Liver Lesson #1: Digestion [Show Notes]

Liver Lesson #1: Digestion – Episode 12

Liver shaped like a triangle – check!

Lobule, hepatocytes, vessels – check!  Hundreds of thousands – got it! 

Lobule sketch

Hepatocytes make bile.

It’s colors green due to red blood cell waste (bilirubin).

Bile consists of water, salt, cholesterol, bilirubin.

Bile moves from hepatocytes in liver to the gallbladder.

When you eat fats, the intestines triggers the gallbladder to send bile to help digest fat.

The fats are used in the energy-making process.

Bilirubin makes bile green.  It also makes the skin yellow in jaundice.  Makes poop brown.

For babies, it’s because baby hangs on to extra red blood cells from mommy after birth, and the liver has to learn what to do with all of them after they die (RBC’s only liver 120 days!).  For adults with hepatitis, it’s because their liver is damaged and can’t work as efficiently as it used to.  If your poop is the wrong color, it can indicate there is a major liver problem.

If you are gallbladderless, there is no where for the bile to be stored.  So, it gets send to the intestines continuously.  Also, if you have a meal heavy in fats, the intestines will just dump the food it can’t process faster towards the exit.

High levels of bilirubin in infants can lead to cerebral palsy.  If the liver can’t handle all the bilirubin in a timely manner, the only other way to get it to breakdown is UV light. 

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