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What does the liver do? - Emma Bryce


21,605 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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There’s a factory inside you that weighs about 1.4 kilograms and runs for 24 hours a day. It’s your liver: the heaviest organ in your body, which simultaneously acts as a storehouse, a manufacturing hub, and a processing plant. Emma Bryce gives a crash course on the liver and how it helps keep us alive.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Your liver does a huge amount of work inside you, and yet a lot of people aren’t even that sure where it is. This source shows where it lives in the body and what its different parts are. Interested in what the inside of this organ looks like? You may want to read about lobules—the liver’s tiny processing plants. Click around and find out how the liver works. Want to see some cross-sections of liver samples? Look at some of them here and here in images taken from real tissue.

For a really good overview of the liver, you can read up about where it gets its blood from, and how it’s structured. You may also be interested in all the products it manufactures, and what all its roles are. Here’s how the liver stores and provides sugar for your body when you need it. What does the liver have to do with diabetes? (For more about diabetes, check out this TED-Ed lesson: What did dogs teach humans about diabetes?)

This source has a list of the many problems that can result when the liver isn’t able to do its job properly. You can also learn about some of the causes of liver disease, and why it’s so important to keep this internal factory running well. Now do you have a greater understanding of why should you always take care of your liver?

Now, saving the grossest—and maybe the most fascinating—part for last: what is bile, what does it taste like, and why is it green? Visit this site and learn how the liver and gall bladder work together.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Director Andrew Zimbelman
  • Producer Andrea Sertz Jew
  • Sound Designer Dave Feddock
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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