Useful information about liver

Liver is a major digestive organ, which is located in the abdomen, below the diaphragm. Liver is the largest gland in the human body. The weight of the healthy liver of the adult person is about 1200 grams in females and about 1500 grams in males. Liver is a filter of our body which aims not to let the toxic, hazardous substances into the general circulation.

The liver is very important for the body. The liver performs over 500 different functions, and its normal activities are not reproduced artificially for a long period yet.


Hepatic functions

Liver is involved in more than 500 biochemical reactions.

Liver is a large digestive gland, which produces the bile that enters the duodenum through the excretory duct. Bile is involved in the intestinal digestion, facilitates the neutralization of the acid chyme, which comes from the stomach, splits fats and promotes their absorption, and has the excitatory effect on the colonic motility. The liver produces up to 1–1.5 liters of bile per day.

Human liver also performs the protective or barrier function. Liver serves as a filter between the digestive system and systemic circulation: harmful products of the protein metabolism, which are delivered to the liver with the blood, are neutralized in it and some hepatic cells have the phagocytic properties (able to absorb the harmful foreign particles, bacteria, dead or dying cells), which are important for the neutralization of the substances absorbed in the bowels.

Liver prevents the spread of the etiologic agents in the body, protects us from the infections and maintains the immunity.

 Main hepatic functions include:

  • Involvement in the metabolism. Hepatic cells (hepatocytes) are involved almost in all metabolic process: carbohydrate, fat, protein, water, mineral, pigment, vitamin, hormonal. The blood from the gastro-intestinal tract and spleen comes to the liver through the portal vein. Healthful substances which come through the liver are processed for better digestion, then they are replenished the liver or spread further through the hepatic veins.
  • Neutralization (detoxication) of the different foreign substances (xenobiotics), i.e. allergens, poisons and toxins, products of the drug degradation by transforming them into the harmless, less toxic or more easy excreted compounds;
  • Neutralization  and excretion of the metabolic-waste products, prevention of their abnormal accumulation;
  • Involvement in the digestive processes, including:

meeting the energy needs of the body in glucose and transformation of the different energy sources into glucose (so called gluconeogenesis); accumulation of the substances required by the body.

Liver is a real storehouse of the nutritional substances. Many vitamins, iron, glycogen (substance, which can be quickly transformed into easily ingested energy resource – glucose, when the body loses a lot of energy) are deposited in its tissue. When required, the liver supplies these substances to the other organs and cells. Moreover, liver is the most important blood reservoir. It produces and accumulates the red blood cells.

Liver also:

  • Is directly involved into metabolism of vitamins А, В, С, D, E, К, РР and folic acid;
  • Provides the synthesis of cholesterol and its esters, lipids and phospholipids, lipoproteids and regulation of lipid metabolism;

  synthesis of bile acids and bilirubin, production and secretion of bile; synthesis of hormones and enzymes which are actively involved in the body functioning;

  • Serves as depot for some blood volume, which can be released into the common blood stream in the blood loss or shock due to the constriction of the vessels, which supply the liver with blood.