The liver and digestion

The liver does not secrete any enzymes, but it plays an important role in digestion, and then processing food molecules that have been absorbed.

The liver produces bile.

Bile:

  • Emulsifieslipids, breaking them up physically into tiny droplets. Tiny droplets have a much larger surface area, over which lipases can work, than larger pieces, or drops of lipid.
Diagram illustrating how lipases work
  • Contains sodium hydrogencarbonate, which is an alkali. It neutralises stomach acid and produces the optimum pH for pancreatic enzymes.
  • Is produced in the liver, but stored and concentrated in the gall bladder.
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