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Your Pancreas: A Sunny Organ

The human pancreas is a slender, glandular organ about 6-10 inches long and it vaguely resembles corn on the cob. It lies just behind the stomach, and its round head is positioned at the junction of the duodenum (1st part of the small intestine) and the stomach. As food moves from the stomach into the duodenum, the pancreas releases enzymes to help digest the food: amylase for carbohydrates; trypsin and chymotrypsin for proteins; and lipase for fats. These digestive enzymes mix with bile to help break down your food. The job of your pancreas - producing and releasing digestive juices is called its Exocrine function.

The pancreas also has an Endocrine function; it releases hormones into the blood stream to regulate blood sugar. The main hormones it releases is insulin - needed for lowering blood sugar and glucagon, for raising blood


Studies show that the more sunlight a person receives on their skin, the lower the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. That's due to the fact that sunlight helps the body create Vitamin D. Vitamin D is created when UVB rays mix with the cholesterol on your skin. The Vitamin D is then processed by your liver into a form that causes pancreatic cells to function properly and "adapt well" to their environment thus preventing them from becoming cancerous. Studies suggest that getting direct sunlight onto the abdomen or lower back region (the general area where the pancreas is located) can further protect against developing pancreatic cancer and can improve pancrease function.

Resources:, Columbia University Department of Surgery

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