What the Liver Does

The liver is one of the largest organs in your body. It’s like a factory.

Your stomach and intestines digest what you eat and drink, turning it all into raw materials. The raw materials then enter the liver “factory” through your bloodstream. Your liver cells break them down, purify them, make useful products, and get rid of harmful things.

The liver does many important jobs:

  • It makes vital substances such as proteins that help with blood clotting.
  • It cleanses the body of toxins like alcohol.
  • It produces bile that helps digest food.
  • The healthy liver also gathers and stores important substances for your body to use later, such as sugar and vitamins.

The liver can perform these tasks because millions of cells work as a team around the clock.

References:

The information on this page was adapted (with permission) from the references below, by the Cirrhosis Care Alberta project team (physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and patient advisors).

This information is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare team. They know your medical situation best. Always follow your healthcare team’s advice.

References: 

  1. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration 
  2. Canadian Liver Foundation
Last reviewed March 15, 2021
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