Your Liver

The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. Our largest organ, it is centrally located in the abdomen.

The liver is intimately involved in almost every part of the body's processes. It has four particularly crucial functions:

1) Fuel Management. The liver is vital to the management of the three major fuels used by the body: carbohydrate, fat, and protein.

2) Nitrogen Excretion. The liver is the only organ capable of removing nitrogen from the body. Nitrogen is a basic component of proteins, the basic building blocks for most of the body's substances. As a result, the regulation, synthesis, and breakdown of protein - and thus life and health - is wholly dependent on liver function.

3) Water balance. The liver creates many of the components of blood - including those that control the distribution of water between the blood, cells, and tissues.

4) Detoxification. The body is constantly subjected to a variety of dangerous substances, both natural toxins (like alcohol, metals, and so forth) and man-made toxins (like chemicals, pollutants, and pharmaceutical agents). The liver

Two views of the human liver

has the unique ability to alter or break down these toxins, protecting the rest of the body.

Because of its central role, liver disease strikes at the very heart of the body's functions and processes, and can be life-threatening. You cannot live without a liver.

The liver is located in the central abdomen.