What Are Some Facts About the Functions of the Liver?

The liver is responsible for producing bile, a substance that breaks down fats so the body can more readily digest and absorb them, explains Stanford Children’s Health. The liver also produces cholesterol and proteins that help fats travel through the body.

Another function of the liver is to remove a substance called bilirubin; if there is too much of this substance in the body, the skin and whites of the eyes develop a yellow pigmentation, notes Stanford Children’s Health. For this reason, a condition called jaundice, in which the eyes and skin appear yellow, is a common sign of liver disease, as Mayo Clinic explains.

The liver stores glucose and releases it as the body needs it, states Stanford Children’s Health. It also protects the body against harmful ammonia by converting it into urea, which the body subsequently eliminates through urination. The liver plays a role in warding off infections by filtering out bacteria in the blood and creating immune factors that protect against disease-causing agents.

The blood that filters through the liver comes from two main sources. Oxygen-rich blood enters the organ from the hepatic artery, while blood entering from the hepatic portal vein is rich in nutrients, states Stanford Children’s Health.