Function of the liver

A healthy liver performs the following functions:

  • 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.
Illustration of the digestive system

The digestive system.

Last Updated: September 9, 2008

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology

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