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Health Library

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Function of the Liver

The digestive system (including the liver)

A healthy liver does the following:

  • It regulates the composition of blood, including the amounts of glucose (sugar), protein, and fat that enter the bloodstream.
  • It removes bilirubin and other toxins from the blood. Bilirubin is a by-product of the breakdown of red blood cells.
  • It processes most of the nutrients absorbed by the intestines during digestion and converts those nutrients into forms that can be used by the body. The liver also stores some nutrients such as vitamin A, iron, and other minerals.
  • It makes cholesterol, vitamin A, substances that help blood clot, and certain proteins.

The picture shows the organs of the digestive system, including the liver.

Current as of: February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
W. Thomas London, MD - Internal Medicine, Hepatology

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