What are the functions of the liver?
More than 500 vital functions have been identified with the liver. Here’s a list of some of the more well-known functions:
- production of bile, which helps to break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
- production of certain proteins for blood plasma
- production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
- conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage - this glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy.
- regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
- processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content - the liver stores iron
- conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea - urea is one of the end products of protein metabolism that is excreted in the urine.
- clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
- regulating blood clotting
- resisting infections by producing immune factors
removing bacteria from the bloodstream
When the liver has broken down harmful substances, they are excreted into the bile or blood.
- Bile by-products enter the intestine and ultimately leave the body in the feces.
- Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys and leave the body in the form of urine.