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Love Your Liver

Your liver is the largest solid organ in your body. It is inside your abdomen (belly), under your ribcage. By the time you are grown, it will be about the size of a football.

The Liver Cleans Blood

The liver helps you by taking toxins (substances in the body that are like poisons) out of your blood. Sometimes your body makes toxins as part of the way it is supposed to work, like breaking down protein (a substance in foods, like meat and nuts).

The liver also cleans blood that has been enriched with vitamins and minerals during digestion. After you have eaten something, the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from the food pass from the intestine into the blood. Before going out to the rest of the body, the nutrient-rich blood makes a stop at the liver.

The liver turns the good stuff into forms that the rest of the body can use. Waste or stuff your body does not need can be carried by bile back into the intestine and out of the body when you poop. The rest of the waste that is cleaned out by the liver goes through your blood to your kidneys and out in your pee.

The Liver Makes Bile

During digestion your body takes everything your body needs from the food you eat. Fat is one of the things the body gets from food.

Bile (a digestive juice made by the liver) helps the body absorb fat into the bloodstream. You will find this thick, yellow-green substance in the gallbladder, a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen. Bile is stored in the gallbladder until the body needs to use it to digest fats.

The Liver Stores Glycogen

The liver also helps the body use carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in foods, like bread, fruit, and milk. The body breaks down most carbohydrates into a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main fuel for our cells. Glucose stored in the liver is called glycogen.

Glycogen is like your backup fuel. When your body needs a quick energy boost or when a person's blood glucose level drops, the liver breaks down glycogen and releases glucose into the bloodstream.

Other Cool Things the Liver Does

The liver helps with blood clotting, which is what helps you stop bleeding not long after you get a cut.

The liver helps make medicines work! With medicine like a pain reliever for a headache, the liver takes the active ingredient that makes the medicine work and breaks it down so your body can use it to make your headache go away.

Love Your Liver

The liver does so many things for you, so it is important to take good care of it. Living healthy is the best way to care for your liver. The liver can be damaged if a person is very overweight or drinks too much alcohol. So be active, eat right, and your liver will keep on loving you back!

For more information about how the liver works, visit

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