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Even the merest tyro in physiology is familiar with the fact that the saliva not only prepares the food so that it can be readily swallowed and acted upon by the gastric and intestinal juices, but that it contains a ferment which possesses to a high degree the ability of commencing and even carrying to completion the transformation of starch into sugar, or in other words, the preparation of carbohydrate materials so that they can be readily absorbed and appropriated to the various uses of the economy. For many years when patients came to a physician complaining of symptoms of indigestion it was the custom to administer pepsin and hydrochloric acid under the erroneous idea that it was the proteids in the food which were not properly treated by the digestive juices and that relief could be obtained by aiding the stomach in the manner indicated. Only comparatively recently has
THE VALUE OF THE SALIVA IN DIGESTING FOOD. JAMA. 1898;XXX(16):924. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02440680044004
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