Hello Professor,

Can you highlight other functions of the liver?

With the liver being the bodies largest gland, weighing as much as 1.4kg(3lbs), it has a “variety of functions, but only one of them, the secretion of bile, contributes to digestion” (Saladin 2020). The liver is very important and its job is vital to your body. The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes bile which helps carry away waste products from the liver. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down, balances, and creates the nutrients and also metabolizes drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body or that are nontoxic (Johns Hopkins). The liver has 4 lobes with each lobe having an irregular opening between them, the porta hepatis, which is a point of entry for the hepatic portal vein and proper hepatic artery and a point of exit for the bile passages. The liver receives blood from two sources: about 70% from the hepatic portal vein and 30% from the hepatic arteries. The hepatic portal vein receives blood from the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and spleen, and carries it into the liver at the porta hepatis. All nutrients absorbed by the small intestine reach the liver by this route except for lipids. While there is still an abundance of other jobs that the liver does, this is just a start.


Saladin, K. S., (2020). Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. (9th Edition). McGraw-Hill Higher Education (US).

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Liver: Anatomy and Functions.,body%20or%20that%20are%20nontoxic


 In addition to its role in digestion and bile secretion, the liver has several other important functions in the body. Here are some additional functions of the liver:

  1. Detoxification: The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying harmful substances in the body, including drugs, alcohol, and metabolic waste products. It breaks down these toxins and converts them into less harmful or more easily excretable forms.
  2. Metabolism: The liver is involved in various metabolic processes. It regulates carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. It helps maintain blood glucose levels by storing excess glucose as glycogen and releasing it when needed. The liver also synthesizes and breaks down proteins and converts excess amino acids into other useful compounds.
  3. Nutrient Storage: The liver acts as a storage reservoir for several essential nutrients. It stores vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), minerals (such as iron and copper), and glycogen. These stored nutrients can be released into the bloodstream when needed by the body.
  4. Synthesis of Blood Proteins: The liver is responsible for synthesizing various proteins that are important for blood clotting (such as fibrinogen and prothrombin) and maintaining the balance of fluid in the body (such as albumin).
  5. Immune Function: The liver plays a role in the body’s immune system. It helps remove bacteria, toxins, and foreign particles from the bloodstream, preventing infections and maintaining overall immune function.
  6. Production of Bile: While bile secretion contributes to digestion, bile also plays a role in the elimination of waste products from the body, including bilirubin, cholesterol, and certain toxins.
  7. Storage of Red Blood Cells: The liver can store a small amount of red blood cells and release them into the bloodstream when needed, helping to maintain a consistent supply of healthy red blood cells.

These are just a few examples of the liver’s numerous functions in the body. It is a vital organ that performs multiple tasks necessary for overall health and well-being.

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