What does the liver do?

What does the liver do?

The liver is the largest organ and gland in the human body. It is part of the digestive system. It is in the upper right section of the abdomen. The liver is almost triangular in shape and consists of two lobes: a larger right lobe and a smaller left lobe.

The roles of the liver may include detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of some chemicals that help in digesting of food.

The major functions of the liver include:

  • Bile production: Bile helps the small intestine absorb fats, cholesterol and some vitamins. 
  • Supporting blood clots: Vitamin K is necessary to create coagulants that help clot the blood. 
  • Fat metabolization: Bile breaks down fats to be more easier to digest.
  • Metabolizing carbohydrates: The liver stores carbohydrates. The body can break down stored carbohydrates in the liver.
  • Vitamin and mineral storage: The liver stores vitamins known as vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12. 
  • Helps metabolize proteins: Bile helps break down proteins .
  • Filters the blood: The liver filters and removes compounds from the body, including hormones, and compounds from outside the body, including alcohol and other drugs.
  • Immunological function
  • Production of albumin: The most common protein Albumin in blood serum transports fatty acids and steroid hormones to help support the correct pressure and prevent the leaking of blood vessels.
  • Synthesis of angiotensinogen: helps in narrowing the blood vessels when alerted by production of an enzyme called renin in the kidneys.

The liver can regenerate. It may regenerate completely, as long as a minimum of 25% of the tissue remains.

Liver disease may cause signs and symptoms. If below signs and symptoms of liver disease may occur, visit the doctor for advise :

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish 
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine color
  • Pale stool color
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily


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