How does the liver get nutrients to your body?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The liver-which makes protein and stores glucose, vitamin B12, and iron-helps get nutrients to your body through the processing of all foods-of carbohydrates, protein, and fat-- into glucose that can be used throughout your body.

Glucose is a fancy name for a specific and common sugar (yup, everything is turned to sugar). Iron stores in the liver are great enough for most people that iron supplements are not usually needed, except in people with iron-deficiency anemia, which is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide.

The liver also serves as the initial source of glucose when you rush the hot dog stand at half-time (even before you get there) since the sugar in your blood only provides 10 minutes of energy. It then does double-duty to break down the nitrates from that hot dog in the detox function described below.

This, by the way, is the reason why you don't burn fat immediately when you start exercising-it's because your body is using the fuel that's stored as glucose in the liver first.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.