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What is the liver? Is it a gland or an organ?

The liver is one of the vital organs of the body, responsible for hundreds of chemical actions that the body needs to survive. It is also a gland because it secretes chemicals that are used by other parts of the body. For these reasons the liver is both an organ and a gland; in fact, it is the largest internal organ in the body.

What Is the Function of the Liver in Human Body?

The liver is an essential organ that has many functions in the body, including making proteins and blood clotting factors, manufacturing triglycerides and cholesterol, glycogen synthesis, and bile production.

The liver is a large organ that sits on the right-hand side of the belly.

The liver is the body’s largest internal organ.

Many different disease processes can occur in the liver, including infections such as hepatitis, cirrhosis (scarring), cancers, and damage by medications or toxins.

Symptoms of liver disease can include:


abdominal pain and swelling,



fatigue, and

weight loss.

Alcohol can be toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic), especially in high doses, and long-term alcohol abuse is a common cause of liver disease.

The liver is involved in metabolizing many toxins, including drugs and medications, chemicals, and natural substances


Medical Author: Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPhil (OXON)

Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Medically Reviewed on 8/30/2017