The human liver is below the diaphragm, under the ribcage and within the right upper abdomen. The gallbladder is in a small hollow on the outside of the liver.
The liver processes, stores, alters and detoxifies the nutrients, medication and toxic substances found in the blood that flows into the liver from other organ through the portal vein. These substances are then sent back into the blood or released from the body through a bowel movement. The liver helps produce proteins necessary to clot blood and also breaks down old or damaged blood cells.
The human liver plays an important role in metabolism and fat burning as well. Liver cells produce energy for the body by breaking down fats. These cells also produce bile, a liquid essential to the process of breaking down and absorbing fats. The liver regulates blood sugar levels while the body breaks down carbohydrates. If the body's blood sugar level increases, the liver removes sugar from blood. If, however, the body's blood sugar levels are too low, the liver helps to break down glycogen stored while the blood sugar levels were high and releases that sugar into the blood.
During the metabolism of proteins, the body produces a toxic substance called ammonia. Liver cells convert ammonia into urea, which the cells then release into the blood. Urea is significantly less toxic than is ammonia, and the kidneys are able to release urea from the body through the urine.