The liver is an accessory digestive organ that produces bile, a fluid containing cholesterol and bile acids, and an alkaline compound which helps the breakdown of fat. Bile aids in digestion via the emulsification of lipids. The gallbladder, a small pouch that sits just under the liver, stores bile produced by the liver which is afterwards moved to the small intestine to complete digestion. The liver's highly specialized tissue consisting of mostly hepatocytes regulates a wide variety of high-volume biochemical reactions, including the synthesis and breakdown of small and complex molecules, many of which are necessary for normal vital functions. Estimates regarding the organ's total number of functions vary, but textbooks generally cite it being around 500.
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