain mucous shed from the inner lining of digestive tract. The mucus helps to bind together undigested food, intestinal bacteria and metabolic debris like dead cells or bile secreted by the liver etc.
It is imperative to include fiber in our diet. Because fiber helps the stools to retain water and can help eliminate more of the toxic wastes from the body.