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Thursday, January 24, 2008

What does the liver do?

The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called "bile," which helps carry away waste products from the liver. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients and drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body.
The liver is the most complex and metabolically active organ in the body. It performs more than 500 vital functions. Some of the important ones are:
  1. It provides immunity against infection. Hence if the liver is damaged, infections are more likely.
  2. It is the factory for manufacturing most of the important proteins in the body, and also cholesterol and special fat forms called lipoproteins in which all body fats are carried.
  3. It clears the blood of most chemicals, drugs and alcohol.
  4. It excretes bile into the intestine. Bile is vital for digestion of fats, and also serves to throw out body wastes.
  5. It regulates clotting of blood by manufacturing vital proteins

  6. It converts and stores extra sugar (glucose) in the form of starch (glycogen) which can be used in times of starvation.

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