Liver

Picture of the liver and its location in the body

The liver is a large organ in the right upper part of the abdomen. It performs a range of complex and important functions that affect all body systems. Some of the specific functions of the liver include:

  • Controlling the amounts of sugar (glucose), protein, and fat entering the bloodstream.
  • Removing bilirubin, ammonia, and other toxins from the blood. Bilirubin is a by-product of the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells.
  • Processing most of the nutrients absorbed by the intestines during digestion and converting 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.
  • Producing cholesterol, substances that help blood clot, bile, and certain important proteins, such as albumin.
  • Breaking down (metabolizing) many drugs.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Dennis L. Stevens, MD, PhD - Infectious Disease
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofNovember 18, 2017

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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