Wednesday, December 21, 2016
How does the liver help with digestion?
The liver is the largest internal organ in our bodies and has many important functions.
One very important function is to help with our digestion. Image you have been assigned clean-up duty after a meal that included roast beef. You get ready to start washing and can't find the detergent soap. You try to wash the plates but the fat just keeps sticking to the plates. This is similar to what your body would resemble if the liver didn't help with digestion.
Your liver produces a green substance called bile. The bile is composed of bile salts ( acids) that cling to the fatty lipids in your intestine.
After producing the bile your liver dumps a small portion of the bile into your small intestines, but most go to an organ called your gall bladder.
Your gallbladder is a sac-like organ located underneath your liver. The gall bladder is able to store large amounts of bile by concentrating this liquid. From your gallbladder, this super concentrated bile is dumped directly into the duodenum. The duodenum is the portion of the small intestine located just beyond your stomach.
Once in the intestines the bile breaks the fat apart and makes a circle around the fat. Imagine the small circles detergent makes on water. The fat can then be absorbed by your intestine and used in the body.
The other cool part is that almost all of the bile is also recycled back to the liver.
So next time you eat that large burger and fries, take just a moment and thank your liver for helping you digest this meal.