Liver function - Definition

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Definition


The liver is a reddish-brown glandular organ located in the abdomen, more specifically in the right hypochondrium which is found above and to the left of the belly button. This is the largest gland of the body, weighing on average 1500 grams in adults. The liver is composed of two primary lobes and divided up into different segments, or lobules. It performs a number of different functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids; breaking down and destroying toxic substances and certain medicinal products; as well as storing many substances such as iron, copper, and some of the body's glucose content. The liver also secretes bile, which drains into the digestive system. A large number of conditions can affect the liver, such as cirrhosis, often caused by alcohol poisoning, or infection, such as viral infections, or cancer.