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Bile

 

Bile is a fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.

Bile helps with digestion. It breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract.

Bile contains:

  • Mostly cholesterol
  • Bile acids (also called bile salts)
  • Bilirubin (a breakdown product or red blood cells)

It also contains:

  • Water
  • Body salts (such as potassium and sodium)
  • Copper and other metals 

 

References

Fogel EL, Sherman S. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 155.

Jackson PG, Evans SRT. Biliary system. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 54.

Johnston LR. Bile secretion and gallbladder function. In: Johnston LR, ed. Gastrointestinal Physiology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2014:chap 10.

 
  • Digestive system

    Digestive system - illustration

    The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

    Digestive system

    illustration

  • Bile produced in the liver

    Bile produced in the liver - illustration

    The biliary organs and duct system that creates, transports, stores, and releases bile into the duodenum for digestion includes the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts (named the cystic, hepatic, common, and pancreatic duct).

    Bile produced in the liver

    illustration

    • Digestive system

      Digestive system - illustration

      The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

      Digestive system

      illustration

    • Bile produced in the liver

      Bile produced in the liver - illustration

      The biliary organs and duct system that creates, transports, stores, and releases bile into the duodenum for digestion includes the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts (named the cystic, hepatic, common, and pancreatic duct).

      Bile produced in the liver

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Self Care

     

    Tests for Bile

     

     

    Review Date: 8/22/2016

    Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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