The liver is situated in the abdominal cavity in upper right-hand portion, beneath the diaphragm and on top of the stomach, right kidney, and intestines. Shaped like a cone, the liver is a dark reddish-brown organ that weighs about three pounds.
The liver consists of two main lobes, both of which are made up of thousands of lobules. These lobules are connected to small ducts that connect with larger ducts to ultimately form the hepatic duct. the hepatic duct transports the bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder and duodenum.
The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and exretes a product called "bille", which helps carry away waste products from the liver. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients and drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body. More than 500 vital functions have been identified with the liver. Some of the more well-known functions include:
When the liver has broken down harmful substances, its by-products are excreted into the bile or blood. Bile by-products enter the intestine and ultimately leave the body in the feces. Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys, and leave the body in the form of urine.