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  • There's a factory inside you that weighs about 1.4 kilograms

  • and runs for 24 hours a day.

  • This is your liver, the heaviest organ in your body,

  • and one of the most crucial.

  • This industrious structure simultaneously acts as a storehouse,

  • a manufacturing hub,

  • and a processing plant.

  • And each of these functions involve so many important subtasks

  • that without the liver, our bodies would simply stop working.

  • One of the liver's main functions is to filter the body's blood,

  • which it receives in regular shipments from two sources:

  • the hepatic artery delivers blood from the heart,

  • while the hepatic portal vein brings it from the intestine.

  • This double delivery fills the liver with nutrients,

  • that it then sorts, processes and stores

  • with the help of thousands of tiny internal processing plants,

  • known as lobules.

  • Both blood flows also deliver the oxygen that the liver needs to function.

  • The blood that is received from the intestine

  • contains carbohydrates, fats,

  • and vitamins and other nutrients dissolved in it

  • from the food you've consumed.

  • These must be processed in different ways.

  • In the case of carbohydrates,

  • the liver breaks them down and converts them into sugars

  • for the body to use as energy when the filtered blood is sent back out.

  • Sometimes the body has leftovers of nutrients

  • that it doesn't immediately require.

  • When that happens, the liver holds some back,

  • and stacks them in its storage facility.

  • This facility works like a pantry

  • for future cases when the body might be in need of nutrients.

  • But the blood flowing into the liver isn't always full of good things.

  • It also contains toxins and byproducts that the body can't use.

  • And the liver monitors these strictly.

  • When it spots a useless or toxic substance,

  • it either converts it into a product that can't hurt the body

  • or isolates it and whisks it away,

  • channeling it through the kidneys and intestine to be excreted.

  • Of course, we wouldn't consider the liver a factory

  • if it didn't also manufacture things.

  • This organ makes everything from various blood plasma proteins

  • that transport fatty acids and help form blood clots,

  • to the cholesterol that helps the body create hormones.

  • It also makes vitamin D and substances that help digestion.

  • But one of its most vital products is bile.

  • Like an eco-friendly treatment plant,

  • the liver uses cells called hepatocytes

  • to convert toxic waste products into this bitter greenish liquid.

  • As it's produced, bile is funneled into a small container below the liver,

  • called the gallbladder,

  • before being trickled into the intestine

  • to help break down fats, destroy microbes, and neutralize extra stomach acid.

  • Bile also helps carry other toxins and byproducts from the liver

  • out of the body.

  • So as you can see,

  • the liver is an extremely efficient industrial site,

  • performing multiple tasks that support each other.

  • But such a complex system needs to be kept running smoothly

  • by keeping it healthy

  • and not overloading it with more toxins than it can handle.

  • This is one factory we simply can't afford to shut down.

There's a factory inside you that weighs about 1.4 kilograms

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B2 TED-Ed liver intestine blood body bile

【TED-Ed】What does the liver do? - Emma Bryce

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