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What Is the Role of the Liver in the Human Body?

By Franklin Jeffrey
Updated Feb 09, 2024
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The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. Although the primary function of the liver in the human body is to filter and detoxify the blood, it has other roles as well. The liver also manufactures critical hormones and proteins, produces bile for the digestive system and stores certain nutrients.

Human physiology allows potentially toxic substances to be absorbed in a variety of methods. After toxins enter the blood, it is the liver's job to remove them. It might modify the substances into a safer form or one that is more easily removed from the body. This process of changing, or metabolizing, allows the body to utilize drugs and medications, but it also places the liver at risk in the event of certain overdoses.

Albumin is a protein in blood plasma that helps regulate the amount of blood in the body. This protein is needed to carry many nutrients, such as calcium, and certain drugs, including warfarin, to their destinations. The liver in the human body is the organ responsible for producing the albumin that is needed. Agents that allow the blood to clot, the hormone that controls bone marrow platelet growth and hormones that are used to convert sugars into fats are also produced by the liver in the human body.

Among the systems of the human body, the digestive system is the one that makes the greatest demands of the liver. Bile is produced by the liver, and without it, fats could not be digested and nutrients could not be absorbed. The liver also is vital for utilizing protein and carbohydrates.

Human biology requires many types of vitamins and minerals to maintain health. Vitamin A is needed for vision and the production of skin cells, vitamin D is critical for healthy bones, and vitamin B12 is used for by the nervous system, including brain functions. Copper and iron work together to help the body produce the red blood cells that carry oxygen. The liver in the human body acts as a storehouse for copper, iron and vitamins A, D and B12.

Most humans have a varied diet that includes protein and carbohydrates. With help from the liver in the human body, food is converted to a sugar called glucose. Glucose is carried by the blood to the cells, which use it as an energy source to fuel their normal functions. Along with the muscles, the liver stores glucose for future use, releasing it as the body needs the energy.

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Discussion Comments
By LisaLou — On Jul 13, 2012

Since the liver has such a close relationship with the glucose in our body, how does this affect someone who is diabetic?

If someone is taking insulin for their diabetes does that mean they are compromising their liver function? My mom has been a diabetic for years and has to watch her glucose levels on a continual basis.

I have never given much thought to how this could also be affecting her liver. This must be one of the negative side effects the insulin has on her body. Even though it helps keep her blood sugar regulated, it is probably taxing her liver at the same time.

By sunshined — On Jul 12, 2012

I also take nutritional supplements on a daily basis, and have read it is good to even give your liver a break from these. I will take one day a week and not take any supplements at all to give my liver a break.

This is another reason why a lot of people will do a cleanse to get all of the toxins out of their body. This helps clean out your whole body and is like giving your liver a fresh start.

If someone is feeling tired and sluggish all the time, it may mean you need to think about cleansing your liver. You will be amazed at the energy you have and how much better you feel if you are able to do this every 6 months or so.

If you liver doesn't have a lot of chemicals and toxins to flush out, it will work a lot better for you and you will feel so much better too.

By John57 — On Jul 11, 2012
@bagley79 - There are some natural supplements you can take that will help strengthen and support the liver. If I have to take a round of antibiotics or some other prescription medication, I will try to concentrate on giving my liver some extra support.

The liver does a lot of its cleansing at night while we sleep, so I will take these right before I go to bed. I think this gives my liver the best chance of cleansing and renewing itself.

I also try to make sure and eat healthy foods and keep the junk food to a minimum. It is a lot easier for the liver to do its job if I give it healthy ingredients to work with.

By bagley79 — On Jul 11, 2012

I am always worried about my liver function because I have taken Tylenol for years because of daily headaches. Even though I don't take large doses at one time, I am worried about the cumulative effect this may have on my liver over time.

There are warning labels on these bottles about potential damage to your liver which always reminds me what these products may be doing to my liver.

I have read in many health magazines how important the liver is to the body, and that everything we put inside our bodies has to pass through the liver. This seems like a big job for one organ, but it also makes me realize how important it is to take care of it.

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