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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

Dawson PA. Bile secretion and the enterohepatic circulation. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 64.

Fogel EL, Sherman S. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 155.

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

Text only

 
  • 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: 6/28/2018

    Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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