Your amazing liver

The human liver can increase in size by half within 24 hours. The fascinating revelation is part of new research conducted by biologists the University of Geneva who looked into the role of the body’s second most complex organ. Tests in mice showed that the liver grows by half during the day before returning to its normal dimensions. The fluctuations arise between times of feeding and fasting. The mice, who feed at night and sleep during the day, had livers that were shown to expand at night before decreasing in size during the day. The liver is an amazing organ but as well as altering in size, what other remarkable things can it do?

  • The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body.
  • It is also the most complex after the brain.
  • The liver completes over 500 functions including fighting infection, managing blood sugar levels and blood clotting.
  • The vital organ can regenerate back to its original size even when 75 per cent of it is lost!
  • 10 per cent of the human body’s total amount of blood is in the liver at any one time.
  • 1.4 litres of blood is pumped out of the liver every minute.
  • Up to 700 liver transplants are carried out in the UK annually.

Liver factsFor more amazing science news, check out issue 98 of How It Works. Pick up your copy from from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!