WebMD
Font Size
A
A
A

Liver

The liver is a large organ in the right upper part of the abdomen. It performs a range of complex and important functions that affect all body systems.

Some of the specific functions of the liver include:

  • Controlling the amounts of sugar (glucose), protein, and fat entering the bloodstream.
  • Removing bilirubin, ammonia, and other toxins from the blood. (Bilirubin is a by-product of the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells.)
  • Processing most of the nutrients absorbed by the intestines during digestion and converting those nutrients into forms that can be used by the body. The liver also stores some nutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, and other minerals.
  • Producing cholesterol, substances that help blood clot, bile, and certain important proteins, such as albumin.
  • Breaking down (metabolizing) alcohol and many drugs.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last Revised January 17, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.