Saturday, May 5, 2012
The Language of the Liver
The word liver traces its origins to a number of languages, including Old English and German. It may mean to “fatten up.” This seems particularly apt, given the rise of fatty liver disease in the United States.
The liver produces bile, which is necessary for the digestion of fats. Bile passes through a duct system that rivals the Alaskan pipeline. Most of the bile pours into the small intestine, where it breaks down fat. Some bile is stored in the gall bladder.
The immune system depends on the liver. Drugs and alcohol are metabolized by the liver. The liver is an important player in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
To “fatten up” just doesn’t do the liver justice. It seems to do a little of EVERYTHING.