What Makes the Liver So Important?
The liver is a large organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, mostly underneath the ribs. It plays a very important role in maintaining the body's overall health. Most of the blood leaving the intestines travels through the liver, where it is filtered of both toxic chemicals and bacteria. The liver uses nutrients in the blood to provide energy for the body by storing and releasing sugars. It is also the main source of proteins necessary for many bodily activities such as normal blood clotting, growth, and nutrition. In addition, the liver creates bile, a fluid that is important for digestion. It is made by liver cells called hepatocytes and is then carried in tubes (the bile ducts) directly into the intestine or to the gallbladder, where it is stored until we eat. When these tubes are blocked for some reason, the bile backs up into the bloodstream, causing a yellow tinge to the eyes, mouth, and skin, and darkening of the urine; this is called jaundice.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2013
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