• Question: what does the liver do

    Asked by 875prmb44 to Riverside Surgery, Kerry - HCA, Hampton Surgery, Tarik - Dentist, East Sussex CITS, CLICK Federation, Amelia - GP on 21 Jan 2019.
    • Photo: CLICK Federation

      CLICK Federation answered on 21 Jan 2019:

      The liver is an organ that does an awful lot of things! It mainly makes things for the body and breaks other things down.

      It screens everything that is absorbed from your gut and it filters the blood circulating in your body to metabolise and breaks down toxic substances like alcohol and medicine. All of these “detox” products that people try to sell or promote as healthy don’t actually have any evidence behind them- keeping your liver healthy is all that you need to detox your body. It does the job!

      It is a large store of sugar in the form of glycogen. This is what people try to achieve when “carb-loading” before a long distance race.

      It produces cholesterol and the “good” and “bad” cholesterol carriers that ferry cholesterol out to your body and back to the liver.

      It produces clotting factors which stop you from bleeding out if you cut yourself.

      It secretes bile which aids digestion.

      The liver is also the only organ in the body which can regenerate itself. You still need to look after it.

      There is a lot more that the liver does but I think that gives you a brief overview.

    • Photo: Kerry Haworth

      Kerry Haworth answered on 21 Jan 2019:

      Great question!

      The liver’s main function is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body.

      The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolises drugs. Whilst it does this, the liver secretes bile that is then delivered back into the digestive system to help break down food.

      The liver has a lot of functions and is a vital organ found within the human body.
      Try “YouTube” or BBC Bitesize to learn more about the liver, there is a lot of interactive learning resources to help establish a good understanding.