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Your Liver & Its Functions

The liver is such an important organ that we can survive only one or two days if it shuts down - if the liver fails, your body will fail, too. Fortunately, the liver can function even when up to 75% of it is diseased or removed. This is because it has the amazing ability to create new liver tissue (i.e. it can regenerate itself) from healthy liver cells that still exist.

If your body were an automobile, your liver would be considered the engine. It does hundreds of vital things to make sure everything runs smoothly:

  • Stores vitamins, sugar and iron to help give your body energy.
  • Controls the production and removal of cholesterol.
  • Clears your blood of waste products, drugs and other poisonous substances.
  • Makes clotting factors to stop excessive bleeding after cuts or injuries.
  • Produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream to combat infection.
  • Releases a substance called "bile" to help digest food and absorb important nutrients.
liver diagram

 

Page last reviewed March 2014

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