How the Liver Works

The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. It is divided into right and left sections, called lobes. The liver is on the right side of the body, behind the lower ribs and below the lungs. It is located to the right of the stomach.

The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate, or grow back. When part of the liver is removed, the rest of the organ will grow back to its original size.

liver graphic
liver graphic
liver graphic
liver graphic

What Does the Liver Do?

The liver is a very complex organ with many functions. It is needed for good health. You cannot live without a working liver. Some of the main functions of the liver are listed in the chart below.

What the liver does and how that helps the body:

  • Helps the body digest, absorb and store food and nutrients
    The liver makes a liquid called bile. Bile helps to digest food and absorb nutrients that nourish the body, such as vitamins and minerals. The liver also stores sugar, iron and vitamins for the body to use later.
  • Filters harmful chemicals
    The liver acts as a filter for the body and cleans the blood of harmful chemicals.

  • Produces albumin
    Albumin is one type of blood protein. It helps to carry some medicines and other substances through the blood. It is needed for tissue growth and healing. When albumin levels drop, fluid may collect in the ankles, lungs or abdomen.

  • Helps with clotting
    The liver makes proteins that help the blood to clot normally. Clotting happens when blood changes from a liquid into a solid, such as when a scab forms over a cut or wound.