A Vital Organ!
The location of the liver
The liver, located behind the lower ribs on the right side of your abdomen
(see diagram), weighs about 3 pounds and is roughly the size of a football.
This vital organ performs many complex functions.
Some of these are:
* To convert food into chemicals necessary for life and growth;
* To process drugs absorbed from the digestive tract into
forms that are easier for the body to use; and to detoxify and excrete
substances that otherwise would be poisonous.
Your liver plays a key role in converting food into essential chemicals
of life. All of the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines must
pass through the liver before reaching the rest of the body. In essence, the liver can be thought of as the body's refinery.
Your liver, the largest organ in your body, plays a vital role in regulating
life processes. This complex organ performs many functions essential
to life. You simply cannot live without it.
Furthermore, your liver plays a principal role in removing from the
blood ingested and internally produced toxic substances. The liver converts
them to substances that can be easily eliminated from the body.
It also makes bile, a greenish-brown
fluid which is essential for digestion.
Bile is stored in the gallbladder which, after eating, contracts and
discharges bile into the intestine, where it aids digestion (of fat
Your liver helps you by...
• Preventing shortages in body fuel by storing certain vitamins, minerals,
• Aiding in the digestive process by producing bile;
• Controlling the production and excretion of cholesterol;
• Neutralizing and destroying poisonous substances;
• Metabolizing alcohol;
• Monitoring and maintaining the proper level of many chemicals and drugs
in the blood;
• Cleansing the blood and discharging waste products into the bile;
• Serving as the main organ of blood formation before birth;
• Helping the body resist infection by producing immune factors and by
removing bacteria from the bloodstream;
• Regenerating its own damaged tissue; and storing iron.